Overwhelmed by the prospect of having a home in Bengaluru, the garden city that always fascinated me, I stepped into the deluxe gated community in Whitefield, right foot first into a sanctuary for young computer professionals. I walked towards the car park where I was to meet the flat owner Gurucharan ( name changed ) who touched base with me through email to rent out his 5-year-old flat to my recently married son Bala. I was to look for Gurucharan, who will be inside a red Honda City Sedan. There he was, true to his words. Gurucharan was tall, a tad over six feet, with heavy jowls and phulka-roti complexion. He had around him a whiff of eau de Cologne. After preliminaries, I opened my brief case to take out the papers he had asked for.
First, it was the birth certificate of Bala. He glanced at it without removing his hands on the steering wheel in 10.10 position. He nodded. Next was that of Krithika, my daughter-in-law. The educational certificates of Bala, his engineering degree from a reputed seat of learning in Coimbatore, followed by an MS from Texas were next. To prove that Krithika also had academic attainments, her degree and MBA certificates were produced. He skimped through them and grunted his approval grudgingly. Next in the line was Bala’s appointment letter from a software behemoth and his salary stub. I also showed him I-T returns in Saral form for the previous year. All to prove that though his income was not frightfully humongous like that of Google’s Sundar Pichai, it was adequate to take the monthly rent comfortably in his financial stride.
As directed by him, I had brought clinching evidence to prove the marital status of my son. I showed him the traditional pink and yellow coloured marriage invitation in bilingual format. Towards additional evidence, I showed Bala-Krithika’s marriage certificate issued by a sub-registrar and glossy prints of their wedding ceremony, especially the vital ones of tying the mangalsutra, taking seven steps around the holy fire, the reception bash in which Bala clad in a sherwani posed with Krithika.
I also assured him, If he needed further proof, I could arrange a sworn affidavit, duly notarised, from the priest who had solemnised the wedding. I was also ready to give him copies of their horoscopes, in case he thought of them. Gurucharan had insisted on such documents so his flat would not be converted into a love nest by a man and woman living together in sin without the sanctions and shackles of matrimony. Since everything seemed to be in order, I pulled out the rental agreement for inking. His pricey mobile vibrated at that very moment. He spoke briefly into it, mumbling a lot of servile hanji, hanji. With a poker face, he said we should drop the matter, as his mother-in-law had just then promised the flat to someone else. Gurucharan drove away without even murmuring sorry.
As I was fuming with rage, there was a tap on my shoulder. Sauve Raju, the rental agent, said apologetically that Gurucharan was always erratic but do not worry, he had another brand new flat fresh from Gruhapravesam ceremony belonging to one Hegde.
Hegde, who lived in London, wanted someone to take care of his flat. He scoffed at the usual 10-month advance and reduced it to a mere two, with a rental hike of 5 per cent every two years. The rent he indicated for his new flat was a few hundreds less than Gurucharan’s old one. No, he didn’t need supporting papers. The agreement can be signed later. My jaw dropped . Hegde added he had a soft corner for humorous writers. His favourite was PG Wodehouse. And his wife’s was Richard Armour. I hugged him unabashedly. “If a window is shut rudely, one need not lose heart. God will open a door before long!” Raju said, smiling broadly. I hugged him next.