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Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Homes for Nobodies

Heartless of Hinjewadi:

XRBIA Booking Venue, ICC Trade Towers, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune 411016
XRBIA Booking Venue, ICC Trade Towers, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune 411016

I was completely disgusted by heartless real estate investors in Xrbia Hinjewadi Pune. I wanted to forget those ugly faces of greedy real estate investors I had seen at the site & booking office of Xrbia. I wanted to delete from my memory the foolish arguments of a few frustrated home buyers who thought that Xrbia was their last chance to own a home near Hinjewadi at Pune.

So, I decided to go away. I went to Kolhapur. Where there is no IT. Hoping to see the guys who are not addicted to property appreciation. Hoping to meet young boys & girls who are not fantasizing of owning a home after they get a job.

Amit Sachin Tendulkar Housing Enterprises at Kolhapur:

Visit Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.
Amit Sachin Tendulkar Housing Enterprises at Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

At the entrance of Kolhapur, I saw a hoarding of Amit Enterprises Housing Limited announcing three day opportunity to invest in Pune real estate market. It means that there are enough addicts of property appreciation in Kolhapur too, I told myself.

I took it as a warning and decided to disconnect myself from Pune real estate market. Only way, I thought was, that I should not talk about my Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Market News Blog.

I should become a tourist. If the situation demands, I should shave my head to convince that I am a religious pilgrim who has come from Tirupati Balaji for the darshan of Mahalaxmi Ambabai of Kolhapur. But I will never talk about investing in Pune real estate market.

Xrbia at Kolhapur:

Visit Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.
Mumbai - Thane - Borivali - Pune - Aurangabad - Nashik S. T. Stand at Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

When I got down, I thought, why not visit a few housing schemes in Kolhapur! There is no risk in visiting Kolhapur properties, I told myself and visited a newspaper stall at the bus stand.

At the stall, I saw one publication about real estate projects in Kolhapur and unconsciously, I picked it up. But there was no date of publication. So, I asked the vendor for the latest issue. The newspaper vendor told me that this one is the latest. Published some three months ago. Don't worry, most of the projects would still be under construction and even if they are ready,flats will be available.

I was about to ask why, but the smart young man standing next to me said, "These Kolhapur Builders only construct for the rich. Not like builders in Pune who construct affordable housing for the middle class"

"Do Pune builders construct affordable housing? I didn't know that!," i said.

"Yes! At present, demand is only for affordable housing!! You know? One project called Xrbia in Pune sold more than 3,500 flats in 3 days!!! I was about to book but couldn't get one. All sold out. Now, I am waiting for the next phase," the smart young man said.

"Really? I am curious! Tell me more," i said. For the next 3 minutes the smart young man gave me a complete low down on Xrbia.

"But you are an engineer in TV Channel at Worli and live in Navi Mumbai. Then why are you interested in Xrbia at Hinjewadi, Pune?," i asked.

"Investment!," the smart young man said.

"OK. Why not invest in Kolhapur, your hometown?," I asked.

"I told you. No property in my budget of 20 - 25 Lakhs at Kolhapur. All are above 40 - 50 lakhs," the smart young engineer working in Mumbai said.

"How wrong!," I said.

After Independence, Indians lost their freedom:

Visit Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.
"Bharatiya" film at Shahu Talkies at Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

At the time of check-in, the receptionist asked for reason of my visit to Kolhapur.

"To take a shower. I was told that - like Pune - there are no water cuts at Kolhapur. Am I right? I am fed up with a single bucket bath," I asked.

"You will enjoy our hot & cold power showers, Sir," the receptionist said.

"Hot & cold! Both? A third one - in between the two - would have been a real pleasure! Don't you think so?," i asked.

"Enjoy yourself!," the receptionist said.

I obeyed the receptionist & tried my best to enjoy myself. Neglecting the question - "Why is there no affordable housing in Kolhapur?" - which went on bothering me. Ultimately, I decided to meet my journalist friend working in Kolhapur Sakal.

"Isn't there any housing scheme - township - in Kolhapur which offers 1 BHK for 15 & 2 BHK for 20 Lakhs?," I asked him.

"Politically right answer is - there is no 'flat culture' in Kolhapur. Kolhapurkars don't like to live in flats. They prefer to buy a plot of land and construct their own bungalows," my journalist friend said.

