Not many would be aware that we were scouting around for a house for a little over a year now.Finding a house and then buying it has a different meaning in Mumbai. People end up devoting as much time to the whole process as they would to their professional life.
With real estate prices being as they are currently (which is somewhere so high up there that it cannot be seen with the naked eye), one has to compromise somewhere or the other. We wanted a house close by to where we stay now so we could be within 10 minutes driving distance of both S's and my parents; we also wanted it to be a "good" flat - a 2 BHKin a nice apartment society; and the most important condition - one that we could afford.
Having to meet so many conditions took its toll and however many brokers we contacted, we weren't successful for almost a year. Then we decided to give it a break - "jab hona hoga to apne aap hoga". One Sunday in November, the broker called us to say he had a couple of flats to show us and would we be interested. My f-i-l and me went over to the broker's but from past experience we knew not to expect much. It turned that one of the two were already sold out so was out of the picture.
So we proceeded to see the other one - this was about a 5-6 minutes drive from my place. A 11 year old apartment building - at first glance it seemed very well mantained (it turned out to be that way even later on!). The house we were looking at was on the 1st floor and the current tenant was still living there. As soon as we entered the house, I was hooked - the reason for this was that as soon as one steps into the house, one has to climb down 4 steps and then get into the living room. Such a beautiful quirk is not something that one often sees in Mumbai and I loved it! It turned out that the rest of the house too was pretty much what we'd like - not to add the fact that the ceiling of the house was a good 12 feet high (normal height prevalent in Mumbai flats are not more than 9 to 9.5 feet)! We expressed an interest to take this further and returned with the rest of the family (S's and mine) in the evening and viola, all of us liked the place!
An on-the-spot offer was made, a few negotiations carried out and the deal was closed. Yes, it was that quick when it actually happened. Finally, after wading through the whole process of procuring a home loan, paying the Stamp Duty and Registration and getting possession of the flat from the old owner, we were able to step into the house on March 30th 2007 and say "This is ours now!". Since we do not need to immediately move out of my parent's home, we plan to give the new place out on rent for a year or so - so we are keeping the "doing up the place like we want to" part on hold for the moment. Whispers, "We also need to save up to do that anyway." We had the house painted and cleaned, got the electric points checked and refurbished and are now looking out for a family to rent the place to.
In the meantime, we had a grah pravesh puja done on the Apr 23rd. We started the puja at around 8:30 am in the morning and it went on till about 12:30 pm. All of S's and my immediate family were there. The havan certainly generated enough smoke and drove all the guests out of the house for a while. :) But at the same time, the smoke gave the hint of all that had gone into making that havan - sandalwood sticks, ghee, rice grains and a lot of other things. Must say that it smelled great. Along with the smoke, I also got the feeling of all "vighnas" moving out of the place. For some reason, I was feeling really emotional and mixed along with it somewhere there was a sense of fulfillment. Being surrounded by all my loved ones, being in a place which could well be my home for years in the future, knowing it was finally ours, seeing the happy look on our parents faces made the whole experience one of a kind.
Obviously, this was followed up with a sumptuous lunch served on banana leaves. Eating on a banana leaf always makes me more hungry and I did ample justice to all the food that was served. We spent the rest of the day there and people kept pouring in right uptil night. S and I were supposed to spend that night there and the rest of the family slowly petered back towards home leaving just S, her sister, my brother, a friend V and me there. We played Pictionary for some time and then my s-i-l, my brother and V too left.
S and me stretched out on the mattress and finally the exhaustion of the day did catch up though even that had a pleasurable sensation to it. So here we are now, with all the ideas as to how we will do up the house when we get round to it and loving the idea that we now own a new house!