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>

Yes sir, we’re on our way. I’ve the instructions. Now what station was that again?

Rekha could hear some mumbling from the other end. Laxman’s brows went up.

Ya I got it; and rent an auto and ask for err…what was the name of that area?

Again some mumble… His brows arched further upward.

We’ll be there in another hour or so.

He cut the call.

Twenty minutes and ten stations later, Rekha couldn’t bear the silence.

Laxman, don’t mind me asking, but …how did we talk ourselves into this?” Rekha asked a bit cautiously.

Laxman didn’t take the question seriously. In fact he wasn’t so huffy nowadays. He quietly leaned back on the wooden seat and looked out of the window.

<Flashback: 5 months ago>

Think about it sir. It would be more beneficial than you can think of. In fact, rates have nearly tripled in the last two months…

Tell me about that‘ Laxman thought to himself.

He was comfortably seated in Vinodh uncle’s (brand new) office, at the heart of the city. The man seemed to have an air of opulence around him. The office design seemed to reflect that. Though dressed in typical Indian attire, projecting humility and simplicity (that were but mere words in the lexicon), his office was a show of luxury and pride. Sleek designed teak wood finish for the doors and cabinets; two wall mounted LCD screens at the reception area, that seemed to infinitely beam in the same advertisement (of his construction company); Marbonite flooring all over; centralized air conditioning system; a massaging chair for himself. This guy seemed to know the meaning of the word ‘Living’.

I can vouch my money on this, buying a land on the outskirts is the right stuff. Flat value does go up, but certainly not at the rate at which land value does!

His mobile rang; oh, did I miss mentioning about his PDA? He seemed to be getting at least one call per second and didn’t have the curtsy to cut any of them and attend to his, ahem, important client. In between the calls and his talk he used to tap a tune at his expensive cabinet. But it was amazing how he was able to get back at the same point he left at, without any problem, every single time!

…in the last two months. I advised the same thing to my friend. He’s now doing extremely well. He’s at the moment holidaying with his family in… What was the name of that island… yeah Hawaii” the man smiled, and continued to tap again.

Laxman listened to him like a bee being mesmerized by a flower, or rather a man getting sucked into quicksand! His opinion of investing for an apartment in the outskirts had already taken a beating the moment Vinodh had quoted for a two bedroom flat.

Being in the profession for quite some time now, Vinodh noted the change it bought around in Laxman’s face, in fact a two year old would have. He immediately gave an alternate of buying land in the outskirts which, he had convinced Laxman to believe, was a costly affair but still worth the risk.

I wouldn’t be saying this to you if you don’t happen to be my nephew’s good friend, now mine too.” He smiled. Boy could he talk fast!

Of course sir, do give me a couple of day’s time. I’ll discuss at home and…

I understand… But don’t take too long. Price is going up this minute; so think fast and INVEST soon” Vinodh smiled.

Laxman knew Vinodh was now trying to cut short the conversation. And why not, he had been sitting there for the past five minutes and hadn’t taken a “positive” decision yet!

Okay thanks” Laxman got up and left in a hurry.

That night the discussions at his home seemed to stretch on and on. But they couldn’t come to a conclusion.

Land? What if it gets occupied by goons? I heard such things are frequent in the outskirts, especially the area you’re mentioning!” his dad warned.

But we’re most likely to construct a house pretty quickly dad” Laxman persisted.

But a flat would be more secure…” Rekha grumbled.

Anything can happen anywhere Rekha” he countered her.

Why would you have to go so far from us? You’re doing it on purpose aren’t you?” his mom was in tears.

But we’ve already decided to move to a distant place, thanks to change in my office location” he muttered.

What? When did you decide this?” his mom seemed shocked.

Mom, relax! It’s just temporary. In fact we’ve seen a decent house for rent in the new locality. Of course rent is also okay.” Laxman didn’t want to argue much in support of his new ‘shelter’. After all who’d want to, for a dingy one bedroom flat that happens to be one of the last houses in the city and that too at 8K per month! Sheesh!

Again his mom buried her face in her hands.

It took him not just that night but an entire month to convince them of his brilliant idea.

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Author: Rajesh Narayanan

A small speck of dust in the ever expanding ether