I was driving down the Sheikh Zayed Road, close to Shankar’s office and suddenly remembered I needed to meet him. I called him up.
"Shankar, are you still in office? I am just driving down just outside your office. I wanted to drop in if you don’t mind" "Yes. Come on. Even I have some work with you, just to clarify something" Shankar replied.
I took the left turn, drove for two minutes and parked my car in front of his office building.
My wife was after me to buy a flat for us in Bangalore. She wanted me to get details about the flat recently bought by Shankar. I was recollecting what all questions she had asked. Barring a few, I could not recollect, so I called my wife.
"Darling… I am going to Shankar’s office. What were all the details you needed?"
"You go there and call me from there. If I tell you now, I am sure you will forget them again" she told in her usual authority.
"I am just outside his office, tell me now" I showed my authority as well. Distance sometimes gives you awesome courage!
"Note down – one, the address of the promoter,
Two, the price he paid per square foot,
Three, whether the promoter arranges bank facility,
Four, how far is the school, vegetable market, fish market and
Five, whether temple, mosque and church are close by" listed my wife.
I was amused. It was exactly at the same juncture our discussion at home had ended abruptly. She had told almost same sentence and I wanted to know the necessity of having all the three places of worship very close ? temple, mosque and church. If she had told temple only, I can understand. I know it is advantageous for me also. I need not drop and pick up from the temple every Thursdays and Saturdays (on scheduled visits and some more unscheduled visits as well) but she wants the other two also! She was talking like a seasoned politician facing the election in a purely secular state!
"Look, I am speaking to somebody. If he asks me why you want all the three to be close, I can’t tell him like you told me. I need a convincing answer for this. Otherwise, I am not asking him this question" I was firm.
"This is what Sheila told me, if we buy such a flat, it would be easier if you want to sell it any future day" told my wife.
Even before the builder has built the flat and even before you buy, the idea is to re sell it – this is called foresight, which will never strike to me, I thought.
Shankar was sitting in his cabin busy looking at something. As soon as I entered, he put up a big smile on his face. The kumkum on his forehead also looked still bigger with that smile or his faith in God is still growing?
"I believe in both God and telepathy. I wanted to come to you with all these. I was too pleased to know that God came to know of my problems and sent you here" he told, gently tapping the drawing on his table.
"What are these?"
"The documents of my newly booked flat in Bangalore"
I was surprised. Even before I am to ask him about this, he has taken it out and kept. Should I also believe in telepathy?
"I came here just to discuss this and I am surprised you have this already on the table" I exclaimed
"Even I wanted to discuss this. We are paying for 964 Sq ft and here is the design of the flat. It is two bedrooms, one hall, one kitchen, two bathrooms and two balconies. They have given measurements of the rooms here. All adds up to only 760 sq ft. My wife wants to know whether we have gone wrong in calculations. Can you check the totals?" He requested.
I checked the additions and confirmed it. "The balance 204 sq ft could be for common areas like corridors" I told.
"But the corridor here for the entire floor is only 200 sq ft. and there are four more flats in the same floor to share" Shankar disputed my suggestion.
"May be the car parking is included" I tried to console him.
"I am paying extra for the car parking" he started arguing.
Soon I realized that I am defending somebody not known to me, and more importantly without any benefit!
Before the argument heats up it is better to find an exit route I thought.
"Then you should have talked to them properly before agreeing to pay" I told him indirectly hinting that it’s beyond my understanding and I am not answerable to it.
"I did, but the builder was so sure of our purchase" Shankar continued, "He told me; your wife has liked the plan and approved the design. Let us build it that way. We are close to all amenities and places of worship. If for some reason you do not like it, you can consult your wife and sell it off. If you want, we will buy it back"
"How about asking Achar? He is a civil engineer" I suggested. Let him face the music- at least he has moral responsibility to defend fellow professionals!
Like Devendra and Brahma going together to Vishnu for consultations each time while in trouble, we started off to Achar’s place.
Achar was happy. He was waiting in his cabin in the restaurant he was running. On seeing us, he ordered for masala dosa and tea.
"Both of you together??. Tell me what I can do for you?" he started the conversation, expecting a big party order.
"It is not for any orders, we just wanted to consult you on civil engineering" told Shankar.
"Civil engineering!" Exclaimed Achar. "I have put it into grinder for the masala dosa batter long back!"
"But still, you’re better than us" told Shankar and kept the design on his table.
"Now tell me the area of this flat which I am buying" He showed the design.
"They have clearly written it here – 964 sq ft" he showed the writing at the corner. After all, he is from the same engineer fraternity you see ? they want us to believe what is shown in the design!
"Forget about that, add it from the design and tell me" Shankar persisted.
"Now what is your problem? Let me know in short" told Achar in a tone deviating from his "what can I do for you" stance.
Shankar narrated the story in full.
"That 760 sq ft is you added up is called plinth area. If you had asked the price in plinth area, he would have told a much higher price. Usually we engineers calculate the constructed area of the whole of the building and distribute it floor wise, further distribute it flat wise. Since you are part owner of the building, you have to pay accordingly" explained Achar.
"So what price I paid is correct" Shankar wanted a confirmation
"Whether it is correct or not, you have paid and that’s it. You will get a flat which is to the liking of your wife and you are fortunate. I spent almost the price of another flat to make my flat to the liking of my wife"
"My doubt is that this matter will come up again, if we want to sell the flat" Shankar expressed the root cause for his apprehension.
"Not at all. You are going to sell the flat with this same design and this same document. People only check whether their wives liked the flat. Nobody will check the measurements like you did. Even if they check, they will keep quiet once their wife says she has liked it. Worse come worst, may be they will bargain for the price"
"That is what". Shankar told "then what I will do?"
"You decide. It’s your property and bargaining for the price is part and parcel of any deal" told Achar almost hinting us that he does not want anymore discussion.
Though we started off from there, Shankar was not convinced still. "I will not leave it here. I will go to the builder again"
"I’ll also come with you" I told
"Why?" he was surprised.
"I want to buy a flat in the same building" I told him "your wife has explained your deal in such a nice manner that my wife wants a flat there… at any cost"
For a minute, he looked at me and then said "I will advise you to negotiate in terms of plinth area. At least you will save a lot of time, headache and future arguments at home"
About the Author:
Author: Gopinath Rao- UAE