A new home.
That’s right, Rook and I have been spending the past few months looking for a place of our own. An oasis of calm where we can hammer as many nails into the damn walls as we like, without worrying that the landlord will cut our deposit in half for it.
Of course, getting a place in Mumbai is as difficult as getting back your virginity. Non-surgically, I mean.
Sure, we all know that real estate in this city is the most expensive in the country. But we don’t know exactly what it means till we actually get down to the business of looking at houses.
You start by forgetting that Bombay even has a southern tip. You need to convince yourself that anything south of Bandra is simply a figment of your imagination, that town is a rumour put out by evil people (the same ones who’ve been saying that size doesn’t matter).
Next, you lower your standards. You want to buy a house in a new building? You mean, one that’s just been built? Is your last name Ambani? How about Tata? Birla? No? Then sorry, no new house for you. Just look at the resale listings, there’s a good chap.
Then, you open your mind to ‘potential’. Train your eyes to look beyond the peeling plaster, the patches of damp, the broken tiles and the fact that there’s an open sewer-line under your window. Fully understand the meaning of the phrase ‘fixer-upper’. And take as gospel truth the words of your broker when he says, “No compromise, then no house, madam.”
The last step is the trickiest of all. Take your self-esteem out on a platter. Hold it gently in your hand, thinking of all the times it’s been such a good friend to you. Then, in one swift move, flush it down the toilet. Because seriously, the poor thing will kill itself anyway, the next time a broker laughs at your budget.
In a nutshell, this is what Rook and I have been doing. And the result is… a not too shabby flat of our own. It’s in a land far, far away from our offices, Bandra (the hub of all things fun) and indeed, in some ways, civilization itself. Oasis of calm? Oh sure, once you’ve gone past all the slums and the big pile of garbage at the entrance of the building.
But I’m nitpicking. It’s not so bad.
So here’s to EMIs, to hours stuck in traffic, to ridiculous maid salaries and society maintenance charges. To the place where the heart is. And to growing the fuck up, whether you like it or not.