Monday, July 13, 2009

House of a different kind


Five years ago, newly-wed and naive as fresh-off-boats go, I claimed that I wanted to buy a house in Mumbai. A nice, spacious apartment in Bandra, I said to the husband. Something with a good view of the sea, perhaps with a nice little patch of greenery downstairs; after all, this is not Delhi, I added with an understanding giggle. He did not say much but we began our search in right earnest. The brokers looked faintly disappointed at the budget that we presented. Real estate market is booming, they intoned but we insisted we go ahead and see what the offering looked like.

A series of disappointments followed. Rundown buildings complete with peeling plaster greeted us wherever we went. The houses themselves were apologies for what apartments should be, ending before they had begun. Like haikus, said the husband sadly.


We have something in a TDR building, said the broker. That sounds like something to do with taxation, I thought to myself but wisely kept my silence. A TDR building is the equivalent of an unmade up mind in the world of property. The building is originally meant to be a squat two-floor edifice. Time passes by as time is wont to do, the rate per square foot increases while the supply of land remains the same, our earth not being an expandable planet. Consequently, more floors are added to the old building.It looks strange, I said doubtfully, like the mismatched floors of a child's lego building. You cannot afford to be fussy about these things, explained the broker.

The sensex hit the 21,000 mark. Housing became ever more expensive, but the stock market cycles are supposed to be independent of the real estate cycle. You need to understand one thing, said a friend, anything and everything that happens in the world makes Mumbai houses more expensive.

I would have taken this with a pinch of salt but then Kareena Kapoor lost weight and gained a hit. Suddenly people were asking for even higher amounts for buildings where Kareena was ostensibly buying a house. I am not a fan, I feebly complained, why should I be expected to pay a premium for her expected presence. The broker did not reply.

Even more time passed. We had a child, the desperation for space increased. His toys and clothes and books began to have children of their own or so it appeared every evening when we surveyed the house that looked like a tsunami had been visiting. Yes, we needed a larger house. We were now at a budget that was twice the original. And yet, no houses that would tug at the heartstrings, no strains of 'ek bangala bane nyaara' in the background and definitely no neighbour in the gorgeous Ms. Kapoor.

Look, sea-view, they would say and then quote a price for the same. Well, at that rate, we will need to gaze at the sea all the bloody time to get anywhere close to a good ROI, the husband would growl. A terrace, they would announce grandly and direct us to a patch of grilled-in concrete. Park view, parking view, even gym-view had takers apparently. But we refrained.

That theory about having to kiss many toads before getting to lock lips with the good prince holds true for house-hunting too, we were told. You have to see as many as sixty, seventy perhaps even a hundred bad houses to arrive at the one that is just right. At the rate at which we were going, hundred seemed a very achievable number.

Things finally reached a pass when the brokers started showing us the same houses over and over again. Murti Mahal? Oh we know the building. Kinara Kunj? Seen the place. Beach Haven? Yawn. Then we are done, said the middle-men. You have successfully exhausted all available flats in the area, not to mention us. The time to take a decision had arrived. The kind of house we actually wanted was a big, beautiful bungalow in Pali Hill but that notwithstanding the minor issue of affordability was taken by a superstar many decades ago. What were we to do?


Maybe we are not meant to get a place in Bombay, I would often stoically tell the husband, we are supposed to live it up in Como, remember. Yes, but retirement is at least twenty years away, he would groan. A couple of false alarms followed. And then, one day, just when we were nearing the end of the tether, we saw an apartment and did not have the single-minded urge to run away at once. It was nice and what was not nice could be made so. The hands were shaken, the house bought. The time to call Bombay home had finally arrived.


Interior magazines, here I come.

48 comments:

divi said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! THIS IS FAB NEWS!!! :D
i am so happy for you! :)

just designed [what i think is a ] fabulous book shelf.. can i send pics as recco for you?

Parul said...

divi...at once please, thanks!

Rohini said...

Awesome! Congrats! When is the house-warming party?

purplehomes said...

u have a bot a house at Mumbai !!!! u lucky woman..congrats!!! mail me details at once..

monikamanchanda said...

congrats for the big milestone

Iya said...

thats a big big achievment!!! congrats!!

Deepti said...

Congrats ...

s w a t said...

Congratulations Parul! :-)

Rhea said...

Congratulations!! I know the feeling.. We bought ours at the beginning of this year too! :)

beyond said...

congrats.very exciting news.

mindspace said...

2009 seems to be a good year for you.. congratulations galore and cheers for many more good things to come :)

Priya said...

Congratulations! a house in bombay is as big a milestone as having a baby or getting your first book published !!

Quirky Quill said...

Awesome stuff. Happy setting-up-home!

Shruti said...

Ive visited ur site just twice and am already a big fan.. This is exciting news! Happy decorating!

Goofy Mumma said...

Wow! Congrats! YIppy! Its such an amazing feeling to own one's own abode. And it is just so much fun doing it up. Have loads of fun Parul!

thethoughtfultrain said...

Uff the desperation of house hunting!! We had the same experience as you did, only in Bangalore and for rented acoomodations at that!!
Beautiful write up, and I bet you are doing great with your new book. If only I could lay my hands on it!

thethoughtfultrain said...

