Living arrangement

Oh the ordeal!

10:46 AM

That’s how my Saturday felt like, and it’s probably plain clear that I’m talking about flat hunting since I already mentioned we were hunting, thanks to our not so tactful landlord.
Now when I was a new to India, that was exiting, it was new, it was different, it was good, even in Mumbai. Now several moves later it’s daunting, depressing, and brain racking considering not only we are tired with the process, but the prices went up and we have far more belongings to fit in the equation (not to mention more people and different standards to go with them).

So as stated, we are in the market for a 3BHK, simply because in Mumbai the space constraint is huge and the 2BHk we are in right now is one we lucked out on when it comes to space, it’s still 40k and starting to be far too costly for the mere 900sq ft of carpet area we have for the price.
A thorough search of prices trends indicated that we could get an extra bedroom for about the same rent price if not lower, but real estate websites and classified lie big time in India, and never ever think that the square feet mentioned on the page is the amount you’ll get in your flat. Brokers lift these numbers straight from the developer who hand them the “build up” area numbers, because when you buy a flat in India you pay for the carpet area surface as well as a portion of the lobby, common area and hallways, so for a flat that announce a glorious 1500 square feet, you are more likely to have living quarters of about 800.

Back to Saturday, we had an ad that was stated as posted by an owner for a flat in one building we liked, when we called he informed us it was in fact the building right next to it, and told us to meet at further down that road at a easily spottable landmark. There we met the guy who told us that the flat we were interested in was no longer for rent but that he had something else in a nearby building…yup he wasn't an owner as claimed, but a smart ass broker who found a way to rope in people who wanted to avoid their very service! Stuck with him we visit the said flat, in a gloomy complex, that I knew from the outside would not give us much to enjoy, the flat had a giant living room, 3 bedrooms so tiny no bed could fit in them, rickety wardrobes, and a kitchen with no cabinets, no utility space, and I swear the architect who designed the place must have realised at the last minute that he forgot the bathroom, he squeezed in two that are not even straight but in bizarre triangular zig zaggy shapes with odd angles. Guaranteed to make you feel claustrophobic even if you were not. Needless to say we passed on it, when we told him we were interested in another bigger more modern society, he told us he had no idea if there was anything there at all and would call us back later.
Which he did, announcing he had found 2 there but that the market was tight in the area and there wasn’t much at all. I found that super odd considering I found a lot on the website listings. Anyway by late afternoon we were there, we first visited one in the oldest of the tower, a ridiculously tiny kitchen greeted us, were no fridge would fit, a tiny hall, and 3 impossibly small bedroom and 2 bathrooms with door so narrow I wondered if I would fit through. No utility space, nothing and only one old super rickety metallic wardrobe…no thanks. The second one was within the same complex in a newly constructed tower on the 17th floor, the kitchen was decently sized, just had no space for a wider than average fridge, but it could fit in the hall, bedrooms were decently sized for Mumbai, but the bathrooms were again narrow and there was no utility space, the washing machine could not even pass through the narrow bathroom doors, but there was still some solutions to be found there, the deal breaker was that all windows were low easily climbable by a toddler and there was no grill or guard preventing a child to plummet to their death, we have a toddler that is hyper active, I kid you not I spend the whole day running after her, finding her escalating furniture and getting bruises on her legs from her antics, a flat where she could lean over the window frame with no safety measure into place is a giant fat big no no, and apparently the housing co-op allows no installation of safety grills on windows…pass, next please!
At this point the masquerading broker had nothing else to show us, but our own broker through which we found the flat we are staying in right now called saying he was on his way to meet us in that complex we were visiting, he immediately whipped up his brand new tablet to check which one were there and which one we saw, informed us that he had one more he could show us right away. It was the same floor plan as the first one with no bedroom space, no utility space and tiny all, so we gave it a thumb down. He then told us that without having to make calls he had two more in our budget in his list, both in the very enclave we live in but in two different societies as ours have no 3 BHKs. The first one was in an older building, clearly darker than the more modern ones, but rooms were big, it was semi-furnished, had a one big veranda like balcony, and the only issue would be that our big fridge would have to go in another room rather than in the kitchen (a common issue in India even with a regular sized fridge anyway), but it had a big utility area for the washing machine, 3 bathrooms and was priced at 36k!!!!! In a quiet area of the enclave too. We loved that one instantly, it might not be glossy, open and state of the heart but the place seem to have a soul and some potential. We had one more to see though, and it was in the newly not yet fully built society in the enclave, the highest priced too at 45k, that one was a joke, granted the rooms were big, the kitchen had zero cabinet, just the granite counter and sink, nothing under the counter, nothing above and the kitchen was tinier than in our current flat too, two bedrooms had windows giving like the living room straight down on the construction ground, meaning that day and night we would hear noise ranging from mild hammering and drilling to deafening jack hammering, and see the crane dangle cement containers inches from our windows from time to time, the 3rd room was tiny and window less! No wardrobes were installed, it was completely bare in the barest sense of the term…no thanks. By then it was 7.30pm, I was tired so was Ishi and we pretty much made up our mind about the older flat we saw, the only issue that stroke me was that to glide sideway through the door my fridge still needed some space, we agreed to visit it again the next day after I measuring the fridge at home, at first I measured 31 inches which could mean it could be tight in a normal door, but found out that the handles can be removed and that brings it down to 28 inches. I need to go back there today and measure the doors but it seems there is some hope, we also want to see the flat in natural light too since we visited it when it was already dark enough but it sounds like right now the only thing that could still stand in our way is a) the owner doesn’t want tenants with a dog and b) refuse to take out the two double beds we don’t need.