"Can one buy a plot & construct a bungalow in 20 Lakhs?," I asked.

"Learn to read between the lines, Ravi. It means that - at Kolhapur - there is no housing for the common man. Recently, 2 townships were launched at Kolhapur which had 100 and odd flats which were booked in a couple of days. Actually, in a couple of months. Otherwise, most of the apartments are built for the rich farmers & industrialists in Kolhapur," my journalist friend said.

"In that case, where the young educated working people live?," i asked.

"In Pune & Mumbai!," my journalist friend said.

"Don't tell me! You are here in Kolhapur!! Where do you live?," I said.

"In my ancestral home! Only because, I don't have any option!!," my journalist friend said.

"Living in an ancestral home is romantic! Isn't it?," I asked.

"Forget about romance. There is no life in inconvenient, compromised & dilapidated house at the end of a narrow lane, Ravi. There is no pride in poverty. In fact, it's not a living - it's only surviving - somehow, " my journalist friend said.

"Come on! We are not poor anymore. Our GDP growth is better than any developing country!!," I said.

"You are talking about India. I am talking about Indians. Indians living in Kolhapur. What i see is - everyone is running away from his home & home town. On the run, his first step is Pune or Mumbai and next U S A. Why? Because, after the independence of India, Indians lost their freedom. All are running away from becoming slaves of local kingpins. For the common Indian citizen - there are only two options. Become a slave of some American company and live in big city like Pune or go to US and live as a second class citizen," my journalist friend said.

Ravi Karandeekar, Non Resident Indian (NRI):

Visit Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.
Shri Shahu Vijayi Gangavesh Talim Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

"I know about white slaves in IT Parks of Hinjewadi & the second class citizens in the countries all over the world. But I don't know about those who are left behind in Kolhapur. I want to meet them. I want to talk to them. How can I do that?," I asked.

"Only way to do that, is to go and have a good conversation!," my journalist friend said.

I took my friend's leave and started walking on the roads of Kolhapur. In a few minutes, I realized that I can not walk like others. Because, I can only walk on footpaths. Not on the main road. As a born & brought up in Pune, I can deal with the encroachment on the footpath. But can not deal with the vehicles on a road. So, I asked someone, "Why are there no footpaths in Kolhapur?"

"Because, except one or two main roads in the city - there are no proper roads in Kolhapur!," the fellow said and asked, "Are you NRI?"

NRI! Being NRI in India would be a good idea. As a NRI, I will get a license to ask any question to anybody and can have a good conversation! So, I returned to my hotel and asked the receptionist, "Who is your favorite customer? NRI or Punekar?"

"You are my favorite, Sir!," the receptionist said.

"Yes, I know. But tell me - what should I do to become your most favorite?," i asked.

"Remove your trousers!," the receptionist said.

"Anytime!," I said.

"And wear half pants - bermuda - in which you checked in. Middle aged Marathi NRI with grey hair and white mustache in bermuda is my most favorite guest!," the receptionist said.

"That's great! What about the rest of Kolhapur? Should I wear Kolhapuri Chappals?," I asked.

"Did you see anyone wearing Kolhapuri Chappals in Kolhapur?," the receptionist asked.

"No! Not a single person!! Surprising!!! But I didn't see anyone in bermuda too. Are you pulling my legs?," I said.

"No. I am serious. Go out - see the results! What are you dying to see at Kolhapur?," the receptionist asked.

"Talim! Can I go inside the Talim and talk to Pailwans?," I asked.

"In bermuda - you can even play kusti with number one pailwan of Kolhapur!," the receptionist said.

The receptionist was right. I had a good time at Shri Shahu Vijayi Gangavesh Talim. If I had been wearing a langot, I would have played kusti too. However, important discovery was - all doors are open for NRIs.

Kingdom of Nobodies:

Visit Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.
Vinayak at Rankala

Next couple of days, I roamed around in bermuda. Had great conversations. But went on becoming more & more sad.

I came to Kolhapur to meet the young working guys who haven't became crazy about home ownership. Young guys who are not desperate or frustrated about owning a home. But I was not expecting to meet the self-employed or salaried young guys who are not even thinking about owning a home. But day by day, I realized that all are only struggling to survive. They have accepted that home ownership & respectable life is not their cup of tea.

