i really wish beautiful homes conjured out of nowhere like they do in our good old world of Bollywood a la Dostana, Wake up Sid and several other movies. Even new-to-city strugglers live in certainly trendy and well-furnished homes. But alas the reality of making a beautiful home starts with sweat and grime. With visits to numerous sites and talks with builders. You could be in for an adventure if you happen to be a woman doing it for the first time all by yourself in a big city like Mumbai. Thankfully, Mumbai is a city with certainly a better attitude to a woman going around exploring unbuilt homes, so they don't ogle at you and understand that even though you are making the enquiries alone, there must be a husband somewhere in the wings. Right!
My quest for my dream home began one hot afternoon (didn't have a choice about the time of day) when i set out almost looking like an apparition having covered myself with scarves etc to protect myself from the blazing heat. I had a sheet of paper with names of builders and projects, phone numbers to most and almost complete addresses. Finding the first site wasn't very difficult as the helpful rickshaw guy hit bang on target. There was a convincing sales guy there who did his best to convince me how high-class my lifestyle would be if i chose to live in their tower, even though it wouldn't complete before 2011. Not a very happy thing. The next site had a so called sample flat ready but with a lot finishing yet to be done. How does one imagine one's bedroom with sand and gravel all around the place!! Well, the guy led me to look at the bedrooms. He pointed at one of them and said "Master Bedroom with attached toilet". My instant reaction was to yell "Are you kidding me?? But....through colossal efforts i managed to mask my mixed feelings of shock and disappointment. I didn't even have to move my neck to survey the the room from one wall to the other. And the "attached toilet" was nothing more than a tiny cubicle with a shower, commode and wash basin cramped next to each other. No good news here too!
I moved on to the so-called premier properties by well-known builders. The construction was certainly better but here too there was nothing masterly about the master bedrooms with equal chances of you hitting the corners of the bed. A little free movement in the bathroom could teach the body part that attempted it with a painful lesson to remember!
My journey of house hunting is far from over, but i did learn a few precious things from my mistakes.
1. Ensure that you leave home with the name of the builder and the project you are looking for along with the phone number.
2. If you are not sure of the location, call up the number and find out. Do not assume that you'll find it since even famous constructions lead an anonymous life in the eyes of localites.
3. Ask for the plot number, street number and landmarks if any. Finding houses in the making can be quite a task.
4. Make a checklist of things you'd like to look for in the sample flat (like whether there's separate space for washing machine, sufficient number of plug points) and points you'd like to ask the builder (like car park charges, availability of corner flats etc)
But this is just the beginning. The journey continues.