Monday, July 24, 2006

Hello Bangalore

Act 1, Scene 1
Me: I was calling to inquire about the 3 BHK house in Koramangala......
Voice on the other side(VOTOS): Are you Bachelors?
Me: Ya , 4 of us
VOTOS: .....
Me: OK sorry for bothering you..
Act 1, Scene 2
Me: I was calling to inquire about the 3 BHK house in Levelle Road....
VOTOS: OK...the rent is 25 K with 10 month deposit
Me: Ah.. that's a bit high for our budget...Thanks anyway..
Act 1, Scene 3
Agent: Aap phele house dekhega to immediate lega ....bahut achcha .. independent duplex house... 2 Kms from MG Road...
The house turns out to be around 6 Kms from MG Road.

I have always wanted my life to be eventful. To have experiences which can be remembered forever. A month into Bangalore, that wish has been pretty well taken care of by the powers that be. Office has been pretty normal so as to say with the usual process of induction, training, getting to meet new people and doing other routine jobs. It's the weekends and the time spent commuting between office and home that has been the flavour of the month.

Imagine two fresh engineering graduates with a decent paying job and families to support them financially, roaming in MG Road (if you have been to Bangalore you would know what it is) with a total amount of Rs 40 in their pockets, unsure of where to sleep at night. On top of that one of them had lost his wallet a couple of days ago so has no debit/credit card and the other has the good old SBI ATM card, a memento from the student days gone by, which, true to its character acquired over 5 years, boasts of a princely amount of Rs 43. It's as pathetic and hilarious as it can get, both at the same time. Yes, this was my friend and me. That we managed to call up our friend and had the most expensive dinner in Bangalore till date is another story.

Commuting in Bangalore at peak office hours can be a frustrating and humiliating experience and to add to that when you don't have you own home and are staying at your friend's friend's (yeah that's not a typo!) house for well over a fortnight, which is about an hour's bus/cab/auto drive from your office, things tend to get a bit edgy. As a result, simple things like arriving home in 20 minutes instead of the 45 or so, dishing out only Rs 20 instead of the usual 36 brings immense pleasure and satisfaction.

And yet amongst all these seemingly frustrating and unnerving experiences there's always that dinner with friends at an open air restaurant designed like a beach with sand and the sound of the surf with one Raja playing "ajeeb daastan hai ye..." on his mouth organ and guitar (yes both at the same time !) and then singing "Wonderful Tonight" which makes you realise what a fine balance this life actually is.

"A Time To Make Friends"..said the huge banners in Germany and even here in Bangalore new acquaintances were being made both in the office and the at places I stayed in, some of which soon turned to friendships.

But all these incidents take a backseat when it comes to the real adventure. One which has been going on for the last three weekends and at times splilling over to weekdays too....House Hunting.

3 BHK, close to MG Road, close to Bannerghatta Road, good house, good locality (you know what I mean by good locality !), within our budget, splitting of the 10 month deposit into two parts and no landlord interference. The list of parameters to be satisfied was long and so was the search for the perfect house. Project "Bangla Mile Nyara" started with two people and moved from strength to strength as more members joined in the search. There were close to a score of houses seen, in heat and dust, in rain and wind, some at places where you can't differentiate between the road and the two drains on either side of it when it pours, travelling by bike, car, foot and mostly by auto rickshaws, getting so fed up of paying Rs 12 (the minimum fare) to the auto driver (some of whom swear by the name of Baba........ Rajnikanth to the the average Indian!) that you almost wished for a Rs 12 currency note to be introduced by RBI for this very purpose, standing at crossroads like vagabonds with the Eicher Bangalore map, pen, cell phone, Ad Mag and Free Ads spread around, alternately looking at the newspaper and the map to ascertain the location of the house, ringing up agents and landlords repeating the same starting sentences, circling up entries in the paper and then crossing them out as house after house falied to pass our stringent requirements; Project "Bangla Mile Nyara" was living up to its hype.

There's a lot more to write about, a lot more to think but for now let's leave it at that.

Act 2, Scene 1
Us: So can the deposit be split into 2 equal halves.....
Landlord: hmm.. OK that won't be a problem....
Me (to agent): Can we pay the commission after we get our salary
Agent: OK... boss theek hai..

Meanwhile somebody calls up from above: Yaar terrace mast hai .. dekh jaa aa ke....

Us (to Landlord): So we will come tomorrow to sign the documents...

Hello Bangalore................


zubin said...

Congrats on finally getting a house. Yeah its a pain finding one in B'Lore..And brilliantly written, and was it Pushan btw who treated you to the most expensive dinner ever. And well, was it Akshat who lost his wallet. Hope alls well now.

atish said...

Zubin, your first guess was bang on but the poor guy who lost his wallet was yours truly... and yeah all's well now except that I still dont have any debit card, still surviving on my dad's money, broke my watch strap and have no work to do :D... life's good..