Sure, it makes great financial sense to own a piece of realty. Investing in property & land is a smart decision. On the other hand, renting is like throwing your hard earned money down the drain. Might as well take a home loan & pay the EMIs. If I ever earned a lakh a month, then maybe I’d finally get around to saving for a house. But that’d be mostly as an investment option than for emotional reasons & because my tryst with insurance, gold, PPFs, RDs & mutual fund is over.
Growing up, I did dream of building my own home; of having a place modeled on one of the oriental dance gurukuls. Windows -big & wide, almost the size of a door, letting in sunshine & air. Walls-made of red bricks, no cement, no plastering. Curtains-in pastel colors fluttering in the air. Mango & jackfruit trees with low branches & circular mud mounds around them for sitting. A large courtyard lined by flowering plants.
As I grew, I realized the business of building a house is laborious: hiring the right contractors, architects, interior designers, shelling out money, overseeing the construction. The stress & strain involved in seeing your vision take the shape of an abode. Not my cup of tea. Not anymore. I just want to be free, especially of a commitment as deep as this one. Because when I do get involved with something, I get involved to the point of exclusion. I become an insomniac with maniacal attention to detail & an obsession to oversee everything myself, not resting until the task at hand is completed. The dedication would tie me down & completely exhaust me. I admire those that have seen their dream homes being built & now living happily in them. Hats off to all of them! Truly!
But why do I not want to? Maybe I’m scared of being rooted; a phobia unheard-of, strange –yes, but a real one for me. As a tenant, I can go to any area in the city. I change job locations, I change residence. No worries. But mostly, owning a house has never been one of the indicators of happiness for me. Maybe my mother’s death has something to do with it. It left an impact on me the extent of which I’m yet to fully understand. She passed away in far away Lucknow, amongst complete strangers, in an army quarters with no family beside her; just my brother who was posted there & with whom she had gone to live for a while, her first visit there. I would at least like to die in my own house, after all the struggles & sacrifices it takes to build one.
Or maybe I feel it is a huge effort. The years & the money it takes to own a decent house is astounding. Is it worth my endless toil? Is it worth setting aside my today for an unforeseen romantic future? Is it worth all the penny-pinching I’d do to afford it? A vacation would send me on a guilt trip. I’d constantly worry “arey kitna paisa barbaad ho raha hai”. Changing or quitting a job would not be an option (& neither would getting fired!) because the EMI ghost would haunt me. I couldn’t put life on hold just to live in my “own house”; particularly if it made me pay through my nose.
I left my parental own house in 2001. I’ve cooked in 8 different kitchens (of varying sizes) since I came to Bangalore, which means I’ve changed my residence almost every year!! In spite of this, I still haven’t developed a desire to buy a house! Assuming I would live for another ten years & will be as happy as I’m right now & was in the past 10 years, I see no reason why I should worry about my not worrying about saving for a house! “There is something wrong with her”, I hear you say. I agree. I think so too!