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!
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.
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.
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…
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!
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’?