So, end April, we moved- from a spacious 3 bedroom in a sprawling apartment complex with all amenities; to a cosy 2 bedroom house in a peaceful layout. This, because we invested in another apartment- which hopefully will be ready to welcome us in Dec- and we needed to balance the EMI and rent with the monies being deposited in the bank at the month end. We had been in the earlier apartment for over 6 years, and initially, all 3 of us, especially Sonny Boy, had some trouble adjusting, but a house has its delights.
In this house, we don’t have a swimming pool, or a clubhouse, or a badminton court, or a big play area. But the first day itself, neighbouring kids came in search of my son. There were no small groups, just one large group, which welcomed Sonny boy into their midst. The road is their playground. Cricket is the all time favourite, but football was all the rage during World Cup season. Here, Sonny boy learns to tackle traffic on roads while he cycles.
Here, we don’t have a long paved pathway for morning and evening walks, but instead, the criss-crossing roads in the layout are wide, with shade giving trees on both sides, and peaceful dogs snoozing outside houses next to each other. From provisions, to veggies, to momos, to curries, to dosa batter, small shops a walk away, sell anything you could think of, at economical prices. The nearest little petty shop 2 min away, is only about the size of 2 aisles in the supermarket opposite our earlier apartment. But the lady/husband/neighbour there has everything at their fingertips.
Tarkaaaari, paypaaar, sopppuuuu, hoovuuuu- I can hear all the local vendors going past, and can run down if I’m interested. There even is an ice cream man ringing his bell invitingly as he passes by in the late mornings.. which brought back memories of my childhood summers. The only thing missing was the nelakadala man.
Maids cost a fraction of what they used to at the earlier complex. Neither do they dictate terms as to what will be done and what will not.
For more than a decade, we’d forgotten what it was like to have un-water-stained bathrooms, and taps and buckets. With Cauvery water, we welcomed back clean bathrooms, and unspotty vessels. Unsticky hair and clean white clothes. (as clean as can be expected of a 10 year old boy). Water ran in taps 24/7.
For more than a decade, we’d also forgotten what it was to not have electricity at times. Here the first time power went, we had to search out 10 year old candles. It reminded me of power cut times back in Kerala that we kids would look forward to. We’d sit out on the verandah steps, enjoying the night breeze, swatting away the ubiquitous mosquitoes, chatting, playing word building, or making shadows on the walls. In this house, we don’t have a verandah to sit on, and the doors and windows have meshes, so thankfully very less mosquitoes, but once in a while, we do have a cande lit dinner.
We have 2 neighbours- one downstairs, and one next door. The downstairs family is nice- a family of 5- a couple, 2 kids( boys) , and the MIL-, but can’t say that about our next door neighbours- a young couple. I have never seen such anti-social people! They have a particular antipathy towards the downstairs family the reason for which I’m unable to fathom. They complain that the kids make noise but in the 5 months we’ve been here, I’ve never felt it so. Our common maid told me that they complained to the downstairs lady, of the noise her mixie made, and also of the din her cooker whistle made in the morning! The house has a spacious car park, where all 3 families can park their cars and bikes. But, in the evenings, the next door man takes his car outside the car park and parks it on the road, to prevent kids playing outside our house. That’s how nasty they can be. So far, we’ve not had any run-ins with them ourselves.
The only thing I miss here, is the click of paws on the floor. Sigh!