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Furnished for your (Dis)Comfort

Furnished for your (Dis)Comfort

June 16, 2011

When the house hunts YOU.

My first brush with “furnished apartments” was about four years back, while looking for a place to stay in Delhi. I was actually looking for a place that would not take a sizable bite out of my meagre salary. However, after the figure I quoted gave my broker severe coughing fits from laughing too hard, I decided it was either finding a roommate or a shady bus stop. So I cornered a poor soul from office who was in a similar bind and went apartment hunting.

The broker had good news. At our renewed price point, not only did he have an apartment for us, he had a “furnished” apartment. Which included an AC. We celebrated, temporarily forgetting the golden rule “Bargains are for OTHER people”. At the appointed hour, we walked into the promised apartment for the pre-signing-ceremony inspection.

Yes, there was an AC. I could not claim with certainty that it was one of the first ACs ever made. But I could not claim it was NOT, either. It certainly looked like a contender. It looked like the kind of AC that would give you an electric shock just for waving your hand in front of it. The broker turned it on. Much like me with my girlfriends, it involved a LOT of coaxing, cajoling, silent begging and pushing the right buttons. Much like my girlfriends, the AC was resolute in denial. Sure, it made a lot of noise, and once it did look like air was trickling out of it, but upon closer inspection, it turned out the air was coming from a crack in the wall.

As for the rest of the furnishings, they consisted of a plastic table, three plastic chairs with 11 legs between them, a mirror that would be more appropriate in a carnival funhouse and a wardrobe so deep and dank that cockroaches would think twice before taking up residence in them. I think the spiders carried tiny handguns for self-defence.

Needless to say, we went back to our broker and begged him not to send us, two young men in the prime of their lives, to an apartment like that. And I made a furious promise to myself NEVER to live in a furnished apartment ever again.

Until last year. See, I had moved from Delhi to Kolkata, and was now married, so I decided to give the whole furnished apartment deal one more try. We found one, and this time it was actually quite good! The TV worked! The fridge dispensed cold water at regular intervals, and not from leaks! The bed creaked horribly and sounded like it would come alive in the middle of the night and engulf us! Ok so it wasn’t all good, but was livable. It eliminated the stress and expense of buying furniture and appliances, so it was going to be worth it.

It wasn’t. We stopped sleeping on the bed mere weeks after we moved in, using it instead as a very large end table. The TV stopped displaying the color red after a few months, so now all the shows look like they were shot in a world where ice and bile reign supreme. And today morning, while defrosting the fridge, there was a loud crack, a hiss, and hey presto! No more cold water.

No bones about it. Unless you are incredibly lucky, furnished apartments suck. You pay extra to use someone else’s old furniture, possibly things their son had wiped various bodily fluids on, and then when they start having “issues” you are scared shitless because it’s someone else’s stuff, and of course, repairing them is like a light sprinkling of table salt on the already festering wound, because you are paying to fix something YOU WON’T EVEN USE after you leave the apartment. It’s all the stress of being a guest at a distant relative’s house, with none of the benefits like free food.

So now we walk gingerly around anything that came with the house. We treat them like sleeping infants. We talk in whispers. We touch them only when we absolutely have to. We are hostages in our own home, by appliances we pay extra for every month. And now, you will have to excuse me. I think the geyser has just fallen on my wife. 


  • Susmita Sen
    Susmita Sen
    09.07.11 07:50 PM
    Had great fun reading your piece...Unfortunately, it hurt a little as well since I'm someone from the other side of the fence: owner of a 'fully furnished' apartment up for rent. After this, no hope of finding a tenant I suppose!
  • Ajesh Banerjee
    Ajesh Banerjee
    18.06.11 08:15 AM
    Hmmm, if i was present when you came back to Kolkata, I would have tell you not to go for furnished apartments. From a personal point of view, i will never choose a furnished apartment, thanks to your blog, good sir! Well written, I liked it.
  • SidiBoy
    17.06.11 05:15 PM
    Hahaha... great!!!

    Really enjoyed reading your post. And, I'll make sure that I don't end up in a "furnished" apartment if ever I get a job outside Kolkata!!!
  • Sneha Banerjee
    Sneha Banerjee
    17.06.11 05:07 PM
    Funnily amazing. Just amazing as always.

    Thankfully till now i wasn't unfortunate enough to live in a furnished apartment. But if i ever have to, i am gonna keep this blog in mind. :)

    Loved your post.
  • Sabbatical Blogger
    Sabbatical Blogger
    17.06.11 02:36 AM
    Lol....really funny & witty. Advice taken and furnished apartments. Hope your wife is ok.

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