Wednesday, June 04, 2008

R.I.P to Petrol at 50 bucks!

Here’s R.I.P to petrol costing Rs. 50. It’s going to cost 5 more bucks from today.

With petrol prices subsidized by 15 rupees to the common man by the oil companies, I guess even days when prices are going to be in the range of Rs. 50 to Rs. 60 is numbered. It’s going to be Rs. 65 soon – may be in a couple of months. Days when the middle class (not the upper middle class, mind you) can travel in airplanes are over. Sure, there is going to be Deccan and other erstwhile low-cost carriers, but they aren’t going to be low-cost anymore.

So here’s R.I.P to days of cheap travel, cheap air tickets and cheap tour packages. Wish I were in Venezuela!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Peace of mind

Now, now, that doesn’t have a monetary figure against it, does it? That’s exactly what you get moving to your own place.

The very thought of a house owner (when you have taken a rented accommodation) calling you on the 28th of the month for the rent you need to pay before the 5th of next month was irksome. As if you don’t pay your rents every month. The very thought of getting an increase in rent (From 15000 to 18000) at the end of the 11th month of the rental contract was a chill down the spine, more so because you know any money you pay as rent is direct down the drain – you don’t have an inch of investment made with that money, and you don’t have any returns on that. Most house owners get a 10 month advance, and you can’t begin to comprehend the opportunity cost you could have made out of that money had you invested that in the stock market.

If the monetary aspects of being a tenant are vexing, I can’t begin to describe how it is to actually find a rented accommodation. It’s similar in most places I’ve looked out for accommodation – Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, but there’s the added humidity to tackle in Chennai. It’s not reality television. It’s for real. You start thinking about your own home – wasn’t that a King’s life you lived? The part I hate the most is dealing with the vermin – the brokers. It’s a cartel, what they run. As a strategy, they take you to the murkiest parts of the city and show you ramshackle houses for earth-shattering rents. You feel an earth quake when you hear about the rents. When you’ve seen 10 of those houses, and have begun to realize how miserable your life has ended up being, they show you a decent looking house at “just 15000 a month”, with a sweet little ten month of rent money as advance. It’s between the devil and the deep sea. You have the option of choosing that, or roaming around the entire city marveling at more people who live in the places they do. It’s a quest for survival out there, where only the fittest can dare think of survival, and a lot of guys in our cities win hands down for living where they do. Life is a bitch. At the end of the ordeal, that you will end up feeling like a loser is almost given.

Personally, after having lived 18 months as a tenant, moving in to an own place couldn’t have come at a better time. The very thought of your own home - where nobody calls you asking for a rent. Own home - a place you feel like keeping it tidy, because it’s yours; A place where you don’t mind getting that old bungalow-style artwork or that eerie-looking modern art splashed with bright colors for a couple of thousand bucks, because its yours; A place where you contemplate spending because you want to, not because you have to.

Of course, calling the erstwhile house owner (two times every day – a taste of his own medicine) asking him to return the advance money comes especially sweet!