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Bangalore house envy

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I experienced a serious case of ‘house envy’ in Bangalore. I had the pleasure of being invited in my one night to two homes plus the guest house and… I gotta admit… the spaciousness compared to our cramped – I mean cosy – flat in Mumbai is extreme. The bathroom alone in the cheerful guest house is bigger than our guest bedroom!

Living room

Guest house living room

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suddenly going to up and move to Bangalore and I love our place, however it did prompt thoughts in choices we make in life and the circumstances we adjust to in living arrangements.

 O Canada part 1 – Fort Richmond, Winnipeg

Growing up in suburban Winnipeg, our home would be considered a mansion by Mumbai standards. Not just the size of the 2 story home with a fully furnished basement but also the front and backyards where my parents indulge in their avid organic gardening pastime.

View from backyard of parents house

View from backyard of parents house (2013)

O Canada part 2 – Osborne Village, Winnipeg

Rather than an apartment, rented the top 2 stories of large home that was well over 120 years old. It was a piece of history that had all sorts of associated problems with age including slanted floors (could put a marble on the floor of the kitchen and it would roll to the opposite corner), yet was full of charm and character. It was on a lovely wooded street that was minutes from the heart of a vibrant part of Winnipeg. A short walk on a bridge over the river and I’d be in office. The balcony could double up as a 3rd bedroom in summers and many a lively evening gathering occurred in this home.

Rent? $400… Even considered buying at $100,000 for 2 connected homes, 4 units however by then the decision was made to return to India…

Home made sushi... Osborne Village, Winnipeg (late 90s)

Home made sushi… Osborne Village, Winnipeg (late 90s)

India part 1 – Delhi

In India, Delhi housing is far more affordable and spacious than Mumbai. There had a 3 1/2 bedroom home with a wrap-around balcony, two terraces and an entire roof on which concerts were hosted from time to time. (Alas no pics as my hard-drive with photos “died” and this was pre-Facebook days for me!)

Rent? Approx $400 (as converted then)

India part 2 – Kalina, Mumbai

My first apartment in Mumbai was approx. 1200 square feet with an open kitchen off the living room, two sizable bedrooms and two bathrooms – known as a 2BHK (2 bedroom, hall, kitchen). While there were no balconies, the window sills were large enough to be able to step out and as it was across from a park there was ample parking – a very helpful luxury!

Rent? Started off with a 3 year lease that was expensive at the beginning and a deal by the end. When I renewed the lease, the rent doubled!

One of MANY gatherings in Kalina

One of MANY gatherings in Kalina (2010)

India part 3 – Bandra, Mumbai

Compact 800 square feet home with an open kitchen/living room space, 2 small bedrooms with tiny balconies off each plus 3 bathrooms. Yet it is quite comfortable and the living room kitchen has sufficient space that more than one play has been rehearsed in it!

Rent? Approx $1,000

So – what’s the fuss? Why ‘house envy’?

Each move has been into increasingly expensive places with decreasing size.

And this is not solely a Mumbai phenomenon:

  • Even when apartment hunting in Jakarta, many affordable places were incredibly small. I saw one ‘studio’ that was so tiny the door just opened into the bed, no room for a desk/table to work on, just a bed, kitchen along the wall and a cubby of a bathroom.
  • Years ago when I was approached for a possible job in Hong Kong, I thought in dismay of another move to an even smaller even more expensive home! And while I love the buzz of the city… am quite happy in my Mumbai, thank you very much!

So Bangalore, what lovely homes, what a relaxed easy pace (even with the traffic), however now that I’m back snug in my home, the pang of ‘house envy’ is passing… What matters most is the places I’ve lived have been homes – full of some wonderful times shared with people who matter.

Anyone ever experience a temporary bout of ‘house envy’?

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10 Comments

  1. gkm2011 says:

    Only once – when I saw where a friend on a corporate package was living in Shanghai. Then I heard how much they were paying. It was almost triple my rent. Envy gone!

  2. Tushar says:

    Looks like your house envy’s not passing quite as fast as you claim. I’ve had house envy right here in Mumbai when I get invited to do’s in SoBo, of the well heeled. No rent, just millions of dollars needed to buy. And the monthly building charges are more than any sizable rent. So what do I envy, the house or the money? Eh?

  3. raoshriya says:

    My cousins live in a 2BHK flat in Andheri where all the rooms have a balcony! The hall has 2 – one on the left and one on the right. All the balconies are connected. If you go into the hall’s left balcony and go straight, you will enter the balcony of the master bedroom, as you keep going further, you enter the balcony of the second master bedroom and then the balcony of the kitchen and then finally you reach the hall’s right balcony! It’s like taking a pradakshina (walking around an idol of worship in a circular path) around the house!

    • Nice! In my quest for flats have seen a few with wrap-around balconies in Mumbai but they’ve all had other elements that didn’t quite work. Sounds like an interesting place that your cousins have!

      • raoshriya says:

        Wrap-around balconies! Should have known what such balconies are called xD Thanks for the word.
        Oh, is it? You aren’t still flat hunting, are you?

        • Haha! Happy to add to your vocabulary. 🙂

          Thankfully not house hunting at the moment! We have a 33 month lease which means ‘safe’ for another year yet…. however I’m super picky which means seeing MANY places before settling on a short list and negotiating. Already dreading the process as we love our current home.

          • raoshriya says:

            We had been on lease at different places for about 5 years until recently. I have gone with my parents to see God knows how many houses! So I can relate. Got our own place now!

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