If only, brokers didn't have to be paid.
If only, people built houses meant to be lived in. Rooms with large windows, and doors right across so the breeze knows it is welcome and the air is not weighted with claustrophobia.
If only, homes were not created to earn - each square foot put there so that it can forever become a tiny mint all by itself. A thousand for a bathroom, two thousand for a kitchen, five thousand for a kitchen that doesn't send a woman into a depressive tailspin. If only, they didn't try to tell you that this is quite enough for your needs... what more could you possibly want?
If only, you had nothing but your clothes and books. Or that the cupboards understood - a woman's needs are king-size.
If only, you weren't afraid of bumping your head against the shower, or risked having a nervous breakdown each time you looked at the toilet.
If only, the walls weren't lilac. Or pink. Or green. Or both.
If only, there were railings on narrow staircases.
If only, people who had room to spare would give two rooms, instead of just one, keeping the adjacent one empty and utterly, senselessly, locked up.
If only, they wouldn't assume you cannot live without air-conditioning. And would believe you when you promised you wouldn't use it.
If only, you were a pigeon. So you could fit into the holes a city rents out. Or were free to sleep on other people's windowsills.
If only, landlords returned deposits without a fuss, without making you feel like you were cheating them.
If only, they didn't ask you your caste. And when you refuse to tell them, they didn't stammer, didn't press on with questions about where you belong. If only, they didn't care. If only, they didn't stare at you when said you were alone. If only, they didn't need the lie of respectability. If only, they weren't so afraid of 'boys'. If only, they didn't threaten to treat you exactly like their own daughters.
Oh, if only!