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Archive for October 1st, 2008

I’ve had it with TV. It is stupid, mind-numbing, stupid. I can’t bear the thought of doing this for the rest of my life. For a moment I fantasize about sitting on a beach with a laptop, working on my novel leisurely and sipping umbrella drinks. Although, it does get very hot on the beach. So I visualize an unobstructed view of snow-clad mountains, a laptop and umbrella drinks. I get so carried away that it actually seems doable.

I come out of my reverie, fully charged. Okay, I figure, before I can throw in the towel, I need adequate cash to:

 a) travel b) keep me in booze c) buy food d) medical emergency

Although in the case of a terminal disease like cancer the money goes to a, b, and c in the ratio of 40:30:30. Although, if I’m ill I can’t eat too much, right? And medical emergency has already happened . So I revise the allocation to 50:50 between travel and booze. Crap! I forgot about rent. 30, 30, 40. And what if my illness drags on for years and years? I junk my calculations and sit back and think.

It would be better to have a house in Bombay so I don’t have to worry about rent (I’m realistic enough to realize that beach/mountain periodic retreats to recharge my batteries). So I figure I ought to make some calls.

Some years ago I used to routinely make rounds of available real estate every weekend. That was when I was attacked by similar doubts and the housing rates still gave the illusion of being affordable. They weren’t. Still…

Then the prices shot through the roof and I stopped altogether.

It was time to revive the routine. I mean there’s a crisis worldwide. So prices of real estate should have come down, right?

I call Sajid. He’s a friend, an erstwhile advertising guy who’s gone the religious way.

“What’s the plan, Noor Jehan?” his voice booms over the wire. He may have gone the cleric way but he retains his penchant for stupid rhymes. He once greeted me with “What’s the scene James Dean?” ( He didn’t know it was me) I wonder what he’ll greet me with next? “What’s the plot, you harlot?” I think with a giggle.

I tell him what I want.

He asks me where I wanted to live. I’m about to say Andheri when I stop. I mean Andheri makes sense when I’m in the TV industry, but if I’m not writing for TV then I’m free to live anywhere, right?

“Town,” I say, surprising myself. And then I think, why not? I’ve always wanted to live in town. The roads are better, the drains are better, plus it has Chetana and Golden Star Thali (what to do? Veggie and all that.)

Silence.

“What’s your budget, you…?” he asks with a claustrophobic quality to his voice. I guess he wanted to add midget or something but stopped himself. After all, it won’t do to joke when you want to censure.

I tell him.

You know how I had this entire logic of a worldwide housing crisis? Apparently not so in Bombay where the housing crisis outstrips the real estate one.

“With that you can get a one room shanty at the end of the Backbay slum. Interested?” he asks frostily.

“Okay,” I say reconsidering, “in that case, maybe…Bandra or…Andheri?

“That’s better,” he says approvingly. “Now the rates are 4500000 lakhs (4.5 mil) for a one BHK, 60-70 for a 2 BHK and anywhere upwards of a crore (10 mil) for a 3 BHK”

I learn that with mu budget I can get a poky 1 BHK in Andheri or a poky 3 BHK in New Bombay. Neither of the scenarios meets with my fantasy. Of course, I do realize that a sea facing bungalow with manicured lawns and liveried servants is a little far-fetched. Even SRK had to hawk himself at weddings to pay for his bungalow. And it doesn’t even have a pool I’m told. But still, a plush 3,000 sq foot sea facing flat with marble flooring, controlled lighting, masterpieces on walls, and a landscaped terrace shouldn’t be so hard.

I call up my creative director. “So when do you want the next batch of screenplays?”

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