Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Do Bigha Zameen

So I had hazarded the prospect of purchasing property given the typical Indian belief that failure to do so would imply that the next incarnation is going to be as a cockroach destined to spend life (i.e. that new life) in government built poorly maintained city sewer pipes. But I had no idea that property purchase tests financial wherewithal, infinite patience, good deal of physical stamina, and significant broker management skills. To the uninitiated, in India we have a broker for everything – license or passport application, electricity connection, bill payments, traffic ticket payments, marriage (bride hunting, wedding organization, marriage certificate application etc), child delivery, school admissions, movie tickets, train tickets, cancellation of train tickets… you get the idea, eh? If you’re traveling by the countryside and want to pee by a tree, the moment you stop the car, you’d be mobbed by ten representatives pointing out the best tree promising you the most pleasurable open-air draft-free splash-incident-resistant experience!

My broker by destiny was a perpetually smiling sardarji. “Bestest price is seventy two forty eight rupees per square foot,” he announced with the air of achievement as though he’d just given birth to twins! My brain multiplied that with 2000 square feet and calculated something that probably represented the number of stars in the universe. He wasn’t done though… ‘… plus we just add the EDC, IDC and PLC to the BSP, and then the IBMS and CMC. And if you have two cars then two CPCs will be added or one CPC compulsory and one OPC. Registration at 7% is at possession ji’. It is tough to abbreviate a single word, so I guess ‘Registration’ stood out in that entire spiel. The rest was like sitting in kindergarten and learning the alphabet. I wasn’t sure if I should ask for clarifications chronologically or alphabetically. I think the abbreviations have been created to confuse the ‘thinking’ prospective buyer and to mitigate the impact of the actual product of the rate x units

Because Gurgaon, in particular, has the most exorbitantly priced property one can see anywhere. Tiny match box sized flats in towering multi-storey condos are priced in line with prices of some entire nations in Africa. My assessment is that Gurgaon must be home to the most optimistic target segment in the world. The quoted rate was, I’m convinced, sufficient to buy an entire oil field in Kuwait, factory fitted with Italian designed oil pumps. I think the general idea is that one can recover the cost of the flat by drilling for gas in the general neighbourhood of the living area though it might just require you – being on the 20th floor – to drill through 19 ceiling fans and perhaps a cheap chandelier or two.

The sardarji eventually managed to sell me a different property which, in the comparison of things, could at best promise a hot-water spring underneath as opposed to good ol’ petroleum. Given the space I could afford in pure square footage terms, it also promised my wife and me a lifetime of closeness and intimacy, to be shared in equal measures with any social invitee. I haven’t even got started about the bank and the loan and the interest yet!! Will save that for another blog.

Is it just me or does the cockroach and the government sewer suddenly seem like a damn attractive deal?


  1. Paaji, its good you have to jump through hoops to possess that do bigha. In US, banks used to serve you the same do bigha in a silver plate and see today how you can buy the same do bigha today for the price of one.

    Aur bhai mere agents nahin honge to ghar baithey baithey kaam kaise hongey..So enjoy having agents.

    Also in what countryside did you find the reps to show you the tree to pee? Hope you can still pee by yourself without any help. :)

  2. You should try for the IPR of Suripanthi.
    Two examples of it that I liked the best:
    1.If you’re traveling by the countryside and want to pee by a tree...you’d be mobbed by ten representatives ...!
    2. The quoted rate was...sufficient to buy an entire oil field in Kuwait, factory fitted with Italian designed oil pumps.