Date: June 1, 2010
Time: Late evening
Me: Hi, how are you?
Friend: Hi, I'm good. How have you been?
Me: The same old dull routine. You tell me how are things at your end?
Friend: Nothing new
Friend: Hey, listen, I am looking for a job. Can you help?
Me: Sure, I can try. Which field are you looking into?
Friend: Well, right now, anything would do. You suggest.
Me: Well, you have done something in finance, right?
Friend: Yes, Been into bank auditing, but my work exp. is all out of India.
Me: Doesn't matter. Send your CV. My cousin works with ICICI. I'll ask him if he can help.
Friend: Great, thanks. I'll send you my CV soon.
Me: BTW, what is your salary expectation?
Friend: Well, you tell me. How much does one need to survive in Delhi?
Me: Now, that's a question!
Date: June 2, 2010
Time: 9.30 am
Venue: Outside the building where I stay
Landlord (Head sticking out of his door): Neha!!!
Me (looking back wearily): Yes, Uncle!
Landlord: I had asked you to come speak to me yesterday.
Me: Yes, Uncle. But I got back really late from office last night so couldn't come.
Landlord: No issue. Could you come now?
Me: I need to give my blood samples for some tests; is it OK if I come in after about half an hour?
Landlord: Yes, that's be fine. I'll wait.
(After 20 minutes)
Me: yes, uncle.
Landlord: How are you doing?
Me: Good, uncle (posing a fake smile)
Landlord: You've never introduced me to your father. I've met your sister, brother, cousins, but not your father.
Me: (Why the hell he wants to meet my father!!!???) Uncle, he rarely comes on leisure trips to Delhi. And he hasn't come for a business one also for quite some time now.
Landlord: (smiling his wicked smile!) Ohh! But I would love to meet him!
Me: Sure, uncle. (Reaching my wits' end) You wanted to discuss something.
Landlord: Yes, You see there's this verification drive going on; so I need to get the papers made again. You are just like a daughter to us, so I never really bothered before.
Me: Thank you, Uncle. I, too, would need the renewed deed.
Landlord: And I would need some information from you to get it done.
Me: Sure, uncle. Let me know what you would need.
Landlord (After taking down all the details): And as the deed will be renewed, I'll put the increased rent there.
Me (wide-eyed): But aren't there still 2-3 months to go for that? I mean, the year is yet to end according to the last deed.
Landlord: How does it matter? A month here and there is always workable. And then, you should have no problem with the money. You earn well!
Me: (How dare he say that!!! What does he mean by 'earn well'?? I don't have a five-floor building that I can rent out and sit at home and do nothing!!!) Not really, uncle. You know how expensive surviving in Delhi is!
Landlord: But I need to get the papers made soon.
Me (accepting defeat): Ok, Uncle, go ahead and get it done.
Landlord: So, it increases by 10%, okay?
Me: Of the initial amount, right?
Landlord: No, no; 10% of the increased amount.
Me (exasperated): But, uncle, shouldn't it be of the initial amount? That's how it works!
Landlord: No no. It's the amount that is currently applicable. You can ask anyone.
Me (accepting defeat, the second time!): It's ok, uncle.
Landlord: And yes, you know na how much loss we have incurred this month. There's still repair work going on in the bathroom.
Me: But, isn't that on your floor. And I stay on the third floor.
Landlord: Yes, yes. But we are spending a lot on it as two pipes burst!
Me (feeling my head would burst too): Yes, uncle, I can understand.
Landlord: So, you see, I am shelling out a huge amount there and needed a favor from you.
Me: (I'll kill you if you increase my rent for the stupid pipes that burst in YOUR bathroom!) Ahan, sure, tell me.
Landlord: If you could give the money earlier...
Me: Ok, uncle.
Landlord: You must be getting late for office....you carry on...
Me: (Now, that's an early realization!)Yes, uncle, I should leave now.
Landlord: Do come over for lunch some day; you never come...
Me: Yes, uncle, sure...
Landlord: And please, try and give the money earlier..
Me: Yes, uncle, I will
Landlord: And I'd be delighted to meet your father someday...
Me: Yeah, uncle... (And I hurry off, just too relieved to get out of there ASAP!)
Talk about how much is required to survive....