Powai resident Chandreyi Bandyopadhyay, who was slapped by neighbour Anil Ambadan

The fight for equal rights only gets tougher for single women in Mumbai, especially if they are looking to rent a home. Chandreyi Bandyopadhyay (25), a resident of Suncity complex in Powai, saw the ugly face of chauvinism when a neighbour assaulted her for allowing her partner, Joydeep Mondal, over too often. The gritty woman decided to lodge an FIR against the man.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at 4.30 pm, when Bandyopadhyay and Mondal reached her building in Powai's Suncity complex. A neighbour, Anil Ambadan, passed a comment about Mondal coming over too often to Bandopadhyay's home. When he protested, Ambadan assaulted him.

"I tried to pull them apart. But he slapped me. I was humiliated. People stood around us and watched. I decided to file an FIR, but when he and others requested me against it, I agreed, for my roomates' safety. I did file an NC later, though," she told mid-day.

The Surya Nagar police provided the couple support and urged them to file an FIR. "He gave it in writing that he won't interfere in our affairs, as per the Rent Control Act, so we let the matter rest," she added.

Ambadan's apology read, "I, Anil Ambadan, hereby confirm that I, out of anger have hit Mr. JOYDEEP MONDAL and Ms. CHANDREYI BANDYOPADHYAY and abused/threatened them in public. Also, hereafter, I will not interfere in anybody's personal visitor or household matter..." (sic).

When called, Ambadan said, "I am in hospital to treat an ear infection and can't comment."

What happened with Bandyopadhyay is not uncommon. Most young, single professionals in Mumbai have experienced a similar episode.

Virar resident Shilpa Mulye (38) said, "Young bachelors are presumed to be troublemakers, but I am a woman, that too Maharashtrian. Yet, when my friends or relatives come over, people consider it their right to speculate about my lifestyle."

He, later, wrote an apology letter

Bachelors vs families
Societies argue that they prefer to rent out to families because bachelors' lifestyle creates a problem for others.
Rajesh Sawant, secretary of The Ripples society in Shivaji Park, said, "Once, a resident rented his flat out to a bachelor, who killed himself. The tenant who replaced him would create a nuisance by playing loud music and drinking. If a tenant is organising a party, the rule is s/he must tell the society. Sudden late-night ruckus will be objected to. That's why owners prefer renting their flats to families, who tend to be more peaceful."

Human rights activist Rita Mehra wonders how an owner can judge a person by his/her marital status. "Often, families also fight, inconveniencing others. It's plain prejudice. If a married man or woman calls over a guest of the opposite sex, it is fine, but if a single resident does the same, it's a cause for concern."