I moved into a flat that looked as if it had been painted by the landlord himself. It had definitely been painted by someone who had never painted anything before. I loved the flat despite that, though, and I particularly liked my landlord and landlady. They were extremely curious about a girl who wanted to live all alone. More than that, they were curious about this girl who had come all the way from Pune to live in their beloved Calcutta and study there. And most of all, I was a rare specimen because I spoke little Bangla.
As helpful neighbours, they came to talk to me even before I had moved in. They asked me what I did and my landlady suggested to me where I should put my bed and other things.
“I don’t have a bed,” I said apologetically.
“Oh, okay, okay.” That was normal. “You can put your TV here.”
“I don’t have a TV.”
“Oh!” That was not normal. “No TV?”
I shook my head.
“I have a fridge!” I offered, hopefully. At some level, I got the feeling that my landlady was wondering how I would pay my rent regularly if I was too poor to afford a TV.
My landlady made a face, but her innate goodness surfaced. She did not see the need for a fridge when I did not even have a TV, but accepted that I could plug my fridge into the socket she had suggested for my non-existent TV. And then, what convinced me that she really liked me was, “Whenever you want, you can come and watch our TV, okay?”