Thursday, June 23, 2011

Maple Heights (contd/concld)

So... after office today, I made my second trip to Maple Heights to look at another apartment. As we shook hands, Agent Vinod offered me some cold water before taking me over to the apartment complex on his bike.

Agent V: Sir aap cheque se payment karenge kya?

Author: Kya farak padta. Cash, netbanking, sab chalega bhaiyya magar ghar toh dikha do pehle. Chahiye toh paise briefcase mein dal kar de du?

He laughed as waited for the lift. A sullen looking thug who I presumed was the owner's agent joined us. 7-8-9-10-11. The lift opened and there it was. A fancy door and the owner beaming. I motioned to take off my shoes but he waved me off. My agent showed me the interior and I nodded with approval at the modular kitchen, drawing room split AC, the home theatre and sofa set(not leather) blessing my luck at getting all this for INR 26000 a month.

Author: So ye saara furnishing aise hi rahega?

Bald Owner Uncle: Not really. Jitne bhi movable items hain, we'll take them. Except the geysers and woodwork.

Curse my luck I thought... the damn agent was essentially showing me an unfurnished house and at 26k it wasn't cheap at all. All the waiting at the metro queue, rickshaw bargaining couldn't be allowed to go to waste I decided. I casually struck up a conversation and told the owner I was actually looking for a furnished apartment.

Author: I work with RPG and my friend works in Deloitte. We were planning to take this house together.

Surprised look at wife who glares at her mother who glares at the husband who glares at me.

Bald Owner Uncle (smiles after a pregnant pause): Ok.. That's nice. But in that case, isn't it easier for you to buy new furniture? I'm sure in time, she might want you to buy different utensils, appliances.

I was slightly confused at his multiple misunderstandings. Firstly, my friend was a male bachelor and I was not planning a live-in as the owner seemed to assume. Secondly, it's clearly more tedious to get ACs and TVs installed. That's precisely why I wanted a furnished place! So I made my point.

Author (with a strong look at Agent Vinod): Actually, I was given to understand the house would be furnished.

Bald Owner Uncle: Thik hai... no problem. Whatever you want (looks at his wife) except the beds and puja mandir, sentimental value hai thoda, you understand, we'll leave behind. Aap ek list banao and we can discuss it. Bas payment mein adjustment kar lenge.

Owner's Wife: Ek single bed chod sakte hain. (looks at husband) AC bhi extra hoga hai na. We can leave that also for you.

Author (relieved at the flexibility and finally relaxing): Ok. Thik hai... I can do that.

Arthritic Mother: Aapko market bhi close padega and there are double parking slots in the basement.

I inspected the balcony and smiled. The view was just perfect for vodka and caviar.

Bald Owner Uncle: Actually she just moved to Gurgaon (indicating his mother) and as you can see, the living space is limited for three of us. So, we are planning to buy a 3BHK in Princeton and sell this one at 74-75.

Hmm... now what's this about? That's not good news, I thought. Questions started racing through my mind. When exactly was he planning to do this? If he sold the place, would I need to get another rental lease agreement with the new owner? How do I ensure the new owner does not evacuate me? Would I need to renegotiate the rent again? Damn!

As you know, I avoid any and all legal & governmental issues. It seemed too complicated a situation for me to enter as a third party even as a tenant. As my expressions began to cloud, the wife started pouring me some water.
Meanwhile, Agent Vinod nudged me and gently took me aside to the thug who was glowing brightly in a corner.

Agent Vinod: 75 lakhs mein toh sir, bahut hi badhiya investment hoga.

As the agents slowly painted glowing tributes about the security, raising a family in this area, proximity to vegetable market, it began to dawn on me. The cash-cheque remark, the furniture, the odd glances. Goddammit. I was in the process of BUYING the freakin apartment.

I quickly gulped down the water.

Author: Ok... Mujhe sirf layout dekhna tha. Mere friend se consult karke hi decision le sakta hun. (more smiles from owner). I will definitely get in touch with you or Vinod here. Thanks for showing me the place.

5-4-3-2-1. The bumpy rickshaw ride could not go in vain. I turned to Agent Vinod. The thug had left us alone.

Author: Accha bhaiyya. Complex toh bahut hi shaandar hai. Rent pe mil sakta hain kya yahan

Agent Vinod: Bilkul badhiya rent milega sir yahan. Is ghar pe aapko aaram se 28000 tak mil jayega

With that, I took his leave and decided to never look at Maple Heights again.

EDIT (28 June 2011): Just thought I'd let my dearest readers know that after 2 weeks of scouting around in Gurgaon, looking at 4 different houses, 1 of which I almost bought, I finalized the very 1st house I saw in Gurgaon. The deal has been sealed in the presence of the owner, his finicky grandmother, 5 agents and black labrador named Ranger. Moving in on 10th July 2011.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maple Heights

After a month long siesta under the sun at KKD, a week long boot camp in the rains at Mumbai/Kolad, I returned to Gurgaon to restart Corporate Life v2.0. All I had to do was to find a house and settle down in the city of the 1000 malls. And what a gloriously uncongested city too. Unitech World, Vatika City, DLF Towers, Princeton Estate, Ardee City, I felt spoilt for choice. Wouldn't you? I visualized a house on the 8th floor of a skyscraper, plush interior woodwork, leather sofa, Jaquar bathtub, flatscreen TV rigged to a Playstation, central AC, armchair, vodka and caviar on a balcony overlooking the common swimming pool with interruption only by the intercom which security uses to announce the arrival of friends. Of course, all within walk-able distance from a metro station. After all, I needed to get to work everyday didn't I? Anyway, an exhaustive search on,,, yielded close to 2000 agent contacts. Pooh and bah. Now I'd play these poor chaps against each other and get the cheapest rent, I thought. But you're right. This is how every good story begins.

For a well networked student in a centrally located MDI campus, a wide selection of bikes makes Gurgaon all of 40 minutes in radius. But CorpLife v2.0 revealed the 5 km gaps between buildings and suddenly disappearing public transport that extended the Gurgaon radius to well over 2 hours. While I belittled the congested closed spaces in Mumbai, the uncongested open spaces of Gurgaon belittled me. Anyway, the very first agent took me to an apartment in Maple Heights and it wasn't bad. But it was nowhere near the vodka-caviar dream. So I put him on hold.

The next day at office, I spent the whole afternoon calling various Gargs and Sharmas. The fog of vagueness mentioned earlier lifted and from within, very reluctantly, appeared my "bachelors ke liye fully furnished 2BHK with 100% power backup aur rent INR20-25000 ke range mein". But there were no takers! Or givers rather. The Gargs said I should look at the INR30000 range. The Sharmas felt I needed more space and should look for a 3BHK. The Kumars declared that if I found a wife by Friday, they'd find me a house by Sunday. And the Agrawals exclusively dealt with people for whom power backup was simply snobbishness.

I quickly realized that in Gurgaon, all roads lead to Maple Heights. But I have not given up. This is not how the story ends. The search continues....