Friday, August 7, 2009

Settling in Mumbai

We all start out with exotic dreams, to be film stars, rock stars, sportsmen, super cops and lottery ticket winners, we want to live in that exotic island with blue beaches and bickini babes, It’s an exciting thought, until suddenly you realize (or someone wakes you up) you are reaching your 25th year and that you are none of the above and that given the choices you have made, your karma like every other person you know is… to Settle.

Yep. Settle in Life.

You suddenly see your colleagues talking about rates of the 1 bhk and 2 bhk. About home loan interests, and one of 'em even forwarded a “Home Loan Calculator” with the subject as ‘awesome link’. The link works like this, you type in how much loan you need and the calculator in turn says how much EMI you’ll need to pay the bank for next 20 years. Times of India splashes one page ads on ‘Never Before Recession Rates’, 1 square feet at 4999/- only. They call this the 2006 rate and people are excited. “All the money is in the real estate”, they declare triumphantly.

None of this excites me. It makes me uncomfortable.

Mumbai city is like a pyramid, with the tip of the pyramid being the South Mumbai. People from the larger bottom part of the pyramid (North Mumbai which lasts till almost Gujarat), move towards the elite south (famous for Gateway of India, Marine Drive and Kasav) as they get their promotions and dowries.

While the South Mumbai is the commercial hub (where the office is), the working class get their houses in Central/North Mumbai, travel for more than an hour to reach to the office. And the rates funda goes like this

Office to Home 30 min -> 1 bhk -> 50 lac+, 2 bhk -> 1 crore+

Office to Home 1 Hour -> 1 Bhk -> 30 Lac+, 2 bhk -> 50 lacs+

Office to Home 1.30 hour -> 1 Bhk -> 20 lac+, and hey 2 bhk costs 35 Lac+

Even house rentals are going to be in similar proportions, You get a 1 Bedroom flat for a rent of 20k if you are to travel half hour to your office.

Now most of the mumbaikars I know would marry and then buy the 2bhk at 35 lac, and travel 1.30 hours a day. They are excited about the additional bedroom for the next 20 years, and are least bothered about the additional half an hour up and down for the next 20 years.

Their life becomes the morning 8:05 train fast local and the returning evening 7:45 train Borivalli local. They discuss the train stories incessantly with you and its not hard to notice how much people talk of the train in their daily conversations. The Mumbaikar train friendship stories are legendary. People exchange breakfast and sweets. Invite one another to the functions and weddings. Its beautiful in a way. If you are ok with that kind of life that is.

Now lets do some calculation, 2 hours a day= 1 month a year

(meaning 2 hours/day = 60 hours/ month = 720 hours/year = 30 days/ year)

So simply put, our friendly colleague is going to spend 1 month of his year, just going and returning from the office. Gosh! Scary! And considering the 20 year loan period Almost 2 years in the 20 years goes in the train.

Lemme tell you this, I’ll never choose a life like that. Time is too precious. Too many things to do. Too many places to see.I don’t have the patience.

And heck why do we need to settle, a wise friend of mine once said “Only Dust Settles”. I’d much rather be a trailblazer, who never settled his base and who never travelled not more than 20 min to his work and never settle in the same city for more than 3 years!

And whats the obsession with the additional bedroom. My father is of the opinion that smaller the house, more closely knit its members. And I believe in that. A bedroom is more expensive than we think.

I think we have to blame our perceptions for this, we quantify happiness and qualify money.

Any Opinions?



Vinay Sekhar said...

nice post dude... like the train - time - years of life connect!

Ganesh Jeyaraman said...

hehe.. yeah... Do not settle down! I've always dreaded that feeling..;)

Alifya said...

Like the post Arun. Not settle down is not what a wise man would want.

NoMad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoMad said...

heyy kalakkara machan . nice posts . nice writings . explore and enjoy .
-sathish M

Farting Pen said...

Very, very insightful.

And at times I wonder, "When did the cheapest chat-joints stop being our utmost priority in life?"

I guess the fight is between the 'youth' (snigger, snort and giggle) who resides inside and the uncle that beckons.


P.S.: The verification word given to me by blogger is 'krouled'.

sudha said...

Hey syper post Arun. Smaller the house, closer kint is the family. nice thought :)

lavanya said...

well say you are ok with one bedroom eh? so if i visit your place..will you give me yur bedroom?;)
esp when you leading a married life???? hahahaha

Mumbai is an awesome city--it teaches you a lot!...enjoy the life and enjoy seeing people enjoy their train journeys!!! its a way of life!!!

Poornima said...

Change the background colour pls!!

Arun said...

hey lav, u r always welcome to my 1 bhk, i will lock u up in the bathroom and flush the key...

rombey arivalli nu neneppo?

archith said...

nice insight dude. get outta there :)