QUEEN’S ROAD: Living as a paying guest in Bengaluru is a common option among students as well as young, single professionals. While it is a great way to live comfortably and economically, there are many challenges.
As if rocketing prices of fuel, food and transport aren’t enough, the cost of living for students and working professionals staying in paying guest accommodations in the city is set to increase.
Mohan Reddy runs three PG homes for boys and girls at Nagawara, Bellanduru and Marathhalli. He says, “We are plagued by fluctuating taxes and can’t keep tweaking rentals to match them. I may consider hiking the maintenance fee by Rs 200 or Rs 300 but the taxes make it tough for both the paying guest and landlords to stay in a financial comfort zone for long.”
Priya Dhuriya from Madhya Pradesh, works for IBM Ltd and says, “It is not just financial travails we have to face. There are prejudices against girls coming from different states. There are language issues and also money negotiation problems apart from food that is never made according to the preference of the inmates. In many PG homes, there is no backup during power failure and sometimes stale and spoiled food is served. Not to mention, security issues.”
Avni, another IBM employee, says, “In many PG accommodations, cleanliness is not maintained even though steep amounts are charged for maintenance. Food is rarely if ever of good quality. The prejudice against ‘outsiders’ becomes obvious in many ways. Some PG owners have issues with girls who work night shifts and entry is restricted after 10.30 pm. Few PG digs have security guards or CCTV cameras. Many owners promise facilities like Wi-Fi, washing machine, sweets on weekends, newspaper, TV etc but the reality often does not match all this.”
Ancilla Cardoza, from Hubli, complains, “No pest control is done in many places. Toilets are dirty, rats and cockroaches infest the premises and hygiene is often non-existent.”
Many girls also complain that when they leave an accommodation, they have a tough time getting their deposit amount back.
Girls from North-East also talk about how many times they have been turned away from PG accommodations as they are presumed to be ‘fast.’ Some landlords interfere in their personal lives as well and indulge in moral policing, sometimes involving the families of the girls.
On the surface, Bengaluru may be a city of dreams but the dreamers who come here find it hard to match the reality with the aspirational image of a progressive city that treats its working women with respect. The search for a home away from home is never easy, especially if you are a single woman.