What is it like to stay put for 50 years

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - ESTATES - Di­pan­jan Sinha di­pan­jan.sinha@hin­dus­tan­times.com

It’s gone from Bom­bay to Mum­bai to M MR, and some have watched all this change from the win­dows of the same house for over 50 years. Space, rent con­trol, sen­ti­men­tal­ity, even high ceil­ings are some fac­tors that have caused fam­i­lies to stay put.

For Mi­nal Thakore, 64, who lives in an an­ces­tral prop­erty in San­tacruz West, the neigh­bour­hood has changed, but mov­ing out is un­think­able.

“My great-grand­fa­ther first rented this space in 1936. It was then a two-s to rey bun­ga­low ,” she says. In the ’70s, the fam­ily bought the up­pers to rey while the own­ers con­tin­ued to live on the ground floor. A floor was added above theirs, over time. The Thakore’s flat is 1,650 sq ft with three bed­rooms and a roomy kitchen.

She says that while ear­lier the area had only one or two-sto­ried houses, there are many taller apart­ments now. Few open spa­ces re­main; these were once used for com­mu­nity fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions. There are many new peo­ple, many of whom re­main strangers, Min al adds, but old neigh­bours are still around too.

“We have never re­ceived any se­ri­ous of­fer to sell, pos­si­bly be­cause peo­ple know that we won’t,” Mi­nal says. “I don’t want to move at this age out of a house that is full of mem­o­ries.”

For Farzeen Khan, 27, who works as a cre­ative di­rec­tor of TV shows and ads, the fact that her house was spe­cial struck her when she grew up. “It is full of char­ac­ter. An­tique fur­ni­ture, pi­ano, ob­jects that tell stories about how we were,” she says.

Her great-grand­par­ents moved into the house int he 1940s. The build­ing with six flat sat Gir­gaum is main­tained by the Par see Pan­chayat and Khan’s fam­ily pays a nom­i­nal sum in rent Changes in the area mean that the main road right out­side is al­ways noisy; there’s more dust and pol­lu­tion ev­ery year. “But in ev­ery other way this place is a bless­ing,” she says.

In some cases, sec­ond houses bought as in­vest­ments have turned into pri­mary homes in prime lo­ca­tions.

“My grand­fa­ther bought our home in Mu lund in 1920. The doc­tor had ad­vised him to visit a green area reg­u­larly for his health,” says Anil Trivedi, 63, a Cus­toms clear­ing agent, whose house is right next to the Mu lund sta­tion.

The half-acre plot went in for re­de­vel­op­ment in 1991. The Tr ive di brothers now oc­cupy six flats.

“There was some talk of sell­ing be­fore the re­de­vel­op­ment, be­cause some fam­ily mem­bers were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to main­tain the struc­ture. Af­ter re­de­vel­op­ment there has been no such is­sue. Our fam­ily mem­bers are all well-es­tab­lished here now and we all gather here for fes­ti­vals,” he says.

Not ev­ery story of at­tach­ment to a space in the city is grand as Trivedi’s. Xulfee Sadri­wala’s fam­ily’s mem­o­ries are packed into a 150-sq-ft chawl room on Bara Imam Road near Chor Bazaar .“My grand­fa­ther moved in herein 1954. My fa­ther and two un­cles have grown up in the same room. The room has a bath area but no toi­let. The toi­let is shared by 10 peo­ple on this chawl floor,” says Sadri­wala, 26, a doc­u­men­tary film­maker.

“And if they have to buy a new place they will have to move as far as Va­sai. This is a rea­son why many peo­ple stick on in smaller homes in the city,” says Pankaj Kapoor, CEO of real-es­tate con­sul­tancy Li­ases Fo­ras. “The causes are gen­er­ally so­cial, eco­nomic or spa­tial. Some are wait­ing to see if the house goes in for re­de­vel­op­ment. If it does, they get a big­ger and bet­ter-fit­ted-out home at no ex­tra cost ” he says


In­stead of sell­ing their Mum­bai home bought in 1920, the Trivedis waited for re­de­vel­op­ment. They now own six flats in the tower.

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