Written by Subia Musheer
Of late, I've begun to feel as if quarrels are on the rise in my sweet home. With arguments between husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and daughter, and among the daughters, they all seem to have brushed up on their fighting skills and have recently been putting on their best performances. After close observation of the situation, I inferred that we were pushing each other to gain space — no, not the space pined for in relationships, neither the one explored by astronauts (not our cup of tea). The children were in need of physical space in which to play, and we needed the same to keep our distance from the players.
At the dinner table, a serious family meeting was held, at which we concluded that we must get a bigger house. The responsibility of hunting for our dream home fell on my shoulders. The next morning, before they left for the day, my husband and children handed me a list of requirements that I had to look into when I spoke to the real estate agents.
After a quick breakfast, I waited eagerly for the newspaper to be delivered to my doorstep. When the delivery vehicle finally arrived, I grabbed the newspaper before it could even land properly on the floor. My enthusiasm was so strong that it must certainly have given the delivery man the impression that I had my picture on the front page.
Fumbling through the newspaper pages, ignoring the powerful world leaders, killings, bombings, threats of global warming, entertainment, and even juicy gossip, I went straight to the "For Rent" captions. I dialled the number given in the first advertisement that caught my eye. A stylish "Hello" came bouncing back on the line. Distractedly, I walked over to a mirror, took a glance at myself, and fixed some of the misplaced strands of my hair. My spirits soared, and I started anticipating the gorgeousness of the house that this person would give us. Another "Hello"— this time a little harsh — brought me back to my senses, and I quickly responded by blurting out my requirements. "A flat." he said flatly. "We only deal with villas." The way he had uttered the word "flat" sent a pang of guilt through me and made me wonder at the "crime" I was committing by living in an apartment and looking for another one. Thanking him with a hidden "sorry to disturb you," I replaced the receiver.
It took me some time to compose myself and fish for another appropriate advertisement. When I finally called another one, I found myself talking to a recorded message. I spoke into the answering machine, providing all my details. Later, I did get an enquiry number from them on my mobile phone, but that was it. To date, nobody has gotten back to me from that company.
Then, I spoke with another agent. He had everything I was looking for and had no hard feelings about people living in apartments. The only problem was that those houses had already been rented by the time I reached him. Some of the options for neighbourhoods he had given me would have landed me in trouble on the religious front. I had to decide whether I loved my children more or my husband more because some neighbourhoods were close to the school and far away from the office and others had the opposite problem.
Finally, with heavy hearts, we exchanged goodbyes. No sooner had I replaced the receiver, when it rang! It was the same considerate fellow. He consoled me by promising to get back to me when he had something that matched all my requirements.
It has been quite some time now, and I'm still waiting for his call!