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Dubai Diaries: Living in a house with no keys

Ambica Sachin /Dubai
ambica@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 9, 2021

We have a sheepish admission to make to house guests

What’s the thing you dread the most when you have house guests over?

Is it the state of your living room? The utter disarray of your dining table where everything from your car keys to a tin of your favourite biscuits to all the paraphernalia associated with your gadgets are laid out for easy picking?

For me, it has to be the awkward conversation with anyone who asks to use our washroom.

When we moved into the apartment a few years ago, we were initially bemused to notice our three-bed came with a single master key. And most unusually, the bathrooms came with keyholes but no keys.

Since we were used to chatting with each other through shut doors and some of our most soulful conversations have occurred in the middle of the night when one person was presumably fast asleep, lack of privacy was understandably not a deal-breaker for us.

That is until the first set of dinner invitees turned up and it was time to point them to the washroom.

We had to sheepishly inform them about the no-key situation and as penance offer up a choice of three bedrooms, each with an en-suite experience should they desire a two-door barricade. That was the least we could do to make people feel at home in our ‘key-less’ living arrangement, we told ourselves.

And over the years our regular friends have gotten used to it or so we chose to believe.

For those wondering, we have attempted to get spare keys made at a dozen places over the city, only to be informed that it was apparently not the type that could be replicated easily.

Having grown up in a house where you could lock yourself up in a room and never be seen or heard for the better part of the day, this transplantation into a house with cardboard thin walls — you can hear the couple next door yelling at each other, or the stilettos come tapping back early in the morning - admittedly took a bit of getting used to.

A couple of years ago when our 4-year-old managed to lock himself up in the only room with a key to the door, we initially tried talking him through the process of opening the door through the keyhole.

When that failed we frantically attempted to get our hands on a spare key from the security guard. It was then that the horror of our situation drew on us.

None of the huge jangle of keys the building custodians had would work on our door and even a few discreet knocking on our neighbouring doors yielded the same result — we were a community of people with no keys to their rooms.

Thankfully the 4-year-old managed to unlock the door after a bout of mentoring. And our quest for privacy continues.

author

Ambica Sachin

Armed with a double masters in English Literature, Ambica Sachin embarked on a career that has seen her straddle teaching, assisting an award-winning author, and reviewing books and movies, before finding her forte in critical writing and interviewing celebrities. She is currently Editor, City Times, the lifestyle and entertainment portal of Khaleej Times.