It’s been a really long hiatus from blogging this time. As clichéd as it may sound, I have been ultra busy with something, and that something is very predictably going to be the topic of this post.
The husband and I have started our house hunting yet again for the third time in the last four years. Now don’t give me that look. We are not into house hoarding. We bought a couple of houses in the past, which we had to sell due to totally different reasons. So this time around, I am keeping my fingers crossed, hoping this purchase will last longer than the earlier ones. Long enough for the walls to bear the stubborn pencil marks tracing the height of the growing child. Long enough for the rooms to be weighed down with the echoes of laughter and joy, of love and hope, of arguments and anguish. Basically, long enough for the house to become a home.
House-hunting, I feel, is akin to spouse-hunting in a number of ways. You feel the vibes, positive or negative, within the first ten seconds. You start fantasising. You start comparing the current one with the ones seen till then. You become anxious if you very badly want it. You become touchy if nothing works out for a long time. You wait with bated breath for the right one to come riding one fine morning. Just like that. Unannounced, sweeping you off your feet.
Though I never had the fortune (or misfortune) of checking out multiple grooms before settling on Mr Right, the house hunting left me with much more on my hands than I could handle. Further, the tiring and stressful process of house hunting with a toddler in tow was made infinitely amusing, intriguing and frustrating, all at the same time, by the broker fraternity. They are, no doubt, an interesting lot. I understood certain tenets about the broker community. Their’s is a tough life in a highly competitive, disorganized sector, where transparency and work ethics are extremely rare. The brokers struggle to swim their way through turbulent waters, the bigger sharks gobbling up the smaller ninnies along the journey. As a result, many of them resort to umpteen tricks of trade to keep their hearths running warm.
Some excerpts of our routine albeit amusing conversation with brokers:
We were ushered into a seedy looking house with chrome lights and all, filled with empty beer bottles in every possible nook. The floor was strewn with cigarette stubs. So as not to appear extremely rude, we gave the place a cursory glance before hurriedly stepping out.
Broker (very smugly): Kaisa laga sir?
Hubby: Arre ghar dikhao, bar nahi
Broker: Saab yeh sab to common hai na. Bachelars toh gande hi rehte hai. Ye to phir bhi thik hai. Last week group of working girls key aha party leke gaya. Shorts me ek ladki ne cigarette ke saath door khola. Jain party toh udhar se hi laut gaya! Aaj kal ki ladkiyan tej hai na!!
Me: Gym hai?
Broker: Pata lagatu hu
Hubby: Kabhi bataoge?
Broker: Ek do din me
Hubby and me: Huh???
Broker: Maam, yeh dekho. Proper 3 BHK hai.
Me: Proper matlab?
Broker: Arey madam, yaane ki accha 3bhk hai.
Me: Oh. Okay…Par yeh toh top floor hai. Aapne bola nahi mujhe phone pe!
Broker: Higher floor bola tha na madam…
Me: Uhmm…Higher floor…
Hubby: Arey kya mast flat hai.
Me: Wait, pehle compass nikalo (experience had taught me that the best flats were invariably south facing)
Hubby: Kya yaar, yeh bhi south facing hai!!
Broker: Par aapne bataya nahi vaastu compliant chahiye.
Hubby: Hmmm. Toh suno hamare requirements:
Vaastu, feng shui or jo bhi sab hai uske saath compliant hona chahiye
Bada balcony chahiye. Madam ko papad sukhana hai (winks at me)
Top floor or ground floor nahi chahiye.
Shaam ko 630 baje tak ghar me light aana chahiye
Aajoo Bajoo me kahi bhi road nahi hona chahiye
Khidkiyon se greenery dikhna chahiye
Aur haan, hamare budget me fit hona chahiye. Bas. Hubby turns to me, ‘Anything else’?
Me: (Now a bit unsure of the way the conversation was progressing) Hmmm…Balcony se sun aur moon dikhe to accha hoga…
Broker: (Visibly frustrated). Saab, main line up karke call karta hu.
Obviously, he never called back.
Me: Yeh ghar nahi jamega. Hame bada balcony chahiye.
Broker: But maam, log to aajkal chhota balcony maangte hai. Dengue bahut hai na.
Some of the other amusing events included the fact that the door of a house was wide open when we went to see it. Apparently some broker in a tearing hurry who had shown the flat before us had forgotten to lock it (!). We also got a lot of leads from quasi-brokers, typically housewives who leveraged contacts at kitty parties and bhajan mandlis to generate that ‘little but not-so-little’ side income.
Okay, for the record, we have, till date, seen only about 46 houses. If ever there is an award for accomplishing this with a very hyper toddler, you now know whom to nominate.
Seeing my crestfallen face, my resourceful maid who is socially very active mentioned that a house is available in our own society. ‘Didi main kal flat number laati hu, tension nako…’.
Hmmm…Tomorrow the 47th house then!!! Woohoooo