For some, it is choosing freedom over convenience.

Same city but not living with parents Single Indians on moving outImage for representation
Features Monday, December 14, 2015 - 14:05

Seven years ago, Siddhartha V (name changed), a Bengaluru-based business owner, went out for coffee with his grandfather for a tete-a-tete.  

"What do you think society will say? That my only grandson moved out of the house to live separately?" his grandfather said. 

"But what society says or thinks does not matter. Just because a person moves out of the house does not necessarily indicate a family feud," Siddhartha tried to reason.  

For the last few months, Siddhartha had been working in the family business after completing his studies abroad.

However, being home again was the same as it was. "Each time I went out, I'd be asked where was I going or when would I return. I had got used to a certain lifestyle and did not want to be answerable to anyone," he told The News Minute. 

When he told his parents he wanted to move out, they weren’t "thrilled" at the prospect, but "grudgingly" agreed. Convincing his grandfather, however, was another matter.

The old man would not give in easily, at least without putting up a fight. Siddhartha’s grandfather used his last weapon. "If you moved out of the house, I will cut off my head."

Hearing this in the coffee shop’s sedate atmosphere, Siddharth was thrown off, and with this, the conversation came to a close.  

Siddhartha was going nowhere.  

Recognising his need for his space, his family renovated a portion of the house. Siddhartha’s sister had moved out after she got married. So they decided to take down the wall that separated her room from Siddhartha’s to make the studio apartment. He continued to work in the family business.

"It was just okay. Not an ideal situation," he says.

However, even the new set-up did not work for him for too long and five years later, Siddhartha begun house hunting. This time around he wanted a house of his own. "I wanted to buy my own place, not rent. And no one had an issue now," he says. 

After rejecting several apartments where "all balconies overlook other balconies", he finally found the house he was looking for in the city. 

It has been two years since Siddhartha shifted to his new place, which is around 5 km away from his parents’ house, and he says it has been "great". 

He feels people who live with their families often take them for granted and that staying apart can make one appreciate them more. Relationships, Siddhartha says, can even get better. 

Although he has never felt like he was being judged by his family and friends for his decision to live separately, people whom he meets over coffee or at get-togethers surprise him. "They are shell-shocked (that he lives separately even when his parents are in the same city)".

Siddharth's family makes it a point to meet over lunch at least once a week. "They find the food better in my place," he says, quickly adding that he has an excellent cook. 

For Reshma Saira, an advertising professional based-out of Chennai, the decision to move out of her parent's house was not such a long-drawn out affair. 

She was 21, and had just finished her studies when she left the house without telling her parents. 

Though her mother did try to call her back, her parents in a way had accepted her move.

"When I decided to leave the house, it was not so that I could party and go out. I did for my peace and happiness, so that I had my own space and could spend time with myself for each moment I spend with myself is blissful," she says. 

"Also when you have your own space, you have the freedom to walk naked as well," she says cheekily. 

Ask her about the chores – cooking, cleaning and washing – and she asks "And you get that at what price? I prefer peace even if I have to pay extra for it."

Reshma

Her home is her realm which she likes to do up in a certain way, a place where she can express herself and there is no need for restraint. It took her a long time to get to this point.

From having to live with friends initially to sharing an apartment and facing landlords sceptical of renting places to single women, Reshma's attitude is one of been-there-done-that. 

Having grown up in a conservative family with strict parents, Reshma always felt the need to get her own freedom. Though it has been several years since she left her parents' home, she has intermittently gone back to live in the house. 

"When my dad passed away four years ago, I lived with my mom for two years before we both realised that it was not working out and I decided to leave," she says, adding that her mother too likes having her own space now. 

Reshma now lives in a rented apartment which is three streets away from her mother’s house. "Since I live on the second floor, it is difficult for my mother to climb the stairs. So I visit her whenever I can. I try and fulfil all her needs," she says. 

She feels it is better to move out when you are younger. She says "You become independent, more mature, it helps you develop your personality and understand a lot more about yourself."

While Siddhartha and Reshma both like their freedom and the responsibilities that come with it, living by himself hasn’t worked out very well for Mihir, a Chennai-based advertising professional. It lasted less than a year.

"I was doing business earlier but in 2014 decided to freelance. I needed a space of my own. I thought I should be on my own for some time, away from parents," he says. 

Trouble followed. "They didn't like the idea of me living away from home, that too in the same city. They are open-minded but they weren't just comfortable with it," he continues. 

So Mihir finally got a rented apartment for himself, which he and his friend shared and which was about 5 km from where his parents lived, but continued to drop "in and out" at his parents' place frequently. "Like if I had a late day at work, I'd spend the night at my parents' house," he says. 

When his work started to get abrupt, he decided to move in back again with his parents. "I liked the peace and quiet at my apartment, but living with parents at this point is way more convenient. My parents have also changed a bit after I left. They are more relaxed now and do not intrude into my space," he adds. 

Mihir says he'll probably do it again when "the time is right", and as of now he has once again adjusted himself to the noise from the TV in his house. "I did not have a TV in my apartment," he says. 

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