A few years ago, lying on my hard hostel bed, I used to dream about sitting in a cozy corner of a beautiful house, sipping a cup of Tetley green tea.
That house would be my haven where, through a big window, sunlight would kiss me awake every morning and a cool breeze would sing me to sleep on hot nights.
It remained a dream for more than a decade.
1 BHKs in the Sky
For many Indian kids, moving out of their parents’ house is a big step. And, it doesn’t usually happen till you shift to another city for education or a job.
Unlike in Western countries, we tend to stay with our parents till we get married and, sometimes, even after that.
Luckily for me, I left my parents’ home when I was 15. However, for a long time after that, I had to live in rodent-infested hostels and matchbox-sized PG rooms.
For a few years in between, I shared cramped flats with my friends, but that was when I didn’t need or understand privacy.
A side note for our more conservative friends out there—wanting space or privacy for yourself doesn’t mean that the person is going to drown themselves in sex, alcohol, and drugs. It means having the freedom to move around in your own home without bumping into people. It also means a clean bathroom, with only your hair blocking the drain.
Privacy, however, comes at a price. Especially for middle-class Indians.
As soon as I had a little money to spare, I decided it was time to give myself what I deserved—some space, both physical and mental. I did not anticipate the brokeness that was waiting for me though.
The Perfect Match
When I was looking for a house, I had in my mind the image of my ideal home. French windows, huge balconies, and marble floors. And all within my fairly conservative budget, of course.
But, what brokers showed me were fluorescent green walls, windowless bedrooms, and one-slab kitchens.
Finally, one day, a broker told me, “Madam, there’s one house that is perfect for you but it’s 3K more than your budget. See once, no harm in seeing, right?”
I fell into the trap.
I was determined to stay strong even as the broker was unlocking the door.
Then, I stepped inside, and it was pure magic. We matched.
I looked around and spotted a place for my books. I peeped into the bedroom and found the window. I glanced at the kitchen and saw a tiny space for small plants.
For me, it was like finding my soulmate.
I moved into the house in spite of knowing that it would totally disrupt my budget and savings. And there are no French windows or balconies here, but it feels like home.
I grew up in a middle-class household, which meant sharing a room with my brother or parents. I couldn’t stop anyone from barging into the room whenever they felt like it. No matter which part of the house I went to, there would always be another human being in sight. Even after I left home, I shared rooms because rent’s a bitch.
Now, I’ve a whole 1 BHK to myself. It’s not huge but there’s more than enough space for me. I don’t have lock my stuff away in cupboards to make sure nobody messes with it, or switch off the lights at 10 PM. I can throw my clothes around and... do whatever the hell I want, basically. It's like being able to breathe properly for the first time.
I don’t know how long I'lll be able to sustain this privilege. But for now, I’m just happy that I’m home, and there’s enough silence for me to enjoy my green tea.
What’s your story of moving into your first house? Share it with us!