You have lived most of your adult life for this day. The day you rent your own place in a city and start living alone. No parents around to keep a track of when you get back home or if you are living on Maggi and potato chips. You can actually leave a half drunk bottle of beer in the kitchen and doze off without having to worry about complaining elders. Friends can come over and stay as long as you want them to. So can dates.
But hey, are you a woman? Wait, hold on, and erm, can we start with the bother that's being one when you are living alone? Neighbours, brokers, domestic helps, society guards... your adversaries are many. Here's a list of things that will resonate with you if you are a single woman living alone in an Indian city.
1. First of all, congratulations, you have topped the list of things the neighbours are curious about! You play 'interview, interview' ever single day. 'Why are you always back so late?', 'Are you unmarried?', 'Is the boy who came over last night your cousin?', 'Is he not? OMG, are you pregnant now?' Okay, I made up the last one, but come to think of it, it's not entirely impossible that one of your nosy neighbours are 'concerned' about something like this.
2. If a male friend is visiting then it gives 'rolling one's eyes' a whole new level of intensity. Nosy neighbours will stop mid-conversation to stare, because at that moment judging you is their birthright.
3. Every single domestic help is vying for a job at your place. They know you on a first-name basis and they are always enquiring about vacancies at your place. The spic-and-span house and its instant noodle eating occupant has kind of become a legend by now.
4. It is the rule of the world that the doorbell always has to ring when you have just stepped out of the shower so you have to scurry all over the house, trying to put on some clothes. And quite miraculously everything seems to have disappeared or tend to get twisted into knots when you're trying to put them on.
5. Your kitchen has more 'chakna' than real food. In fact, every thing in your fridge is good to be consumed alongside alcohol. For regular dinners, lunches? Sure, just thrown in some booze!
6. After you call it a day and slip into your most comfortable clothes, which also happens to make you look like a vagrant, the couple-next-door, or the guard, or the building secretary have to inform you something that just can't wait for the next day.
7. Since one lives alone, and is a woman, she is also the most easily approachable. "Which one is flat no. X?" "Do you know whose car is parked at my spot?" "Can you please keep the package that will get delivered today?' "Can you please keep my house keys, X will pick it from you?". You are the flat guide-courier receiver-parking space attendant rolled into one.
8. Your jaws begin to pain from all the customary and polite smiling that you have to do. Irrespective of if you think kids are tiny miscreants, you'll have to smile and pat them in the presence of their mothers. Because, that is what women do, duh.