It was my dad’s dream to own his own home – it was fulfilled inadequately when he inherited a small ancestral home that he never stayed in for long. It was a dream of a lifetime and in India, during pre-liberalization days, there was no retail finance industry at mass level to make it a reality.
Times were different for me – I bought my own flat of my preferred choice when I was less than 30 years old. It felt good and gave me a lot of satisfaction. A home means a lot to anyone – it is the final refuge that anchors ones life.
A popular paint brand was quick to cash in on the angst of the middle class about the desire to own a home and then furnish and furbish it to reflect one’s identity. It gave us evocative images that entered our sub-consciousness to make a deep impact. Lovely images of the pattering feet of kids moving around, kids playfully scribbling on the wall, kids finding their space and security – a great concept that caught our imagination.
Ever since I started to work and became financially independent, it was my first dream to own my home. I had been conditioned by years of ‘make-do’ that gave me a fierce determination to pursue this dream of mine. We had always stayed in a rented home – my dad’s job with the Central Government did not provide an income that could afford us many luxuries. And my dad was a prudent saver but never quite a savvy investor. He could not ensure that his investments beat the average inflation rate that ate into his savings.
My rental home was convenient in many ways but it had its peculiar problems. It was a very old building and its maintenance was below par. Years of wear and tear had a severe impact on its structure and the most difficult issue was it would leak during the rains. It took all kinds of tricks and maneuvers for us to survive the 4-5 months of monsoon every year. Our bitter experience stoked a deep-seated resentment in me and I wanted to ensure that we change this aspect about our lives.
It seems destiny that I was able to buy my own home and it provided me all that I wanted and could afford. Retail finance options helped me fund the investment. And I was lucky to find a place that suited my tastes. It was not quite in the heart of the city but still was well-connected through trains and bus routes. The railway station was visible from my bedroom window and I loved to watch the trains zipping by on a regular basis. The train movements even set our routines and we got used to the rhythms of the Indian railways.
The next thing that I really love about my home was the central garden, albeit a small one, that allows the community to interact and the kids to play in a safe environment. This was something that I had missed during my childhood as we had stayed in the heart of the city and our building just off the main road.
My home is close to the University and there is a nice stretch of couple of KMs alongside a small road that provided a refreshing access to the green environs. It is suitable for a quick walks during the morning or evening. It is secluded but safe, it is really far from the madding crowd as you would put it. It is a popular activity for many people including me to have a nice little stroll to enjoy the weather and the quiet environment.
We tend to forget our blessings – the best moment that I enjoyed at home was being by the window during the monsoons. The rains were bountiful and provide a rich backdrop to the setting. It was some thing that I could cherish and acknowledge. I have been away from my home for many years now as I keep chasing my corporate career across cities and countries.
Indeed rains is a rare phenomenon in my current city but it happened to rain tonight. And I watched it gently pour from the window of my living room, I was reminded of my home and a its memories. What more do you want right now – a hot cup of Tea, hot bhajis and Kishore Kumar’s lovely number, ‘Rim Jhim Gire Saavan, sulag sulag jaaye mann, bhige aaj iss mausam mein lagi kaisi yeh aggan …’