The workers in MIDC earn enough to somehow mange the monthly expenses. Self employed struggle to sustain. They can't go back to their traditional jobs or don't see any possibility to earn more than what they get.

"If you fail to get a job in Pune or Mumbai and are left behind in Kolhapur, in no time, you become a nobody. You know what is my goal - at this point of time? Not to become a member of Kingdom of Nobodies!," Vinayak, who met me at Rankala, said. He has realized that typical college education is not enough to break away. He is following his brother-in-law's advice who is working in UK.

"Rich & well-to-do in Kolhapur are having a good time. Workers are happy to work over time for Nashta & Dal Roti. But someone like me, who is MBA & works as a manager, finds it difficult not to become depressed. Particularly when you meet your childhood friends. They consider me less capable, unambitious, loser," Dilip said.

"I find it difficult to believe you! You look professional, well balanced, satisfied person to me. In fact, you look a happy guy. You can't be depressed!," i said.

"That's the problem! Someone who lives in his hometown with his family can not afford or manage to remain unhappy for a long time!!," Dilip said.

"OK. But tell me what will make you happy? More salary - lots of shopping - nightlife - what?," I asked.

"Respect!," Dilip said.

"That's too vague....abstract. Be specific," I said.

"No this is not vague. See...when I got married...girl's father wanted a boy who owns some land...girl also wanted to marry someone who owns land... but isn't a farmer... since I had a job & land, I was considered as most eligible - & was most 'wanted' - now, after the marriage...my wife is not happy to live in a village 10 km away from Kolhapur...result is I am losing respect - day by day!," Dilip said.

"Why don't you buy a flat or a plot in Kolhapur?," I asked.

"Because, I can't afford! So, I am neither a farmer nor an executive in an industry! Sometimes, i wonder, whether I am a man or woman? Then I tell myself, I am nobody. And in this kingdom - there is no home for a nobody, " Dilip said.


1) Tuesday, October 22, 2013

UrbanGram Kolhapur Launched!

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  1. Hey Ravi,

    You might want to right a book someday and share your real estate journey...it will be great to read and we will enjoy as much as your blogs:)


    1. Book - Good idea!
      Thanks for the complements, Sandeep!

    2. I share Sandeep's opinion, I urge you to write a book, or atleast consider doing so, preferably in Marathi..

  2. Dear Mr. Karandeekar,
    I must appreciate your writing skill. This is something really good to express our present scenario where our life is going ..
    Thanks and keep writing ..
    Milind Khole

  3. It's very bad situation now a days.. I am from Koakan region and currently a 1 bhk flat price is almost touching price of pune flat.

    So in future its difficult to buy flat there, land is also too costly.

  4. Nice blog I like it. It really practical life in India I feel real estate in India is like a bubble any time this bubble can bust like what happen in USA and all price are inflated based on supply and demand. Demand is very very high form NRI and NRI do not know where to invest their money in their country because 70% of whole world economies are going down and India economies is going up there is now balance between two. Common person cannot offer the flat/plot in India.
    That is true if you own land means plot not form land and Flat you will get marry. That my experience.

    Thanks Ravi for sharing this wonderful experience.

  5. Hi Ravi,
    Superb writing!
    I think you have portrayed true face of a poor Indian.
    After figuring out that there is no meaning in buying an apartment in Pune, I went back to my home town, Nashik, to search for a property to invest.
    You won't believe me...the condition is worse there.
    Prices of plots have already reached 50-60 lakhs...And apartments are becoming costlier day by day...
    One builder even bragged about the fact that he sold the costliest apartment in Nashik!! (1.6 crores)

    Now I am also thinking that I am a nobody...and there are no homes for nobodies...

  6. I'd definitely buy your book if you decided to write one - I got goosebumps reading your blog!

  7. Is there only IT population living in our country?

    Not sure why your journalist friend said that all are going to Pune,Mumbai and then USA.our population is not going down due to migration...

    Yes agree on that every one investing in real states and government is not able to regulate stock market and no one want to invest in chor stock market now.

    Book idea is good...

    1. Market in going down and people investing in it without any knowledge loosing money so its "Chor" tomorrow when real estate will go down Like in 90's then they are "Chor".
      Well I think you get fooled Once you are innocent, fooled twice you are stupid and deserve it.

