Intricate and innocent – hardly the pair of words you would associate with the quintessential species called the ‘house-owner’ seen in Malayalam movies through the years. In my college years, I spent a great deal of time living in rented houses and had my share of interaction with this species. None of it was heavenly and, if at all I did gain a perspective about them, it wasn’t the least laudatory.
They would fight with you for the rent (inevitably late!), spy on you lest your female friends made it a habit to visit you for socially questionable reasons, and face a barrage of questions every time your mates descended for a raucous party which would shake the neighbourhood and leave everyone’s eardrums in tatters. Life as a tenant was essentially about time spent in pursuit of clandestine arts – how to hoodwink and how to deal with a pest called the ‘house-owner’.