Mansions offer rooms for anywhere between Rs. 1500 - Rs. 4000 per month
A variety of social norms keep a number of people constantly in search of accommodation.
Figuring in this group are bachelors, for whom getting a house on rent is not easy. No wonder then that a locality such as Triplicane, with its 300-odd mansions, is called a ‘Bachelor's paradise'.
In a city where house rents are soaring, one can find a room in Triplicane for anywhere between Rs.1,500 to Rs.4,000 a month. The advance, too, is low.
For an outsider, life in a mansion could seem pathetic.
Dark corridors, a dingy room with just enough space for a cot and having to pay for everything, including drinking water, might seem unpleasant.
But ask M. Nithyanand (27), who has lived in a mansion for the last two years, and he says: “I find this comfortable. You don't have to worry about maintenance. All you have to do is ring a bell and give some money and there is someone to go buy anything you want. House owners are just too strict.” On his monthly salary of Rs.15,000, he says he just cannot afford house rent. He has shifted between 10 different mansions in the last two years. “Mansion owners start enquiring about long-stay tenants. It would be ideal if we had something like a working men's hostel,” he adds.
S. Dhasthagir, secretary, Mansion Owners' Association says that the police have been advising mansion owners about security concerns. “We have been asked to fit cameras. We have also started asking for ID proof and cell phone number during check-in.”
Responding to the space crunch and lack of facilities in many mansions, Mr. Dhasthagir says that this is natural because many owners have just modified old buildings and let it out for rent. “Very few mansions are new constructions. Only the interiors have been refurbished.”
But people like H. Shahjahan, who shuttles between Tiruchi and Chennai, do not seem to mind. “The rent is about Rs.600 per day. There are good mess facilities available nearby.”
Due to the associated businesses, mansion localities have a distinct culture of their own. There are book shops, fruit vendors and road-side eateries on one side and ethnic food from Gujarat, Bengal and Maharashtra on the other side of the road doing roaring business.
Mr. Shahjahan runs a recruitment business and says he packs up and moves to the Taj for a day when a client comes over to meet him.
“That is just for bandha. But when you are looking for something that is cheap and best, mansions are difficult to beat,” he says