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Wrong house!

Some people like it, others don't. Those in favour of transferable jobs argue that you get to see new places, make new friends, experience new culture; it widens your horizons. But dissenters like me don't usually look at this bright side. We feel distressed at being torn away from familiar surroundings. The mere thought of hunting for a new house, and starting all over again from scratch gives me goose bumps!

My office, of course, isn't bothered about my skin conditions, and one day a neat envelope was delivered to me which contained a neatly printed transfer order. I had to move to another city. I moved. I chose to move alone keeping my family behind.

One of my colleagues in the new office helped me find a flat in a housing society. My biggest problem was solved! It wasn't a large flat. But, then, a single person like me did not require a large flat. It was a cosy nest; the rent was affordable; it was quite near to my office. The housing complex had three floors with four apartments on each floor. All the apartments were identical in every respect; even the size and shape of the doors and windows, and their colours were the same! The flats were exact replicas. My nest was on the first floor.

I had still not become acquainted with all my neighbours. Mr Gupta, who lived on the second floor, however had struck up friendship with me on the very day I moved to my new house. Mr Gupta was a jolly person who possessed that rare ability to make friends at first sight! Everybody knew Mr Gupta and Mr Gupta knew everybody!

One evening I was rather late in returning from office. My boss had entrusted me with an assignment, and I was still preoccupied with the problem. I hurriedly climbed up the stairs. The landing was unlit. I inserted the key into the lock and tried to turn it but it would not turn. After repeated tries, I felt exasperated and had a good mind to break the lock open.

But before taking that drastic step, I thought it prudent to give another try, and I attacked the lock with renewed vigour but it would not yield.

"Hey, want to break in?"

It was a familiar voice and belonged to Mr Gupta. He, as I had mentioned, lived on the second floor and had probably come down to chat with friends on the first floor.

"I can't open the lock," I said while sighing in relief that someone I knew was close by.

"It will not open," Mr Gupta said. "Do you want me to fetch you a hacksaw? But as an acccomplice I demand 50 per cent of the booty."

I could not make head or tail of Mr Gupta's strange reply.

"You will have to cut open the lock; the key you have won't open it." Mr Gupta said enigmatically.

"What do you mean?" I asked. "This is my apartment. I have purchased this lock personally and this is the key to the lock."

"Well, as a matter of fact this is not your apartment. It is Bipin's house you are trying to break in; he is on vacation and won't be returning for quite a few days. So we have all the time in the world," was Mr Gupta's reply.

I assure you I am a teetotaller and was certainly sober that day. Did Mr Gupta mean I had come to the wrong house? This was my apartment surely.

"This is the second floor you have come to," Mr Gupta said with a wide grin.

So that was it! In my preoccupied state I had climbed an extra flight of stairs! And as luck would have it, the apartment on the second floor exactly above mine should happen to be locked at that time! Fortunately for me, excepting for Mr Gupta no one else had seen me tampering with the lock. Else, the intentions of the new arrival to the housing society would surely have provided a juicy subject for discussion.

I smiled sheepishly, thanked Mr Gupta, and invited him for a cup of tea. The very first thing that I did after Mr Gupta left was to pick up a pencil and make a distinctive mark on the door so that I never ever mistook somebody else's apartment for my own.

Some useful links for
your career:


  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu