I’d like to welcome you to a plush, modern, upmarket residential society (Essel Towers, owned by Subhash Chandra – ZEE Group) located bang on MG Road, Gurgaon and flanked by malls, flyovers and metro stations on all sides. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, wait till you get inside.
This isn’t just a story of a struggle of a few people (few here is more than 100 though), it’s a story of regret. Around this time last year, there was a viral post on how a guy from one such allegedly reputed societies was forced by the guards to send his female friend out of the rented house, for which he was paying with his hard-earned money. It’s a story of regret because we didn’t take a collective stand then and now, the vicious tentacled monster of moral policing is looming over us. Silence today might not have immediate repercussions, but you would only be left with a feeling of regret as I and many of my friends are feeling now.
It was a Thursday and a female friend had come over for dinner. Just as we entered our house, there was a knock on the door and I saw two guards standing. I asked them if there was a problem, and they told me that I’ll have to immediately ask my friend to leave. I tried to enquire further and they told me about a new rule formed only a day before that stated no guests from the opposite sex would be allowed in any bachelor occupied houses irrespective of gender. We tried reasoning with them, but it fell on deaf ears. After a point, the guards started threatening us with the police.
One could only imagine the humiliation my friend and I faced that day. Next day, my friend wanted to invite two married couples for lunch. We thought it best to take permission to avoid creating a scene. Once again we were disrespected and told off by the authorities concerned. Another friend’s sister had an interview and she came for a day, but due to this diktat, he had to arrange for her to stay in a hotel despite him paying a premium rent to live in this prison.
These are just accounts of people I know personally. Others have faced even harsher situations and just because the people in question are tenants, they are being treated as second class citizens by the dictatorial Residential Welfare Association (RWA).
Just to be clear, social media isn’t the first avenue we have tried to get justice through. Like reasonable people, we went and spoke with the committee, telling them how this is causing trouble and is unfair because this was never a part of the deal before. The responses would, to say the very least, make your blood boil. “You are tenants, we don’t care about what you think”, “we can’t throw you out, hence the rule”, “get married and live respectfully” etc etc.
Now, mind you these responses were given to a group comprising young women by a bunch of power-drunk old men, yet again telling how a marriage certificate is their only character certificate.
Now, we’re stuck and have nowhere to look for justice. We’re desperately trying to bring people’s attention to this and so far have been lucky in a way that a few journalists have taken cognisance of this issue of absolute infringement on our privacy and moral policing. As a fellow citizen, I just want all of you to please share the word, help us out in any way possible because this harassment is taking a toll on everybody.
The guard yesterday told me that even if your parents are here, you’ll have to show “valid” documents to let them enter. Just imagine the lawlessness of the place!
Again, this is a cry for help. We need all your guidance, support, advice and strength to take this down and I hope you will be on our side.