I had reached the apartment the afternoon of February 27th, 2019. I had to drag my suitcase up all the way to the third floor having to ask 2-3 people on the way if it was in fact the “F building” as there was hardly any way for newcomers to be able to check if they’re entering the correct building despite the host sending me pictures of the entrance before. The picture doesn’t really help when you’re in the actual situation looking for the entrance.
I had also asked the host in advance – since there was no elevator – if could I pay security to get my suitcase for me. The host seemed really worried about getting in trouble and about how nobody is supposed to know he hosts guests through Airbnb. His secretly hosting guests without having the rest of the residents on board caused me an enormous amount of inconvenience, especially in a building without a lift.
There were security concerns, like the key being left on top of the door so that the host didn’t have to be there to receive anyone. The key was accessible to everyone, though if the host continues to keep it there I am assuming nothing must have happened until now. I didn’t really like that it meant even the maid had access to come in anytime; I needed to know if my own stuff was safe if I decided to leave it behind. Luckily the maid had come by the time I got ready to go out around 3:00 or 4:00 PM and had been asked to not go into my room. She agreed.
There was wifi, hot water in the bathroom, and sufficient space in the guest’s room. What was missing was a proper bed instead of a mattress, a chair, and a table so there was some place for people to relax and to keep their stuff. Not everything can be done lying down or sitting on a mattress at such a low level.
I came back around 10:00 PM and the host returned about an hour later, knocking on the door. I replied and he opened the door and asked if everything was okay several times, so often that I got tired of answering. Then I mistook a bottle of water for alcohol and he said “Why would I keep alcohol just lying around when I have a bar in my cupboard?”
I didn’t know what to answer to that. He asked if I wanted to see it so I just said okay. He asked if I wanted something after revealing his collection to me. I said, “Okay, if it’s okay with you.”
He asked what does that mean and I said, “It’s your alcohol so…”
He said, “Yes, you can have some.”
I know how expensive alcohol can be so I didn’t know if it was okay to ask for some from someone living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment with minimal furniture renting one of the rooms to Airbnb guests. But he seemed more than enthusiastic to show off his Honey Jack Daniels talking about how expensive it is, how he buys them from Abu Dhabi, and how he really wanted me to feel the “luxury” of this drink with every sip.
Then he offered me Old Monk and started talking about the brand and some of the facts. It was so plain and boring. On top of that he asked me to go bottoms up which I couldn’t do because I found it absolutely tasteless and disgusting. However, he insisted and I just finished it in 2-3 sips since very little of it was left. I had no more interest in this intellectual alcohol discussion torture.
He said he would give me the Jack Daniels one now since I liked it better and I said that was enough for now. He asked if I don’t drink often and I confirmed that I don’t. Then the topic of cigarettes came up and he asked if I smoked. I said, “No,” and he asked why. When I said it was for health reasons he started making counterarguments that it’s not as bad as people say it is.
He lit up a cigarette and asked if I wanted to try it. With every drag he took he asked me to try it or made counterarguments about why it’s not that unhealthy or how one cigarette won’t convert me into an addict. None of it really mattered because I had said “no” to every offer and he was trying to lower my inhibitions.
Then he asked me if none of my friends smoke. Some do and some don’t, though I did not want him to try to convince me to smoke anymore. I just said “no” and then he asked the same thing about my boyfriend. I hesitated because I did not have a boyfriend but I did not want to tell him that as I had started to feel scared after he asked this question. After hesitating for a few seconds, I just shook my head to say no.
He asked me again “He doesn’t smoke?” (recognizing my hesitation) and I shook my head to say no again. A few seconds later he asked me what my boyfriend does for work. At that point I confronted him about him wanting to seduce me. He looked at me dumbfounded, asking me why would he want to seduce me in a really slow and soft tone, without breaking eye contact, repeatedly. I asked him if I could just go and sleep in my room. He said “okay” in the same tone, without breaking eye contact like before. I got and left.
He asked me if I had had dinner when I was near the door. While I was answering, he came closer to the entrance of my room and asked if I have everything I need, like water, etc. He was going to enter my room to “check if I have everything” but I was holding the door towards me and my arm was between him and the room. He changed the topic and went back to asking why would I think he would seduce me in that same manner as before. Then he said “I thought we could kiss.”
I said “I don’t want to.”
A few seconds later after some beating around the bush he asked “Do you want to kiss me? Can we kiss?”
I said, “No.”
He asked, “Why?” and I didn’t know what to say. I just looked away and smiled a little because of my nervousness.
Then I looked at him and he was walking towards me with his arms in the air like he was walking towards a lover or something. I freaked out, brought my arms between us, and pleaded with him to not rape me. He was a little shocked and asked me why would he rape me, and if I was crazy. I said, “Let’s just forget this and go to sleep.”
He said “okay” and I locked the door.
Within an hour, I had packed up everything, called a dormitory hotel and asked them if they had a bed available, that I was trying to escape a dangerous situation so they should write down the address just in case. I even messaged my friend to message me back in ten minutes to ask me what was going on.
I was really grateful to the dormitory hotel who did a really good job of checking on me by calling me twice after I had called and even messaging me a fourth time. They were all expecting me and took my luggage without asking any questions.
They quickly got my check in done and escorted me to my bed, put my suitcase in the storage under the bed and handed me the keys after which I was lying on my bed, and ensured my friend that everything was fine. I had my heart rate go up when everything was over, as it was starting to dawn on me what had just happened. I finally fell asleep and woke up later than I had planned to.
Airbnb refunded the money next morning though they did not give me any confirmation on what they’ll be doing with the host’s account even though I have asked them to ban him. They said they take these issues very seriously and that they will be investigating this issue.
The listing currently seems to be gone but his profile is still there. Here is his Airbnb profile. His Airbnb address is in Sameer Housing Society, Versova, Andheri West. I really hope Airbnb doesn’t let sexual predators have profiles on their website. They’re also not publishing my review of him so future female travelers can’t know about what he did, which I think is a really unethical thing for Airbnb to do.
At least his listing is not available anymore but since his profile is still there who knows? Maybe they’ll bring back his listing hoping I’ll forget about it.