Life's not easy for single women

LIVING ALONE

Given the growing educational and professional opportunities Delhi offers, the number of women coming from outside the City for the purpose of studies or working is on rise.

Safety first: Women brave all odds to find a house. For them, finding a safe and suitable place to stay in is harder than finding a job or admission at a good college. Some make their way to hostels, some depend on their relatives living in the City, but equal number of them live alone as paying guest or at a rented accommodation, mostly out of compulsion.

The woes of the women who have to stay alone in the City begin with convincing their parents followed by the hunt for a good and affordable house. The task is usually tedious as most people deny giving house to single women. Some people give the nod for it but after a lot of questioning followed by instructions over dos and don’ts.

Akriti Anand, who hails from Ranchi and has been staying alone in Delhi for the last six months, says that the first problem she had to face was to convince her parents about living in a City often termed as the crime capital. “My parents’ main concern was security.

So, I chose accommodation where families live. That makes me feel somewhat safe and secure. But it was not at all easy. I was asked why I wanted to stay alone,” rues Akriti, who has been living alone since her friend and room-mate moved back to her hometown.

Maasoom Dhillon, who works at a publishing house and lives alone at a rented house in Noida, agrees. For her, memories of house hunting are not so pleasant. “I was asked questions like what caste I belonged to, why I didn’t want to live with other girls and whether I will be getting male friends over or not. After hearing my name, a lot of people also asked if I was a Muslim,” she shares.

The problems do not end here. The girls have to face intrusion and interference by landlords and owner of the house apart from managing the responsibilities that come along with the freedom of living alone. “I was so concerned about my security that I got a peephole installed at the wooden door of my house as there was no iron gate. Apart from that when workers like electricians and plumbers get to know that a girl is living alone, they tend to charge double the usual rates,” Maasoom adds.

Girls living alone feel that having a room-mate helps in terms of safety and finances as they can share the rent and also overcome the feeling of being lonely. “I live alone and one day if I don’t reach home due to some mishap, nobody will come to know about it,” says Anam Naqvi, who belongs to Mangalore and has been living in Delhi for the last three years. “Two months ago I was with living a room-mate. It was very convenient as we could share responsibilities. Now I am living alone, but haven’t told my mother as she will get worried,” she adds.

The situation might turn out equally unpleasant if the house has to be shared with an unknown person. “I am staying alone because I didn’t want to live with an unknown person! But if you are staying with a friend, a lot of things get sorted out on their own,” says Shubhangi Agrawal, who works at a multinational company in Gurgaon and has been living alone as paying guest for the last six months.

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