Housing (The Outsiders Guide to Dillistan)

Dillistan is a big, sprawling mess of a place.  It has forests (notice the plural) sprouting up (notice the pun) at various points within its perimeter.  It has avenues and boulevards, and whole gardens that mark a single tomb.  In short, it has space to spare.

You wouldn’t know this if you were hunting for a decent place to stay.

New settlers to Dillistan, beware!  … well, if you’re not aware by now, you’re quite screwed.  I mean, you’re in Dillistan.  Seriously, wake up.  … But those hunting for housing, beware!

  • Don’t select a house after viewing it in summer. It may seem lovely and cool despite the 45C sunlight outside, but it only means that you’ll be burning your chairs to stay warm in winter.
  • Don’t select a house after viewing it in winter.  It may seem warm and cosy then, but it only means that you’ll be encouraging your neighbours to turn into amateur voyeur-porn filmmakers in the summer, what with you lying naked on the floor in a puddle of water.  (Oh you could get an A/C, but even if the electricity bills don’t bankrupt you, the constant electricity cuts will drive you crazy.)
  • That broker-posted ad on the online portal for the house that so perfectly fits all your requirements? Fake.  The amazingly low prices for houses listed in the area you want? Also fake.  This is their way of identifying non-Dillistanis, who will eagerly call them up, believe them when told that that particular house was just snapped up, but there are many others, many many others, so if you would just give us your name, and your job details, and tell us your requirements, and oh jee let me just send Bansilal over and he will show beshht houses.
  • If you do succumb and call a broker (or four), take a month-long holiday.  Because they will insist on showing you all kinds of houses at all the budgets in all the areas that you do not want.  They will, of course, have not checked out the properties beforehand.  Sometimes, they will even take you to houses that do not exist any more.  And they will smile more with each mistake they make.  You may think of ignoring their calls after a while, but alternate phone numbers and extra help are easy to find, and somehow they will wangle their way into your schedule again.
  • You might find a landlord who will have the house cleaned and tidied after the last tenants move out.  You might find a landlord who will agree to fix the shower that has been so proudly – and uselessly – installed.  You might find a landlord who will not connect his house line to your electricity meter.  You might find a landlord who will not refuse to fill up the water-storage tanks* because you have too many guests visiting who are using too too much all time long.  You might.  You’d have to be hallucinating though.
  • Don’t expect that just because Dillistani landlords have had the luxury and leisure of expanding their houses over so many decades, that the places will be good.  No, Dillistanis have been using all that time to compete with each other in designing the most inconvenient, ugly, and inhumane living space.
  • If you want to preserve your aesthetic sense, bring your own lampshades.  Dillistani landlords have a secret competition in which they attempt to find the most hideous lightshades possible.
  • Also, learn some woodcraft.  Dillistani landlords have an aversion to cutlery drawers in their kitchens.
  • Watch out for the stray cats.  They’re mean enough that the dogs don’t chase them, and they’ll take naps in your herb planter pots. They scratch.
  • Watch out for the monkeys.  They like fridges.  They bite.
  • Watch out for the neighbours.  They like to slowly gnaw on your sanity.

 

* Indian cities do not have 24×7 water supply.  The water is supplied by the council for a few hours each day, and is therefore stored in underground or terrace tanks.

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