      Again Not intended @Pune Education but this is the story of every hard working salaried "Bechara". just because of lack of knowledge and unrealistic hopes/aspirations we get sucked in to this Black Hole.

    2. Oh.. And yes as a basic principle, In shares and real estate SOMEONE has to loose money for the OTHER to gain.
      and 80% ordinary people loose their money, so that 20 BIG Players(who have investment and analysts teams working for their money) will make FAT Profits.

  8. Do not write a book. The power of blogging and social media is great.
    Through this medium you can reach masses and change the current scenario in Kolhapur (and other places in the future)

    It is such a great city. Pity they do not have affordable housing.

  9. INVESTMENT is such a funny term.
    If I had 10L/20L/30L Rs then I can do Investment for my money.
    Taking a loan from bank and buying a flat is Investment for bank.

    and when you do have 20L best investment is FD, PPF, NSC or if you are lazy just keep it in savings account and earn 80,000 Per year (~7000 Per Month) without any hassle That's the beauty of India and that's how you make use of India's growth and GDP (In developed markets you earn 0.03% PA in a Fixed Deposit i.e 600 Rs in 1 Yr on 20 L investment).

    Real Estate, share market and Mutual Funds are not for common people who have limited knowledge of these subjects. Tom- Dick and Harry Investing here are making sure Builders/Brokers, FIA and Big Financial Institutions/ Industries get/use and make profit on your money. And you get the "HOPE" that your money will grow until its completely gone....

  10. Ravi, First Pune, then Mumbai and then USA...
    Nope going to USA and UK forever is now almost impossible due to visa restrictions.

    So, dont worry its just Pune and Mumbai.

  11. I still love my native place (Taluka place)-very serene, peaceful, good climate, no traffic, no pollution, cheaper vegetables, pure unadulterated milk and other commodities and hence would have surely preferred to buy home there. More importantly, it would be 3 times cheaper than Pune/Mumbai. But I don't have job available there and I cannot make to-and-fro journey of 150 km every day to reach my working place. So I am forced to stay in Pune and hence forced to buy my home in Pune. But my pocket does not allow me to buy my smallest dream home. Am I a Nobody?...I am scared. I don't want to be like one...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I am hoping your surname is "punekar" and if Yes you are not living to the expectations of your surname

  12. Ravi, reading your this log reminds me of a typical situation which Goa is going through where there is no IT at all or any big industries apart from mining and fishing companies combined with some mechanical companies, but the real estate is on boom as tourism is there, and the advantage is taken by the outsiders, NRIs and all other non goans are buying and pushing the real estate prices so up that the common local goan cant afford to buy a flat where he is born.

    In fact recent surveys showed that goa is the only state in india where real estate prices are corrected and increased in every 6 mths.

  13. To all losing hope, The real estate sector is credit induced and countries like japan and even the mighty USA could not keep pushing it cause of its core fundamentals , though i mostly felt by reading the kolhapur writeup that Mr Karandeekar is not just talking about real estate here but its effect on the society as a whole, and not to discourage him , yes his blogging is interesting , but writing a book is a different ball game , he can though surely give it a shot, and the real estate demon which has injected fear and hopelessness to my country's youth and folk, just keep your eyes open , the shit is about to hit the fan , Cheerio.

  14. Absolutely brilliant and touching. A guy who just wants respect and is being denied so because he can not afford to buy a roof over his head. And then we have politicians who have stopped caring about respect long time back and are floating neck deep in money.
    Such pain never subsides easily. The pressure is building up. Soon it will explode and the result won't be pretty.

  15. Logix Blossom Zest Noida the cheques and makes should be identified in give individual option to of M/s Logix City Developer Pvt. Ltd. and should be developed due at Noida/Delhi. Legal government costs and makes sure like, media tax etc.

  16. Hey Ravi,

    Do you really think, If real estate bubble in pune (leave about mumbai...its hopeless....) will ever burst? and 'nobody' will ever be able to buy a house for his respect.

    Amit Jog

    1. Dear Amit,

      1) Homes are available in Pune in all budgets from 5 lakh to 5 crore.
      2) Only property buyers can change the market.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.