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My Home – My Pride and Joy

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The document was handed over to me and I put my signature firmly under Vikas. After the time we had both signed on the marriage certificate, and the birth of our children, no other moment had filled me with as much joy – possession of our home document.

Vikas being in finance and me in software meant work opportunities galore.  It was probably a reason why my parents thought it was a match made in heaven. A stint abroad was a foregone conclusion; it stretched to nine years – first 2 years in Singapore and then 7 years in the US. We both earned well; paying rent for large condos was never a problem. And even after the kids came, we never quite planned to settle there for good and hence never bought a home anywhere. But it niggled. Often when we heard that someone else we knew bought a home. Or the times when we went back to India; it was our parents’ constant tirade. However, this time back to India was different; we now had plans. Opportunities were now galore here. It was where the future was, and ours.

It was not that we had not thought about buying a home earlier. The need to put down roots is something innate in all. Why, even birds and animals build homes, especially when it comes to setting up a family. Grihastha is one of the 4 phases of life that even our ancient texts prescribe. The phrase that we all hear once fairly steady at work, ‘Settling down’ is more literal than figurative. It was easy in our parent’s generation when one stayed in a job for long or sometimes even life. One city was where one put down one’s roots, often in a place where their parents stayed or where they already had family. The constant flux that seems to rule our work life these days makes that impossible. Flexibility and change are the keywords to our lives – the ability to pack up and leave.

So why put in so much resource – both financial and emotional – into buying a home. And where? Who knows where we would be in 10 years. That’s where math came in. Even if we stayed for 3 years in our own home, the rent that we paid elsewhere would equate to and cover our EMI. After which, if we had to move, rental opportunities, especially in large metros, was robust. If we were smart and invested into a property that was in an area that showed good growth potential, then not only could we attract a good rental price but the value of the property would also increase exponentially, giving us an option to even sell if need be and reinvest into another property elsewhere. On our last visit to India, we had after looking around quite a bit, zeroed in on properties on Dwarka Expressway. I was impressed with its potential for connectivity into Delhi, main Gurgaon city and the airport; the Masterplan on which its design was based and the fact that land value had increased almost 45% over the last few years.

The financial value is one aspect, but the emotional value of putting up your name on the front door of your home is not something you can put a number to. Playing house is something one has done since childhood. The planning, the scouting for both the interiors and the little touches that was going to make it special; doing them in a rented apartment is just not the same. A rented apartment, however long you lived there, will never be yours. You always need to adjust your lifestyle to the way it’s designed. Your own home will be designed the way you need it to be. A larger balcony for your plants and morning coffee; an extra cupboard under the stairs for Sia and Arjun to dump all their sports stuff; the kitchen counters at a height that is comfortable to my small stature, a den for Vikas since he plans to start something on his own and can work from home; anti-skid tiles in the downstairs bathroom since either of our parents were likely to come stay with us…

The feeling of being able to come back to your own home at the end of the day is worth any hardship one may encounter in building or investing into one. Watching your children grow; the markings behind the door that measured their growing height is something that you will still see and treasure long after they are gone. Numerous milestones mark the passage of our journey in life and achievements; the making of your own home is among the handful that is most treasured.

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