Real (E)State

A story whose prime purpose is to highlight the kind of a situation current middle-upper middle class are facing in India. This is just a presentation of “current” trend in Indian real estate market.

<Present Day>

So we’re going all the way in our car?” Rekha enquired.

Nope… We leave the car at the station, and catch a train from there.

Did you say train? You know I don’t like it traveling in crowd!

Relax Rekha. It’s a Saturday. See I’ve everything planned out” said Laxman in more of a self appreciative tone.

Hmm. Think about it, it wouldn’t be that expensive travelling by car. I mean it’s just around 50 KMS from the city.

Yes you heard it right! Not in the city. The plans of the city apartment had gone haywire six months ago!

<Flashback: 7 months ago>

This’ll be the last bank we call” Rekha told him rather sternly.

Sure” Laxman looked thoroughly beaten.

Dial please…

A couple of rings (and a few minutes of fumbling with an unimpressive IVR menu) later…

Hi, welcome to our home loan department. How can I assist you?

We’re looking for some details about your interest rates.” It was Rekha who did the talking now. Not that she was any good at it than Laxman, but seeing his state and shock she felt it would be wiser that she spoke rather than him.

Yes madam, I’ll do that for you. You are looking for first hand or second hand?

First hand…

That’s great. Is it a flat or bungalow or villa house or just ground?

Err… An apartm… I mean a flat.

That’s good. Now can you tell me if it is located in outskirts or a sub-prime area or in the city?

Huh? What is this for?

You’d be glad to know that we’ve a customized loan system for each type of house in different localities. In fact our bank is the only one that provides these kinds of offers. Please tell me whether it is…

In the city” Rekha cut him short.

Okay. Please let me know the loan amount you’re looking for.

Rekha looked at Laxman and he signaled for ten, perhaps wishing that god had given him more fingers!

Ten Lakhs” Rekha tried not to stammer.

That’s great to hear. Just a minute let me fetch the data for your options. Please wait…

What crap?‘ Laxman thought to himself. He was already sweating a lot.

Okay. The ROI would be around 11% floating, 14% fixed and your respective EMIs would come to around 18K – 21K for a 20 year loan, 22K – 25K for a 15 year loan and 26K – 30K for a 10 year one. We even have a customized package for NRIs. Of course all this data keeps changing from time to time. All this info is already listed in our website, which I’d give to you at the end of this call. So, which one would you like to go for? Hello, hello…

The line had gone blank.

Rekha, they’re demanding my entire salary!” screamed Laxman.

RELAX!” Rekha shouted back.

They sat in silence for 10 minutes. Laxman started dialing in his mobile.

Hello Shyam. Hey, how are you. Great, I am doing good thank you! You remember that apartment plan of mine? I recall you mentioning about a contact for getting one near the outskirts.

Rekha could hear faint laughter at the other end and she couldn’t resist noting the reaction it bought to her hubby’s face.

“...I know prices have gone up in these five months Shyam, I’ve been tracking everything… What was that price again? Hmm, yeah… fine. I guess we’re okay with it.” Laxman bit his lips.

Rekha could hear Shyam speaking something on the other end. Laxman’s face seemed to turn red instantly. The conversation lasted a couple of minutes.

Ya, I’ve got his number. Thanks a lot MATE!” And he cut the call (threw the phone down, would be more appropriate).

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Author: Rajesh Narayanan

A small speck of dust in the ever expanding ether