The sight of these posters, stuck all over one surface (and indeed, stuck all over all kinds of surfaces throughout our city) brought home to me that there are many people who live in circumstances very different from home or apartment owners or tenants.
The usual demographic of someone who looks for, and lives in, a Paying Guest accommodation is usually someone young, and who has probably landed the first job in this city. The emoluments look very attractive in the small town where that young person may live; but arrival in Bangalore brings them face to face with the very expensive reality.
Even “chummeries” as they used to be called, with two or three people sharing an apartment or house, has become very expensive these days, and so these people are forced to live in PG accommodation. They might share with one, two, or three other people of the same gender, or perhaps even live in a dormitory.
I have seen many “PG” posters advertising the following: washing machine, cable TV connection, “food 3 times”(sic), and of course, the all-important wifi connectivity. Even for these, proximity to shops, and even more important, cheap and good eateries, make the difference between desirable and avoidable.
There is no mixed-gender living that I am aware of, and the rules, especially for young women, seem rather draconian; one must be back in one’s accommodation by a certain time, for example. Landlords (and ladies) can vary from generous to mean and demanding, and it’s often pure luck that determines what one gets, at the first PG, at least.
And yet, in spite of all the restrictions, people living in PG accommodation manage to live their lives. They go to work, come back, build up a social life for themselves, and sometimes tap into social media to find others like themselves and form acquaintanceships that might ripen into friendships…or more.
To those of us who are used to having a house or apartment to ourselves, the thought of sharing one’s living quarters with several others, who might keep changing, would be uncomfortable…but for so many people in our city, such restrictions of space and privacy are the norm of their daily lives.