So the ordeal isn’t really over, but the idea of almost being done with it is a good one, and to be shifting about 800 meters away from my place in a cheaper bigger place without having to buy wardrobes and arrange for a school car pick up service in the middle of the year is worth having to give up having the fridge in the kitchen and  a bit less light through the windows seem like a super mild compromise for Mumbai, heck even the bathrooms there which are “wet rooms” can still get shower curtains and look better. So right now I am keeping my finger crossed that from the owner’s side all is well, and that we can get going and plan our move. 

10 comments

  1. Good luck. I hope you are able to settle into a place soon.

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  2. botham3:33 AM

    Just curious, why does not your family consider moving to switzerland or euro zone. Seems to me you all will be happier and have a easier life...is it because you cannot do it presently what with the horrible economy in europe ?

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  3. botham3:35 AM

    Also, how did you fall in love with your husband over the internet...I mean is it true that you considered to live with him before having ever met him.

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  4. Believe it or not to have the lifestyle we have here in India would require a crap load of money in Switzerland, things aren't what it seem back home.

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  5. Not that it is any of your business, but no that is not how it happened. No I never considered moving to India before meeting him. As for love...well I don't think I have to explain or justify anything about it, it strikes in differnt way for differnt people. Some think meeting your soul mate online is impossible, some do...whatever rocks your boat.

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  6. I'll blog about it later, but the place is ours, we will move around the 20th December because we don't want to give the illusion of freebies to our current a-hole of a landlord.

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  7. Dolly Dube12:21 PM

    All the best Cyn !
    Hope you have much more smoother transition this time.


    What will you do about your nice maid ? retain her or look for a new one ? Thats always a big worry for me .

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  8. That's the best part ;-)
    since the new place is about 10 minutes walk way from where we are now our maid can stay with us, I felt sad having to let her go because of our stupid landlord really, I'm glad we can continue with her, and so is she, she already announced that once we are clearer on the big moving day we should let her know so she can book her whole day for us and give us a hand, she was concerned that with my daughter being the crazy tornado she is we would loose our sanity...how sweet of her!

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  9. Dolly Dube2:10 PM

    I think thats lovely !
    Gods are listening to you....
    I somehow hate being tenants when the move happens. Its just so draining.
    But, winters are a nicer time to move then summers so I am glad you are going in good time.
    Really happy for you and your maid !

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  10. Oh yeas I am so glad this is all happening during the Winter, Summers in Mumbai are horrible I just can't see myself moving in such a heat. Both Moves I made to Mumbai were during the monsoon, not to pleasant either. And this time there won;t be nights spent in an empty flat on air mattresses like during the past few moves, we are going to wake up one morning in the old flat and sleep in the new one at the end of the day both time on our own bed...yay to that!

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