Here’s what happens when you are saddled with someone who takes advantage of your non-confrontational nature...
You may share a great bond with your roomie and may even share things with her/him but there are certain habits of your roomie that you can’t and won’t tolerate, how much ever close you may be. But if you are like me who does not like to confront people and stays away from arguments, it would lead to some complications. While pursuing my Masters’ Degree in Kolkata, I was renting out an apartment with one of my school friends. Things became really tough for me because my roommate Shaheen had a boyfriend. No, her having a boyfriend was not a problem for me; his spending days and nights at our apartment was. I used to wonder if he really worked at an IT firm or was unemployed because he almost spent three to four days ‘lying around’ in our flat. Worse, he was never courteous enough to do the dishes or offer to clean the house.
The guy, who was a few years older than us, was extremely nosy and ill-mannered. He didn’t know that he shouldn’t come out of the bathroom in a towel or shouldn’t eat the cookies and pastries that I had picked up from a famous pastry shop and kept safely to savour at night. There were times when Shaheen’s Presidency College timing would differ with my Calcutta University timings and I had to return to the flat to find this person lying on the sofa or sleeping on my bed. I wasn’t a male-hater but the feeling of putting up with a guy who I wasn’t really fond of made me so uncomfortable that I chose to wander at the New Market on sunny afternoons instead of going back to see this couch potato eating up my food or using my bed!
Our apartment had only one bedroom and you can guess who occupied it. I spent nights sleeping on the couch. I often felt like asking this bloke to share the rent and pay for the grocery, but couldn’t do that. So I paid the price of not just parting with my comfort but also privacy and I still curse myself for that.
Because of his presence in our room, we had become a subject of gossip among the neighbours, and had also got a few warnings from the landlord who didn’t appreciate girls bringing boys to flats and vice versa. Morality you know!
Things came to a head when one afternoon I returned home early because I was extremely unwell. Knowing that Shaheen would be home, I thought I would manage even if the boyfriend is around. I was surprised to find the door locked. As luck would have it, I was not carrying the flat keys with me that day. I kept calling Shaheen but couldn’t get through to her. My health was bad. I had started puking and suffering from intense stomach pain. So I sat in the corridor waiting for her to call or return. After almost two hours, the boyfriend showed up. The thought that he had no right to lock my apartment and go while I was suffering, gave me the courage to snatch the keys from his hand and sternly ask him to leave. I wish I had done that earlier.
I also made up my mind to confront Shaheen and tell her that I didn’t want to share the apartment with her anymore if this unwanted guest was going to be around. But when I opened the door, I found all her belongings missing. I was alarmed. Was there some burglary in the house or this lover boy had stolen her things, I wondered. Finally when I could connect with her late in the evening, she told me that she had moved into another apartment with her boyfriend and he had actually come there to give me the keys. She said she was sad with the way I behaved with him and also revealed that she had been wanting to move out since long as her ‘privacy’ was being ‘encroached upon by me’. I didn’t know whether to be angry or happy. Anyway, good riddance, at last, I said to myself!