In the latest leftfield move by the Right, UK has become the first state to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC), which brings under its generous ambit live-in relationships. While you can read up the deets online, I’ll focus on making a good old-fashioned crib sheet: how to live-in without giving out to the mai-baap state.
There are big-city types who say: ‘But who lives in live-in in Uttarakhand anyway? It’s a Mumbai, Dilli thing.’ Come to Dehradun. It’s a booming young city that has transformed itself in the last decade. Women cram bars and clubs and walk home alone at night, while round-the-clock food delivery and cab apps work like they do anywhere else. It’s no longer ‘sleepy’ here. Of course, couples live-in, especially in newly constructed tower blocks.
In a society where honour killings still take place, the new law is going to affect young inter-faith, inter-caste and inter-community couples the most. But who cares about them anyway? They survive despite the system. Occasionally, Supreme Court comes to their rescue.
The joke is clearly on the lawmakers. They have no idea what live-in means. In many cases, those in a live-in don’t know they are in a live-in. It’s all about the fluidity of emotion and the freedom of choice.
Here’s my cheat sheet:
Step out of your discomfort zone The state gov has decided that if a couple has been staying together for a month, then they have to start the registration process, which might also involve an inquiry. (A month is more like a layover than a live-in). There’s a simple way out of this.
Every 30 days, drive out of UK to the nearest border town, spend a night and return. The idea is to break the 30-day period. Then, you start afresh. Dehradun folks can drive to Saharanpur. This will begin a new trend of live-in honeymoon tourism. It’s like a hippie going to Kathmandu for a fortnight before her Indian visa is renewed.
PG-overrated Another stupid one is about those under-21 having to take parental consent to live-in. A girl can marry at 18 without parental consent but cannot live-in. One may as well run away to a state that doesn’t implement UCC, or doesn’t bother enforcing this clause. In the long run, there will be those.
Hostel California We may see the rise of developments called Love Hostels. If I run a mixed hostel with separate entrances, no one can say who’s living with whom. Hostellers are always hanging out in each other’s rooms.
Not coy, decoy Build decoy rooms. When cops come, the boy can say, ‘But I live in this SQ under the staircase.’ Basically, to prove that you are not living-in, you just have to prove that – as KJo would say – ‘the both of you’ do not share the same space. The landlord won’t mind a little extra.
Dialoguebaazi When the cops come, apply that old trick of film stars, who, when asked about romantic entanglements, always say, ‘We are just good friends.’ If they ask you to install CCTV in the bedroom, file an obscenity case.
You are also well within your rights to tell the cops that you are flatmates who are occasional friends with benefits. That doesn’t qualify as live-in. When it comes to love and sex, if you build barricades, we will build underground tunnels.