Oops, forgot the most important part - Congratulations and Celebrations on your new place!!

choxbox said...

congrats and may the house bring lots of cheery times.

Mumbai Diva said...

mucho congratulations.
in bandra? wow! that's really something, Parul.enjoy the decorating :)

shilpa said...

Naya Ghar, Nayi book...badhiya hain! Congrats.

Illusion said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!
Big Achievement!!

Gymnast said...

Excellent news , Parul. I am almost an architect - thesis left. Free consultation offered!

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Oh Parul! This is simply FANTABULOUS news!!!! Really thrilled for you!

Have fun with the interiors! Something tells me we can expect some delicious posts thanks to the operations to come...yippee!!!!

What a year, huh, what a year!! (bure nazarwalleh, tere moonh kaalaa!)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Welcome to homeownership!

M

Madhuri said...

Awesome news, congratulations!! Pudhu veedu, pudhu book.. kalakkare Parul :D

Homecooked said...

Congratulations on your new home! Waiting for the pics - preferably before and after :)

mybabynaren said...

Congratulations on the new home! Do post some pics? When are u moving in to the new place??

Perfect Witch said...

That is fantastic news. So you do have an abode in Mumbai now - no mean feat.

Enjoy your home and the pleasure of designing it. It would be worthwhile.

Best wishes to the three of you...

Artnavy said...

congratulations!!

WSW said...

Congrats!!!Have a good time designing!

kbpm said...

good going Parul!

Pipette's Mimi said...

Woww Congrats!This is great news!

preetischronicle said...

Wow! great news! heartiest congratulations...give us sneak peaks to the new place. when are you moving in?

Tithi said...

congrats, parul! know exactly wat u r talking of here. have bought an apartment sometime back and though we aren't going to stay there, we're doing up the place now... and believe u me, hazaar interiors mags put together isn't enough!

Poppins said...

Hey wow. Congratulations! A great feeling I'm sure. I guess you'll be OD'ing on apartmenttherapy and such like now.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Congrats ! Congrats ! Congrats !
A house is place where the PEACE is.

Mama - Mia said...

congraattttsss!

thats super awesome stuff parul! you go!!

cheers!

abha

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

Congratulations!! :) Happy decorating.

The knife said...

Parul, this is great news. Buying a place in mumbai is a hige thing ... and that too at bandra and of your choice. Searching for it must have been nerve wracking...but as the Thompson's uses to say...all's while... here's wishing Adi, Mahesh and you great times ahead, Cheers, kalayn

Dip Tea said...

That's mighty cool Parul! Congrats:)..have fun designing..

Anuradha said...

Congrats!! :) I remember you doing a post where you had decorated your house with flowers all over ... here's to creating loads of lovely memories at the new place!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

congratulations!!

Parul said...

divi...Many thanks and still waiting for the pictures!

Rohini...As soon as we move in!

purplehomes...Chat is better!

monikamanchanda...Many thanks!

Iya...Yuss, am pretty kicked!

Deepti...Thank you.

s w a t...Thanks, s w a t.

Rhea...Ooh, same pinch!

beyond...It is, wheee!

mindspace...One big kaala teeka in that case!

Priya...Oh well, not for me...the baby followed by the book followed by the house is the order.

Quirky Quill...Yay, thanks!

Shruti...Keep visiting! Thanks.

Goofy Mumma...I know, I have decor coming out of my ears.

thethoughtfultrain...What, still not got the book? What happened?

choxbox...And interesting stories!

Mumbai Diva...Khar actually but thanks!

shilpa...LOL, thanks.

Illusion...Thanks!

Gymnast...Arrey wah, I am taking you up on your offer!

Mamma mia! Me a mamma?...Yes, yes, the posts will come for sure!

Anonymous (M)...Hello and many thanks.

Madhuri...Thanks a ton, my dear. What does that mean?

Homecooked...Before and after pics will be posted.

mybabynaren...Sure, S, pics will be put up once I am done. Moving in...hmmm, a month?

Perfect Witch...Yes, quite kicked!

Rest of the comments to follow, guys.

Parul said...

Artnavy ...Many thanks. I hope I can do it justice like you did!

WSW ... I will, thanks!

kbpm ... Thanks, Ken.

Pipette's Mimi ... Gosh, it makes me doubly happy to see so many people happy for me!

preetischronicle ...In a month God willing, pictures then.

Tithi ... Those and the collective mights of a zillion decor sites!

Poppins ... Absolutely! Wasting insane amounts of time online!

Hobo ..... Thanks!

Mama - Mia ... Thanks, I go!

The Soul of Alec Smart ... Thanks, I hope to!

The knife ...Thanks, appreciate it!

Dip Tea ...Yes, that's the best part, aye?

Anuradha ...Yeppers, love em fresh flowers!

Cynic in Wonderland ... Thanks a ton, Cyn!

Serendipity said...

TOO COOL!! :) congratulations!

writerzblock said...

I am so sad that I didn't stumble upon your blog earlier. This is absolutely delightful. Congrats on your book, and on your home! And keep writing!

Compulsive Dreamer said...

Congratulations! Its an amazing milestone indeed! To find a house you liked in amchi Mumbai! wow!

stuti said...

This is superb news, Parul! Many Many congratulations :)