Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mumbai, ahoy! - Addendum

Have finalized the flat at Bhandup. However, no celebrations until we actually move into the flat! But what I can do is narrate two particularly funny encounters that I had in course of my khoj:

Episode 1#
Aunty welcomes me into her flat with a gleeful smile. The broker (who is incidentally a lady herself) looks very puzzled at the warm reception I am getting. Aunty quickly tells me that she will be moving to Kerala and hence wants to give out her fully-furnished 2BHK on rent to someone nice and scholarly. It turns out that she was a teacher and she loves good students. I am all smiles.

Aunty: Beta, you are an engineer?
Me: No Aunty, I am a commerce grad
Aunty: (slightly upset) Oh...
Me: (quickly adding) I did my MBA - from IIM Bangalore (close-up smile)
Aunty: (eyes light-up) Good. But you look so young to have done your post-grad. So beta why do you need a 2BHK?
Me: Aunty, my family will be moving to Bombay....
Aunty: Oh, your mom and dad?
Me: My wife, Aunty
Aunty: (suddenly jumps on the sofa) Oh my my! You are married. You look so young!
I look down at the floor and give a slight smile (in a sharmila bhartiya purush sort of way)
Aunty: So beta, how many kids do you have?

Episode 2#
The owner is a nice, slightly overweight but good-looking guy. He introduces me to his wife and shows me the flat. Then suddenly he asks.... "You will be staying with your family, right?"
"Yes, with my wife" I reply
"Oh" he heaves a sigh of relief!
"Why?" I ask
"Actually, bachelors are not allowed in the society!"
"Why is that so?"
"Because they are such a nuisance!"
Though I am no longer a bachelor, I take particular offence at that (having stayed with a bunch of guys for almost 2 years in Bombay now! If all societies thought like this!)
"Like?" I ask
"They play loud music, they get their friends over, they booze! They are an overall nuisance. We earlier had bachelors staying in many flats. I have personally complained against them many times. Now, we have banned owners from renting flat to bachelors!" Smug smile.
I decide not to push it further Like it matters to me now :)
"I will be giving the flat on rent for only 12 months. Because I come back to Mumbai in a year."
I look at him with surprise.
"Actually I am going to IIM Calcutta for a one year executive MBA" Smug smile 2
"Great". I give a wicked smile (while mentally picturing him running from the loud music-playing, boozing and philandering junta at IIM)


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mumbai, ahoy!

Househunting... and the Mumbai rains!

After a self-imposed exile from the blogosphere for almost 2 years, what could have possibly motivated me to return...

Life in this godforsaken city had always been exciting - I could have written about my travails of commuting by local trains (that sure deserves an entry of its own!), could have written about how my job sucks, about how I switched my job and the second job also sucks, could have written about the end of the glorious era of my bachelorhood, about 'Wanted', about how I discovered the marvels of Playstation, about Rakhi Sawant, about the online-CAT fiasco.....

But I did not, any more, have the patience for blogging. Reading and writing were the only two (good) hobbies I had had. And both were snatched away from me. Don't know why, when, by who.

But today when I visited my blog (by random chance), I saw that this post of mine has been lying incomplete for ages! And, by now, I can write a book on this topic :P .... so, fasten your seat-belts, here we go:

Episode 1#

Broker looks like the south-Indian sidey of some B-grade Bollywood flick's villain. Turns out he is actually a Bong. He will charge one month's rent as brokerage. Both of us (with less than a month of cumulative work-ex) protest that it is din-dahade dakaiti, but give-in to his demands. We say to our hearts 'All izz well' and embark on the househunting journey.
Fast forward a couple of weeks - Found a house, Ankit used his negotiating skills over the phone (in person, his size would give all away!) to get us what we thought was a good deal. We paid the Broker half his commission (balance to be paid on the day of registration). Owner is in Calcutta but is nice enough to let us move into the house before the agreement is signed. We give the sidey the cheques for deposit and rent and we enter the unfurnished 2 BHK, on the top floor of a seven-storied building.
Day One: Sunday, we goto Big Bazaar and do max-level shopping. Ankit orders his furniture, we buy mattresses, grocery, utensils, what not. Otherwise, the day passes without event.
Day Two: Monday - all the Gods simultaneously take a leak and Mumbai is semi-flooded. We return from work to find our flat flooded as well. Turns out the roof leaks majorly - distraught and on the verge of tears, we call the broker. He feigns ignorance. We call the owner - he is like, 'didn't the broker tell you, there is minor leakage problem the society has been trying to fix for the past two years? You just have to adjust during the monsoons' . We cry foul and want our money back.
Broker - Actually Sirs, you have to pay me the rest of my brokerage. I can't help if you don't like the place now.
Owner - I have lost your cheque in any case. You can put a stop-payment on that cheque if you want, but I want additional one month's rent.
Ankit uses his charm over phone once again. We finally get away with minimal damage, monetary as well as mental.

(and everyone we speak to says, 'You shouldn't have taken a top-floor at all! You should know this in Mumbai - you could have asked me for advice!')

Episode 2#

We find another place and have to shift before the weekend - so that we don't have to pay the owner extra one month's rent. Only option is to move our stuff after office-hours. We book a tempo, return home from office in torrential rain and wade through knee-deep water to reach our building. The tempo guy refuses to come in such heavy rains. Now, it's a choice between some desperate last-minute jugaad and shelling out extra 21K. We choose the former and with umbrella et al, start scouting the locality for some tempo-wala who will help us out. We finally find a young boy who agrees to drive us (at exorbitant cost, of course) but he refuses to assist in getting the luggage loaded/unloaded.
The picture of that night, when the world around us seemed to be dissolving, and we were busy carrying our stuff from the 7th floor down to the garage, will be etched in my memory forever. And not only because of Ankit's decision to drive the tempo. Thankfully he handed over the steering wheel to the driver after nearly causing an accident (while we were still in the garage).
Stay in the second house was uneventful for the next one year, except for the time when I had to single-handedly fight (verbally, how else!) with a crowd of 300 angry Marathis because my Bihari servant was charged with eve-teasing a Class VI school-girl. But that is for another time.

Episode 3#

One year has elapsed. We have to find a new house. Ankit is hell-bent on taking a place in Wadala (which seems to have an aspirational value for all IIM-grads). Dosti Acres and the nearby shanties get a premium becuase all IIM junta stays there. The facts that it is absolutely unreachable by public conveyance and that travel cost is raised substantially do not seem to matter to the wannabe Investment Bankers. I finally manage to convince him against the very idea.
We finally take a 3 BHK in Kohinoor City itself. We get the local guys to move our stuff - and the day we are supposed to shift, the skies open up again! Not much of love-lost between me and God, since we were only moving to the next building.

Episode 4#

I get married and so have to find a place of my own. Being a SINK family (as opposed to DINK), this was anyways gonna be a mighty task. Finding a good house in a good locality at affordable rent! I did find one such place and promptly closed the deal with the owner - a Bengali software engineer who had gotten transferred to Ireland and hence was giving his place on rent. Then one week before my wife is supposed to join me in Bombay, he gives me a call:
Makanmalik: Jogesh, I have shocker of a news!
Yogesh: Erm?
Makanmalik: I have just been informed my Ireland project is canceled!
Yogesh: Erm?
Makanmalik: We have done the agreement and all (where I had slimy-ly put in 6month lock-in period), but that is all fine, right? Thanks for the cooperation. Happy House-hunting!

If you haven't guessed, I am still house-hunting after recovering from the above shocker of a shock! And, hence, couldn't resist venting out my frustration when I saw this topic in an incomplete status :)
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