D (the ex-husband) and I had been married for just over a quarter. As with all newlyweds, privacy was highly desirable and in our case, something we didn’t have. We lived in a house with aging parents and only one western toilet, which was unfortunately attached to our bedroom.
We lay in our bed one Saturday, discussing in hushed tones what we could do about our situation. It was the middle of the night, so it was eerily silent; we could hear nothing except for the sound of the crickets, the wind whistling in through a partly open window, and my mother-in-law’s incessant snoring.
Let’s do it. Let’s work in a different city, away from home.
What? What about your parents?
What about them?
In less than two months, D and I were excitedly packing our bags and moving to Hyderabad. Our friend AP lived there, and he said we could live with him in his one bedroom house for a while until we found a bigger place; we took him up on that offer.
The house was tinier than I had imagined. There was a (really) small hall with a few chairs and a rickety table, a bedroom with a small bed and a gigantic TV and barely any space between them, a bathroom with a blue plastic tank that would overflow precisely at 7:40 am and at 7:40 pm, and no kitchen. There was a makeshift shed in the balcony, where AP kept a single burner stove. The only utensils we found were two mugs, two plates, six spoons, and a pan. Well, that was enough to make Maggi and chai, which we thought was enough to sustain us until we found a place of our own.
We were wrong. It took us less than a week to hop across the road to eat at Ohri’s Banjara Road, a fast food restaurant that Hyderbadis would be intimately familiar with. It stayed open till about 2:30 am, and we would often go there for midnight snacks. Soon, it became our second home and a black hole into which our (D’s and mine; we felt obliged to pay for AP because we lived with him) salaries would magically disappear each month.
Anyway. AP, D, and I were inseparable for the whole month that we lived in that house. Some people thought we were a bunch of dysfunctional, codependent adults, which I vehemently disagreed with. AP was an only child, and had been away from family most of his adult life. He became really (really) close to D – in fact, he once went so far as to say that D was the brother he never had. D didn’t mind the bro love either.
There was one tiny problem, though. D and I were not really spending any time alone, and we often had to lie to AP about working late so we could go on dinner dates. But soon enough, we started missing the sex and decided we would move out. Besides, I wanted to grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set up a house from scratch; do exactly what I wanted to with the colors – a luxury living with a mom-in-law didn’t allow me.
But we put off discussing this with AP for a while because we thought he would be touchy about us moving out. But one evening, after we had found the perfect little apartment close to office, we were forced to bring it up, and we did it over dinner at Ohri’s.
D looked like he was about to rip off a band aid when he said: Bhai, there’s this apartment in Mehdipatnam… it’s reasonable and we kinda like the setup.
Mehdipatnam? That would mean a shorter commute, right?
Yes, I chipped in, sighing with relief. It’s perfect – one BHK, rooms with colorful walls, huge terrace, and lovely french windows. Well, actually they’re really big windows, but not actually French! By this time I was really excited and rambling.
AP looked up instantly and said: What? 1BHK? We need at least two bedrooms yaar. Don’t you guys need any privacy or what?
I wanted to kill myself.