Over the ages, if you mull through the annuls of human history; human civilisation has enforced some rights of iniitiation for a boy\ girl entering adulthood. The prehistoric ages had the sons being instructed by ‘Gurus’ in the deepest forests before they returned to a life of luxury in the cities. The Medieval ages had the young men shedding blood in the battle fields of conquests and crusades. Now, they hunt for a house.
A man is not a man enough till he masters the skills needed for an elaborate, long drawn out and eventually fruitful house hunt. It needs the patience of a seaman and the guile of a raconteur.
I, being a veteran of several such expeditions, can well provide a list of my own Do’s and Don’ts when you want a house on rent:
1) Have a bath, shave and put on your most modest and decent attire. No one wants a flashy, illkempt, bade baap ka bigda beta as a tenant… more so if the land lord has some girls around the house.
2) Be civil, polite and learn how to smile while the potential house owner launches off on a never ending tirade against the last occupant of the house who never paid the rent on time. In fact, if you are a group of guys planning to stay togther, let the most seedha saadha amongst you do the talking.
3) Be ready for the most unexpected and personal of questions… “Are you a vegetarian?”, “Why do you want to stay alone?”, “What is your salary?”, “What is your caste?”, “Are you a devout Hindu?”, “Do you drink?”, “When will you get married?”, “How many guests do you expect for a visit?”,”Do you think Netaji died in that plane crash in Japan?”…… phew !!
4) Carry identification of some sort… cards , licenses whatever.
5) Appear to be a family sort of a man… it really really helps. Drop glowing references to your parents and your concern for them whenever and wherever you can…”I hope you have a backup generator for the elevator… My father is an arthritic you see……..” “Is there and satsang society in this building? My mother is a very devout person”…
6) Wear confortable shoes… you will need to do a lot of walking.
7) Things to watch out for: leaky bathrooms, telltale marks on the door left after the last time a desperate tenant clung to the door before being hauled out of the house… and the like.
Anyway, the kind of house you get depends a lot on your luck. All the above becomes null and void the moment you land a decent place. Pay your deposit and be happy. But remember, that luck always favors the brave….