Life is a challenge for a single woman in Delhi. Demonetisation brought added misery, with an uncompromising landlord insisting on cash payment for rent.
For a single woman to live in a city like Delhi is not an easy task. People are amazed when I say; I have been staying alone for more than a decade now. They wonder what it takes to live such a life. Honestly, it excites me, thrills me and surprises me.
But it scares me too.
Not only on streets but when all alone in my flat. I look at the walls around and explain to myself that despite all the challenges encountered each day, I am able to have a peaceful place for myself. The peace didn’t last for long, thanks to demonetisation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made everyone helpless across the country on November 8. I felt its impact on December 11 after I got delayed by five days in paying the rent in cash for that month.
I have been living in a one-bedroom flat in Vasundhara Enclave for almost two years. My landlady every month takes Rs 16,000 as rent in cash. Giving money was never the issue before demonetisation.
We all are witness to the troubles faced in our daily lives after the official declaration by Modi that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 are no longer legal. I too stood in ATM queues to get some cash to meet daily expenses. But this time to withdraw almost Rs 20,000, I had to stand in those extremely long queues that we are now see outside banks.
Luck wasn’t on my side. Before my turn could come, cash in the bank was over. I gave a cheque to my friend because taking another half day from office was not possible. It took my friend almost a week to get the cheque encashed. Meanwhile, my landlady kept on nagging me every day for money. I told them the entire situation and assured to give them money at the earliest.
On the fifth of every month I pay my rent. This time in December I was delayed by five days. It became unbearable for her. On December 11, my landlady rang me up and started the conversation on a rude tone. I kept my patience, for I knew I am late in paying money. I kept on reiterating the truth but she burst out in anger. It finally came down to “sab koi to manage kar rahe hain, tum kyun nahi kar pa rahi ho (Everyone is managing then why aren’t you able to?)"
In my defence, all I could say that I have no intention to keep the money. But all hell broke. Her pitch soared. “You are having cheque, give it to me right now,” she kept on saying. My eyes welled up with tears. I was clueless what to say next. I too had to raise my pitch and told her that I have no hidden purpose behind not giving money.
She gave the phone to her husband and kept on shouting. As tears flowed down my cheeks, I said to him, “I pay for the place you have given me to stay. I am not somebody whom you will treat with so much disgust.” That evening I somehow managed to get cash and told them I feel that I am not required any more. Their reply was very simple. “Yes”.
In last 10 years I have stayed in different parts of Delhi – Mayur Vihar Extension in east Delhi and Hudson Line in north Delhi as well as Noida. I left places under different circumstances but a fight with the landlords because of rent was never the case. I still remember how my landlords blessed me for my future each time.
This time it was different. I take it as a learning experience where I have taken one step ahead in knowing about human behaviour. I don’t know whether our prime minister will be able to bring back normalcy to the economy in 50 days, but I do have to search for another flat in next 20 days.