We asked readers to share their stories about living with roommates. Here Sumit Gupta* relates how his roommate took advantage of thier friendship.
Though many may have pleasant memories of living with roommates, my experience of sharing my home with a roomie has left me with a very bitter aftertaste.
I was working in the "Silicon Valley of India" -- Bangalore -- at the time and would frequent a nearby mess for my dinner almost everyday. It was a place I felt comfortable, and I was one of the regulars.
Karnik*, another regular, and I got acquainted and we began to chat while enjoying our meals. Then one day he comes to me and tells me that he is looking for a job elsewhere. The place where he was living at time belonged to his employer and so he'd have to move.
Having met him almost daily at the mess, and having developed quite a close friendship, I generously offered to share my apartment with him without any rent or advance.
Things were moving along smoothly, until one day my bank called up to inform me of my recent purchases and the expenses I had incurred on my credit cards -- cards that I had never used.
That's when the light slowly began to dawn on me. I used to keep my credit cards safely in a bag on a rack in my house. Karnik had not only discovered the bag, but used the cards to rack up expenses worth lakhs of rupees -- without me having the slightest clue.
Sure, it was stupid on my part to keep cards (along with the pin numbers) at an unsecure location and all together like that, but then that is where trust comes, doesn't it? Yes, I could have put the cards in a safer place, but for a person who had recently got the cards and had never used them, I wasn't aware of the dangers.
Finding out about the theft was just the beginning. Paying off the bills was a much bigger and more scary proposition, with the bank constantly inquiring about repayment.
I confronted Karnik about the issue, and he denied everything. It was only when the police gave him the third degree that he finally came clean.
The issue continues to remain unresolved, and I've had to shell out large amounts just to get my name cleared.
It was a high price to pay for trying to reach out to someone in their time of need. The experience has made me extremely wary of sharing accomodations with anyone, and for those of you thinking of getting a roommate just make sure your valuables are safely hidden away.
* Name changed to protect identity.
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