Sunday, December 15, 2013

The property bubble: A continuum

Adverts in all formats:  print/electronic/social media are replete with property bubbles lathering perennially. Owning a house is a self-imposed ultimatum for most of the populace. Everyday, I am woken up by at least one text alert that carries a property ad. Places that hitherto remained joyful hinterlands emerge the best places to live in. Of course to make everything look plausible, we have banks and real estate companies proffering eye-candies, conjuring up a property-bubble. By all means these offers sound attractive, made to lure every commoner. This injects a latent complex thus resulting in the never-ending quest to own one’s-own so called ‘permanent’ space. 

Right from peers to elders amongst family and friends, all seem to be lost in the property nexus. No one even cares about one’s financial stability, for there are schemes brimming with tags like easy-on-pocket, no-hidden charges, X% cash back offer, early bird offers, and what not! Despite all of this, it is very unnerving when we have our own family members putting us on the quizzing table, taking us on an ‘unreal-estate’ ride: “You have been in Chennai for almost a decade now, and what do you mean you’ve still not bought your own home?!” They would unabashedly enlist the EMI offers available in the real estate market. Little do they realise that most of these offers run on for a lifetime, making us debtors for life! I would rather pay a regular rent and still remain content. The most I would face is the threat of relocation. Nonetheless, there is a battery of brokers waiting right there to accommodate every citizen in a fully-furnished house! For not all constructed homes are necessarily filled with its own owners! Some of them buy homes only out of sheer peer pressure.

Then there is this real-estate concept of gated community which ends up translating into a jailed-environment. Granted that these communities are all plush with lush-green meadows and crisp landscaping, but the idea of having all daily needs in the best degree of proximity does not sync into the scheme of affairs. Eg., we have promising adverts that boast about the child’s school being at a stone’s throw, the supermarkets, nay hyper-markets situated within the apartment complex, needless to say, gym, spa, recreational rooms, library, all within the same palatial complex! By all means these are breezy locales that offer some concrete tapestry tucked with some greenery. Yet, even if one were to have the wherewithal to plough into such opulence, if one comes to think of it in the long run, wouldn’t it be stale, with luxury begging for some change and breathing space? Where’s the element of fun? Didn’t we travel to our schools in cycle-rickshaws and buses? Our schools were at a must-travel distance yet not once did we crib about the distance. We still did not really mind the peak-hour rush and the occasional stampede in our ubiquitous green public transport buses where we at least had a person or two stamping on our neatly polished white canvas shoes!
It’s indeed the ‘instant-world,’ moving on an upscale direction with no looking back. If everything is readily made available in a platter, we would be digging our own grave of insipidity. It’s ok if we have to travel for work or to school; we have cabs that do the needful. All one needs to do is sit back and take the ride rather than abnormally race against time; for it would not be too long before we become silent victims of contemptuous familiarity living in a sky-scraping high-end society.At the end of the day, owned or rented, we just need some living space with a renewed energy to reboot on a daily basis.

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