Humour: New home, new troubles

Apartment or an independent house? Which is better?
Last Updated 12 October 2019, 19:30 IST

The new flat was to be our ‘Happiness Project’. There was no need for any shoe-string budget, not because we had become richer, but because we had become prudent by experience. When we were putting up our first house, we were raw beginners but now we had a better idea of what we wanted and how. And there was a reversal of roles — our children pampered us and I did it up as I pleased.

It was not a joyride, though. They promised to give us possession in three years, but it took four. It was not that easy to get things done since we were not the sole owners. Our spirits began to sag. “Only one year’s delay? We haven’t got ours even after seven. You are lucky,” sort-of-comparison cheered us up.

The first day at the flat was heavenly. “See, all we have to do is just lock one door — flat is definitely better than houses,” we beamed at our visiting friends. There was unholy glee when they complimented us on the light and the air.

But we had forgotten about water. On the morning of Day 3, all I could get from the tap was air. “We may have to go home (still lying vacant),” was my suprabhatham to a sleepy husband. That got him out of bed in a jiffy. “Let me first check with the security.” It turned out to be a man-made disaster — the security had forgotten to switch on the pump.

It was just a beginning: power failure with no back-up (“Oh, we’d inverter back home”); no proper waste disposal (“We had Kudumbasree there”); lift failures, faulty nameplates — but years had taught us to be patient. “Don’t worry, these are all teething troubles,” we console each other.

There are positives. More and more people have started moving in and it is socially rewarding. The mix of young and old makes it interesting. The residents’ meetings reflect various moods. There is an ever-expanding list of grievances and the way the seniors and the juniors approach and react to the issues is a study in behavioural psychology.

We, with no worries about kids’ education, loan repayment, working wives or workplace pressure, are laid-back; they have these, and much more. We don’t feel the need to look much beyond; the only concern is staying healthy.

For them, everything is a burning issue. “If it’s like this now, how it’ll be in another ten years,” is their refrain. For the same reason, they are sharp. We will say most of the cameras are working; for them, out of eight CCTVs, the one at the main entrance is not working.

This is getting into us also. We are also learning. We no longer get just stuck inside the lift for some time; we now say we have been trapped inside for 3 minutes and 40 seconds. But there is one bonding — no problem is mine or yours alone; it is ours.

The new flat is now turning out to be a learning curve for us.

(Published 12 October 2019, 19:30 IST)

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