I find my roots in a family where five pairs of uncles and aunts, and their children—my siblings and cousins—co-existed in a two-storey house. I spent 16 years of my life sharing everything from toys to toothpaste, socks to secrets. Having grown up in an environment that encouraged a sense of fraternity over free space, I thought that adjusting to others came easily to me.That is, until I flew the coop and crash-landed into a flurry of flatmates and roommates who taught me that the true meaning of living together means finding the balance between conflicting morning music routines, being dutiful enough to not leave around dirty dishes, and being someone who tolerates both, hookups and heartbreaks.
The roommates you’re assigned in college dorms or the ones you find off Facebook pages often become your first taste of the world outside your pampered bubble and may even determine whether you actually grow into a responsible human or succumb to the spoils of binge-drinking beer over Entourage reruns. But while having roommates means you can split the cost of living in an overwhelmingly overpriced city, they still come with a price you may not always be able to pay. But if think you have had it bad, here are some stories of all the worst kinds of roommates who have literally made life a living hell.
When I was living in a working women’s hostel in New Delhi for a few months, I had to share my room with a girl who tried to give me ‘life tips’ on everything, from how not to get dark (my skin, not my mental make-up) to how to make my vagina taste nice, to how to only make friends with fair-skinned people "because dark people are dirty". She also told me that watching Game of Thrones on my laptop was darkening my skin. She once even got mad for me having made a friend in the hostel and going out with her for drinks. She literally told me to not make any friends apart from her. — Aakriti, 28
GAVE ADVICE ON MAKING VAGINA TASTE NICE
When I found this girl from Delhi on a website that helps you find a flatmate and flats, she told me that she will be moving in with her "adopted" dog. I love dogs and have grown up around pets, so I was excited. Little did I know that it was a dog she had literally picked up from the streets on a whim, and had forced him to live with her. Every day, Bunny the dog would run all over the house, looking for an escape. He would claw at our glass windows and bark all day. He would also leave a trail of hair all over. When I told her to get Bunny treated for shedding, she told me he had PTSD, after living on the streets for so long. And then, Bunny started chewing up the furniture, which belonged to the landlord. He also attacked me a few times and ripped a dress. I voiced my concerns again. But the next thing I know, she buys a cage to "fix Bunny's PTSD" and places it in the living room—the hottest room in the house, and one which didn’t have an air-conditioner. For two weeks, she would leave Bunny in that cage, where he clawed and barked and peed and pooped and slept in all day. Sometimes, she would be gone for close to 16 hours. I even took photos and was going to report her for animal cruelty, but she left the house before I could. — Diana, 30
CAGED A DOG TO FIX HIS "PTSD"
My college roommate in Pune had this weird habit of masturbating with her clothes on right in front of me. She said it was something she did to deal with her stress and even fucking did it while studying! — Simran, 21
MASTURBATED IN FRONT OF ME
About three years ago, I got interested in tarot, which I was learning from a friend. It helped with my anxiety, and sometimes, I would create a mood with candles and music while practicing it for myself. One day, when I was practicing it, I heard the door shut loud, and then bolted from outside. I ran to it and realised that my flatmate had locked me inside the house we shared. She then called the cops because she thought I was a witch and was practicing black magic. She blamed everything going wrong in her life on me, and surprisingly, the cops didn’t believe me either. One of them came from an area in Rajasthan where apparently witches are still hunted down. There was no official complaint against me but the incident made me move back into my parents’ home for a bit. — Nausheen, 25
CALLED THE COPS ON ME FOR BEING A 'WITCH'
A friend’s flatmate in Pune used to pile clothes in a huge mound on the table in our living room. On many occasions, there would be boxes filled with food and on one occasion, a box of birthday cake, that would lie underneath the clothes for days. They finally realised what it was when the stench filled their place. — Himanshu, 21
LEFT A CAKE UNDER CLOTHES FOR DAYS
This girl in my hostel at NIFT used to store used sanitary napkins under her bed, something her roommate and my friend only found out about after she had lived in that room for a while. She would throw them out from time to time, but she kept most of them piled up every month and it was disgusting. — Prerna, 27
STORED USED SANITARY NAPKINS UNDER BED
My friend and I had scored MDMA in powder form but didn’t feel like snorting it. So, we mixed it in water and drank it, leaving behind remnants of the powder. But because I didn’t know which glasses belonged to my friend, we ended up using her roommate's glasses. We were headed out after that, and so, didn't even wash the glasses. When her flatmate returned, she almost drank out of the glasses but realised something was off, and was super freaked out about having drugs in her house. — Samira, 23
LEFT BEHIND MDMA IN GLASSES
When I was out of town for a weekend, my flatmate had a few friends over and they were all smoking. He then tried to stub his cigarette out, but ended up doing so on the mattress instead, which then caught fire. He left the house without knowing it was burning, but I was the one who got frantic calls from the owner in the US who said he got a complaint about a fire in the house. We got kicked out of a really nice house because of him. — Anirudh, 22Names have been changed to prevent roommate retribution.Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.