July 2011, I turned 28. By then, I had worked at many places in India including Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgaon, Delhi, Noida & abroad. I decided to shift from Gurgaon to Bangalore. Life continued to be cool. Had a handsome salary and no major commitments. Run the bike, till fuel in the bike, was the defining statement.
Our lunchtime conversations at Bangalore office were more interesting. They spanned across many topics including rising real estate prices. At one of those conversations, Srithar said – “I am searching to buy a house, for many months. Either they are out of budget or out of the city”. Srikanth replied – “House in Bangalore is a near impossible matter”. I echoed him – “With rising inflation and highly volatile IT industry, I am afraid to commit for 20 years of a loan”. But, Santhosh replied – “Don’t you think rents are increasing as ever? And there is no respite in that”. A flurry of thoughts & discussions on real estate busied us at lunch table, for the next 2 weeks. One thing became very clear. The more we delayed buying a house, the greater would be the risk. I too decided to look one for myself.
Considering my salary that time, 25-30Lakhs seemed a luxury upper limit. For the next 3 months, house hunt was my only priority. Very soon I realized, even 30Lakhs wasn’t sufficient for a house in reachable proximity, decent size, and good amenities. With some self-console, I stretched my limit till 35Lakh. To get a feel, I checked a few worth up to 60Lakhs as well. Some were superbly designed but way beyond my budget, some were within my range but in horrendous locations and some others were in decent locations but without any amenities. Finally, I shortlisted 13 properties. I rang my dad & relayed him all the details. He traveled to Bangalore. We revisited those 13, researched further and picked top 5.
One was an obvious first choice for both of us. A humongous 7-acre property, calm location, a pleasant natural lake adjacent to property, mesmerizing landscape, marvelous high rise buildings, magnificent full length swimming pool, grand party hall, splendid play courts, and fantastic other amenities. On the outskirts of property, big dense trees on either side beautified all roads. During spring, these roads resembled Ooty’s hilly streets. It’s less than 2 km to prime center, hospitals and schools nearby & of course a branded builder. Fitness, greenery, social circle, tranquil lifestyle and easy commute all together pictured a dream come true. But, it carried a hefty price tag of 52Lakhs. And additionally, a car park, clubhouse fees etc. added to a whopping total of 57Lakhs.
I had some savings. Dad said, he will add in some more. But I was still short of 43Lakhs. Looking at my salary, Bank conditioned a loan for a tenure of 30 years instead of 20 years.
Next 3 weeks, were a sheer fight between my heart and brain. They acted east & west.
Brain said – “What if I lose my job? That’s way beyond my absorbable capacity.” But my heart was stuck with the top choice.
Heart questioned – “If not now, then when? It’s such a beautiful society, with all amenities to enjoy life.”
Brain – “What if…, what if…, what if…? I will put my family at heavy debt. Is it really worth that risk?”
Heart – “Why not? It’s a pleasure to all senses. And moreover, life is as you live it.”
Brain – “Will I want to pay a loan for the next 30 years. Will I be fit enough to work till formal retirement?”. That was an epitome checkmate question.
Heart had no answer.
Brain didn’t accept the top choice but heart didn’t settle for any others. In despair, I left all of them. Still, the subconscious battle continued. It was nothing less than Kurukshetra. Finally, a very strong intuition vowed – “Go for it. You will find a way, to manage your financials”. That was enough for me. I pushed off the scary high cliff. I had no clue on the means and the way forward. But, I made the decision, booked a flat. Applied for loan and formalities continued.
From then, the first year was terrific. Since the decision was already made, I started re-calculating all possible ways to get out of this awful 30-year bondage. I read many blogs on dealing with loans. Systematically planned my payments. To start with, I paid Rs 10,000 extra every quarter, towards the loan repay. I changed my gears, switched a couple of companies. Slowly, I kept increasing my extra repays. All my bonuses and salary hikes went straight into loan repayments. Strategically planned for a long-term onsite. Tardily and steadily, things worked my way. Every passing year, I could see the fear diminish.
Today, as I write this article in July 2018, I have closed my loan. A dreadful image of a mammoth 30year lock-up, drained away in less than 7 years. That too, without much of a compromise in my regular lifestyle, family life, passions, and vacations. Now, I am in lookout for another Kurukshetra.
Intuition is a reverberating internal voice for the action of hope. When I look back, it made me jump off the cliff, only to make me a better glider. In the gravest of the hopes, SC Bose went out to build INA to fight British. In the slimmest of opportunities, MS Dhoni left his railway job to pursue his cricketing career. In weirdest of promises, A Kejriwal contested for Delhi CM position. There are plenty of such examples. When they took decisions, it must have been their absolute intuition. It is only now when looked back, we can connect the dots and associate their success.
One of the easiest ways to make an indecisive decisions is to listen to your Intuition & Heart. If your intuition is strong for any decision or an action, just go with it. Then apply your brain to figure a way out. Don’t fear Statistics & History. They are meant to be recreated & revised. At worst, if things go wrong, at least you will never regret not hearing your own self. It definitely gives you a chance to exercise your full potential. Eventually, that adds to the confidence to tackle the next big thing, take the next big decision and ride the next big wave.