It’s all very quaint and Victorian. We don’t call them PG for Women. Or men. It’s PG for Gents. And PG for Ladies. The “gents” in question live in some slovenly conditions. The ladies, it seems, are a little better. But they remain squashed. Sharing a little room with 3 or 4, and calling it home for years. Working in a business park in Bellandur, and driving 70+ km a day was not the best way to move through life for me. I searched for serviced apartments, and came up with frightfully pricey ones that were beyond my pitiful budget, or were in locations I would have to commute all over again. Walking through Bangalore’s PG village to search for a room for my German friend, Jorg, I was appalled that we would pay money to be treated miserably. Just off a little dusty lane in my own definition of techhell, while you breathe in the fresh red dust, lies the new building that is to be my own little version of home for a month.
The paint is still fresh off the walls. Construction work is still in progress. I am a bit apprehensive about moving with all these workers still prowling around. Yes, call me a victim of the cynicism of India-living. I choose the highest floor – all of 3 floors. It looks out to the back of the PG village where trucks move past relentlessly pouring even more dust than you can imagine. A wooden cot with a 2.5ft mattress is in the room. A LED TV adorns the red walls. The bathroom has new fittings – and dark brown tiles. Outside the bathroom is a little washbasin that was built to wash a hamster, probably. I can’t imagine that grown women can use this little basin. Two windows by my bed. And one near the bathroom. That is about the accouterments I have right now. I choose not to share the room with anyone. I have a bit of luxury. I have another bed. And at least there are no bed bugs because everything is new. Within the PG world, I am privileged. The owners of the PG speak no English, only Telugu. But they have a smart son, Vikas, who is the translator. The entire building has been leased for around Rs200,000 a month. I do the calculation. At least 3 beds in each room. And considering that I am paying Rs11,000 for the privilege of staying in this little space, I can imagine there are a lot of rooms the owners have to fill in to make up for that rent. No wonder they cram people in. And there are people willing to be crammed in. From Wednesday, 12 November, I will move in.