Living arrangement

Flat Hunting in India

11:40 AM

This could be the title of a book written for Expats planning to settle down in India. I mean it.

With all the shifts I did back and forth in the country, it was about time I took sometime to write something about it. And just maybe I'm writting it now because we are about to move again. Fortunately, this time it is just across the city, or rather move from our far suburb to a more central location.

DBF got a new job which will be in more a central location, and of course living in the suburb about 20 kilometers from his new office is not exactly practical...unless you want to waste all your free time commuting that is. To add to all this, we where also temporaly subrenting a flat and would have needed to shift sooner or later anyway. Which means, it is that time again: Wrap, Pack, Send
The problem with living downtown, is that it's costly, rents are high and flats often the size of a pigeon hole (a universal problem), We visited quite a few of those shoebox houses, mostly because our tight budget meant we would not be able to find a lot of good places. After one day of flat hunting I was wondering how such things where even allowed to be build in the first place. I kid you not, it was that bad.

First, we visited an appartment complex where there was a 1bhk (1 bedroom, hall, kitchen, get used to that abbreviation if you are flat hunting). We never saw where the hall and the kitchen were actually two different rooms, the kitchen was inside the hall which was tiny to beging with. The bedroom was so tiny our matress wouldn't even fit. There were two balconies which were facing the wall of the next building...talk about a nice view! Lovely, but ...No, no thanks.

Then, DBF went to do a lot of flat hunting on his own and saw many other horrors. However, one flat caught his eye and the next day he took me along to visit it again.
I loved it instantly. It was a 2bhk, with nice bedrooms (on the small side but still livable), a nice bathroom and a big, REALLY big kitchen. And as if that was already not enough to make the place likeable, the flat was located on the roof top of an idependent house. Which meant we would get some fresh air on what was a huge terrace that would be all ours. Meaning we could have parties outdoor. The cherry on the icing was that that it was centrally located and available at a steal price of 8K!
Crazyly enough, I wanted to see more flats before truely saying I loved this one. We visited an awful lot of those on that day, each reinforcing the love I had for the rooftop one with a huge terrace.

Those horrors we saw included a house right behind DBF's office in a roof top flat. But unlike that amazing one we saw, this one was totally unlivable again. Our matersses would not fit in the bedroom. The bathroom was almost non existant (and you had to walk through the kitchen to access it in the back). Even our fridge wouldn't find a space, leave alone the washing machine. In such cases, you give a diplomatic answer such as:  "we will call you in 2 days to let you know" and say goodbye.
Following that monstrosity, we visited a 2bhk which was big enough, but in a creepy area and totally out of our budget. Then off to a couple of houses we went.

Now would be a very good time to explain what house mean in Bangalore. You never rent the whole house, it just mean that the flat is inside a house owned by an individual rather than in a building built by a developper. You rent only one level of said house which means technically you are renting a flat. It is still called it house just the same.

Back to the flat hunt, these houses we saw were all seriously creepy. And,I'm not talking about just the area. I'm talking about the fact no air could possibly enter you home for only the front wall was exposed to the street. This come from the fact that people buy napkin sized plots in the city and build the bigest house possible on it. That result in the fact there is often no more than 2 feet betwenn each houses and that your bedroom window opens on the neighbour's wall. Why builing a window int he first place? Go figure.
Not only  does no air come in the bedroom,  you can also forget about natural light and will need to live the whole day long with the light switched on.
DBF even pointed it out to the broker and the guy announced proundly that there was 3 feet between the houses and that it was enough. He actually made 3 feet sound like it was a lot, which probably is in many places in Bangalore. I felt like he was desperate to rent this place and was ready to brag about anything. Who would want a place where all the walls are painted in that awful sky blue in the first place? And I mean walls and ceiling painted the same hue...all across the flat! That, of course, add more to the already gloomy gloominessthe place had. Half of the flats I saw that day where that kind of gloomy thing and the other half were roof tops too small to live in.

So, at the end of the day, I was convinced that the first one I saw was actually the one I loved and this is where we will move into this Saturday.

2 comments

  1. Cynthia,

    Love your blog so far and thought I would comment on it. Can't wait for entries. Thank you.

    ~Jessica

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  2. Anonymous11:41 PM

    hey, girl! good luck on your flat hunting. i hope you get the flat that you're eyeing. sounds so exciting!!!

    also, sorry i haven't been on the board lately. work has been so hectic - i feel like a wet rag by the end of the day! lol. i'll stop by in there and say "hi" to you all. take care and i'll chat with you later!
    tscheuss! limoncello :)

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