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Living alone? Here's what you must know
October 25, 2005
For all of you courageous folk who have ventured out of home, be it for studies or work, we brought you the Top survival mantras for living alone.
Paying the bills, fending for yourself, being lonely -- these are part and parcel of life away from home.
We now feature your stories about living alone -- your raves, your rants, your advice...
Finally, I have an outlet where I can talk about living alone!
Late nights, wild parties, having friends over, girlfriends, etc -- all these made me happy two years ago when I started living on my own. But as Time continued to tick, I began to realise it was not so easy after all. Sure, you have the freedom to do what you want and can boast of a 'devil-may-care attitude' but, dude, it sadly doesn't work that way.
Here are some golden rules for living alone:
i. Get a bai (maid) in place who will do all the washing and cleaning for you. Make sure she is reliable so that, even if your schedule takes you to office early in the morning, she can come in during the day and clean up for you.
ii. Friends who have girlfriends will suddenly become very friendly. Beware! This is the most dangerous species you will meet while living alone. Know your limits and say 'NO' to any friend wants to bring his girlfriend over when you are not at home.
iii. Now, here's what is most essential: Money. You need loads of it. And trust me guys when I say this -- always save for the rainy day. Make your monthly budgets and religiously stick to them.
iv. Pay all your dues on time. My cable guy cuts the cable connection if I am two to three days overdue. Fix up a common day when you are home and pay all of them.
Yes, living alone does get a bit lonely at times so make sure you have a music system or a television in place (my PS2 is my prime source of entertainment).
Last but not the least, living alone will make you independent, financially, mentally and in every other way you can think of. There are some things you learn only when you live alone.
Go ahead, be independent, have a ball.
-- Himanshu Narvekar, 23, business development executive for an international BPO, Mumbai
I live in Dubai and it's been exactly three weeks since I got here. For someone who has lived in at home in Mumbai for 28 years, this has been tough, raised to the power of N!
Some givens like morning tea, anytime tea, all-time snacks, dustless floors, curtained rooms, clean ironed clothes have all turned into TASKS, tough ones at that. Then, of course, there is the echo syndrome -- your flat echoes because there's nothing in it! But this sounds sweet at times because -- the cockroaches apart -- it can get terribly lonely.
Since you're still hanging onto old threads and reporting to anxious girlfriends/ parents back home, money flies thick and fast -- calling cards become FMCGs (fast moving consumer goods)!
If you thought that was bad, finding a place to live can be hellish. After seeing dark rooms that are called studio apartments in the classifieds, I was lucky to land a decent one-bedroom place -- but not every one is!
The biggest transition for a Mumbai-ite is the absolute lack of public transport. Call it a tin of sardines or a fish market, the good old BEST buses were a given. Dubai gives you Toyota Camrys as cabs, which obviously cost a bomb in rupee terms and, in true Indian ishtyle, you never stop converting.
-- Ajith Nair, 28, market researcher, Dubai
I live alone in Singapore and work with Standard Chartered Bank.
When I first got here, I did not know anyone. I used to gym, swim, jog, watch movies, read, write and cook alone.
I was lonely and decided to get online where I met two more Gujaratis like me who lived here. I also registered with a couple of dating sites.
I made friends and started partying over the weekends.
Determination, self-motivation, calmness, a passion to learn are necessary when you travel abroad alone for work or study.
-- Himanshu, 24, software engineer, Singapore
I have lived in London for three years but I still miss my home.
Before I came here to study, I had never lived out of home. Moving to a foreign land is very different from moving within your own country, as things are so different outside. Here, I have to deal with a foreign culture as well as the law (which we hardly follow in India).
Here, everything is black or white. If you rent a place and miss paying the rent on time, you are out on the streets. I would advise people living alone to be friends with their house mates; do, however, speak up for yourself.
Also remember, the person you had a big fight yesterday could be your roommate today, so never let a relationship sour.
-- Aanal Thakker, 24, accounts assistant, London
Living alone can be pretty tough at times, especially if you have left your parents and friends back home.
I still remember the day I first landed in Pune after I got a job at Kasarwadi. For two days I could not find a proper place to stay so I lived in a lodge near Pune. Later, when my money ran out, I had to look for something cheap. A friend (who had earlier rejected my plea to rent one of his vacant houses) helped me get accommodation where you are charged for the cot you use.
It cost me just Rs 350 a month. My roommates were from different places and professions, including mechanics, hotel waiters, room boys, accountants and salesmen. We did have one thing in common -- at the end of the month, none of us had money and would survive on cream rolls, buns and tea.
Hunger was new to me. I lost weight and the strain of staying away from my parents showed, but I took up the challenge. After staying there for a year, three of my friends and I saved enough money to shift into a decent flat and eat home cooked meals at a nearby mess. Today, we are doing well.
Those days of loneliness and trauma taught me what life really means, and how we should respect what we have. If I had not got this exposure, I would have not known many things. Life has so much in store for you, and so much to teach us so that we become more capable.
-- Jayan M, Pune
Do you currently live alone?
Was is tough locating a house? How do you manage money every month? Are the neighbours nosy?
What advice do you have for those who are planning to live on their own?
The trials, the tribulations, the bouquets and the brickbats, we want to hear it all. Don't forget to mention your name, age and what you do for a living.