Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Small Building in Kalyani Nagar

Maybe part of why I'm having such a bad experience living in Kalyani Nagar is because of which part of it we live in... I don't live in one of those fancy, new complexes, like Fortaleza or Marigold (although before moving here, we booked a flat there, but then I started getting nervous about the idea of borrowing money from a bank and spending my future paycheques, paying interest and all that (but now that I've worked on mortgage software for a few years I do understand it a little better)).

Instead we live in a big flat in a relatively small building near the top of a sloped, dead-end side lane, one parallel to East Street that connects Nagar Road to the bridge to Koregoan Park.

Our building, Keshava Chotani Mansion, has just eight flats, owned by seven families (the one who owns two also owns a third in the next building). About half the people who own flats here didn't buy them here, they bought ones in a fancier building the builder was making a decade or so ago, but he ran out of money to finish that and gave them these flats as a "take this or lose all your investment" sort of deal. One flat was given to the plumber in exchange for him finishing up the plumbing in the building.

Unfortunately, the builder didn't have enough to finish all the legal paperwork for the place, so there are no completion certificates, no legal society, none of the usual stuff.

None of us flat owners can agree on how much to pay a month for maintenance (hardly any of us even speak to each other). Some want it to be a flat fee for everyone, others want it to be based on square footage, and everyone thinks a different amount either way is reasonable. The few times we do come to an agreement, though, half the flat-owners simply don't pay it at all, one says he'll only pay it if we agree to repaint the building (but he won't agree on an amount high enough to afford that!). Consequently, our building is crumbling, our water pump breaks frequently because we get the cheapest repair, the elevator can't be maintained, the building is filthy, we're in arrears with the electric company, and we can't afford an even borderline competent watchman.

On either side of us are two slightly bigger buildings, Madhusudan A and B, built around the same time by the same builder, with the same architectural style. Both are set back from the street a little further than ours, with a wider parking area at the front, so our bedrooms line up with the parking lots and balconies of of the first floor flats in those buildings.

Madhusudan A is slightly farther from us, so there's space in the middle for the driveway leading to Peacock Palace, behind us. And Peacock Palace about the size of all three of these first ones. It's much newer and blocks the view from the back apartments in our building of the famous Aga Khan Palace.

Across the street at the end of the lane is Siddharth Enclave, a big, blocky building in some sort of vague, fake neo-Roman architecture style. I think it's ugly and doesn't fit the area, and looks even worse after they knocked off the triangular bits at the top to make flat terraces, which fit the area but not the rest of the style of the building itself.

Maybe things would be better in one of the big societies. But since we own this outright, with no mortgage or anything, moving out isn't a trivial thing. And given how homesick I am at this point, that wouldn't really make me happy, just a little less unhappy...

Here's the front of Keshava Chotani Mansion, with Madhusudan A in the background. That's our flat on the first floor with the wide balcony. The nose of our former car is just barely visible near the right inside our parking spot.

And here's Peacock Palace behind and Madhusudan B to the left of us, and our watchman on the ladder cleaning the debris dropped on our air conditioner from renovation by our upstairs neighbors... Leena supervising and the stupid maid probably just doing anything to avoid her own work. The gulmohar tree is one of many planted up and down the street by my mother-in-law years ago, when she first bought this flat for an investment.

And here's Siddharth Enclave from our driveway... The metal wall is visible from East Street when the gates of the construction next to Bishop's School are open (usually for people to dump garbage in the open pit some construction crew dug for a foundation of a building that's not being built).

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