We all have this aspiration to go out into the world, settle in a foreign land, stand on our own two feet and become independent individuals. If you’ve never thought about it, well, you should for once. Because, if not by your own choice then probably your headstrong boss’s orders would surely make you move your butt to another city. At least once in your lifetime you’d have to get out of your comfort zone and the spoon-fed pampered environment of your family. It’s surely worth it as it teaches you many life lessons like responsibility, individuality and independence to name a few. But to put it straight, the initial days can be nothing less than a nightmare.
With this thought in mind, and thanks to the experiences of her sister, Shruti Barot talks about life in a PG accommodation in the ever glowing city of Mumbai.
Let’s start from the beginning. The first night! The first week! The first month! This phase can be no less than hell. However detached, self made and strong you think you are, this is the time when reality hits you. And trust me, the impact is hard! I’m not trying to scare you, although I get the creeps as I write this, but it’s better to be aware that be sorry later. Be ready for sleepless nights and be prepared to adjust. Adjustment comes in all hues, most of the time, big and difficult. Simple things like having no TV, to things like not knowing what kind of a person you share your bed with; adjustment is a 24*7 activity. If you focus on being positive and seeing the ‘light’ (which may seem dim) at the end of the tunnel; this phase will soon pass. Slowly, things do change for the better.
Making friends comes easy for some people and it’s the opposite for the others. However, you must keep this in mind: nobody is your friend. This holds true especially with the sweet talkers. Their caring ways and sweet tone may all be just put on, whereas their underlying intention is (no rocket science), the moolah. Stay high on alert and don’t act like you’re at a sleepover. It’ll take you a few days to spot the genuine ones from those in the apartment, but life will be amazing once you have that one person you bond well with. Later, all that you can do is, pray that that person never leaves, since at times people in a PG accommodation actually come and go in the blink of an eye.
Thankfully, Mumbai is a very fast and engaging city. You have a lot of options in order to compensate for the poor stay. Shopping, tourist spots and the friends you make in your college or workplace will keep you happy and breathing. Joining a club or a class of your choice also helps you ‘detox’.
How weird does it sound thinking about the quantity of food in your plate, back at home? Have you ever questioned its quality or safety? These are a few things that are a part and parcel of your stay. Once you shell out from your own pocket for the meals of the day, both the quantity and quality will start being a concern. Also, when I said safety, I actually meant safety from being stolen, wiped out, or eaten in this case. Yes, there are many cases where the milk you buy for yourself is used without your knowledge, (leave alone permission!) and for this my friend, being blunt and straight forward about setting boundaries is the only way out!
Hygiene and bathroom issues are a common phenomenon. Don’t be alarmed to find undergarments simply thrown on beds as if they’re on display. You cannot expect others to keep their areas clean just because you’re a stickler for cleanliness. ‘Just go with it’ is the mantra. And when it comes to the bathroom, oh boy, you just have to find your way out of the “mess”.
Insects, mosquitoes and pets (in some cases) are what come free with your stay. They’re like those unwanted freebies you get. Mosquito repellents and insect sprays will surely be your weapons of choice.
Living in a PG can be no less than a ‘Bigg Boss house’ experience. The more the number of people you share the apartment with, the more types of ‘characters’ you’ll have to deal with. The constant cribber, the egoistic one, the loud personality, the fighter; you’ll find people of all shades.
One piece of advice, and trust me this is the most essential aspect. They’ll all talk about safety and security of your “valuables”. At first, you too will be concerned about your laptop, tablet and buy expensive lock systems. But, my friend, it is also the “invaluable” items that you’ve to be equally concerned about. People have a tendency to use such things without permission. They feel no shame in using your towel or your deodorant!
To survive in such conditions in a city like Mumbai, there’s only one way out, and that is: “Ignorance is bliss”. Let go of the nitty-gritty issues and make the most of your stay. If the PG is irritating, make new friends outside and hang out with them. Eventually you’ll get accustomed to this lifestyle.
There’s a lot to do in Mumbai, use your free time to go sightseeing or shopping with a colleague. Try out some famous restaurants and check out the party destinations in this city.