This is the view from the bedroom in the new house.
Yes the house is unsettled and all of that. We moved in just two days back. Neither of us had any plans of moving to a new house till 6 days back. But strange things happened. Worth narrating.
Six days back, I was in Chennai. It was a Sunday and I was mostly sleeping because I was pretty tired of working over the previous three days that included a day’s shoot in Kochi. So it was a Sunday and my Goa house owner (let’s call him Duryodhan) called me to tell that electricity might be disconnected by discom officials, any time in the next few days! WTF? Duryodhan said he got to know about this only 2 days ago and he was neither able to reach out to me on phone or find me in my house over the past two days. Yes, I was traveling but biwi was home.
Anyway, so what is the solution?, I asked Duryodhan. He didn’t have any solution to propose! Why would the electricity go off, I wanted to know! ‘Because there is some old unsettled dispute between the previous owner (let’s called him Ravan) and the electricity department, regarding an allegedly unpaid bill of about forty thousand bucks’. At this point, let me share a bit of background. Which involves both the present house owner Duryodhan and the previous one – Ravan.
When we had moved to this sea-facing flat eight months ago, there was no Duryodhan in the scene. We found this flat through a broker, entered into an Agreement with Ravan – the then owner, paid him 75k as security and the first month’s rent and moved in. We had been living for few months when one day Ravan introduced us to Duryodhan and said he had sold the house to him. Duryodhan assured us there was nothing to worry about. ‘Do you plan to live here?’, I had asked Duryodhan. ‘No I have bought it only for investment purpose’, he had clarified. All that we were supposed to do was, instead of passing on monthly rentals to Ravan, start transfering it Duryodhan from next month onwards. Which was fine. Duryodhan did talk about entering into a fresh Agreement between him and us, but for some reasons that never happened. I myself didn’t bother about it too much. At least not until I realized there were only four more months to go before the 11 month lease expired.
Who would be returning to us the 75k security deposit? I had an Agreement with Ravan who was no more the owner. So I checked with Duryodhan and he said he would pay back the deposit to us when we leave. But what if he didn’t pay? Afterall, I didn’t have any contract with Duryodhan right? So I told him that we could either sign an Agreement with him (which clearly mentioned that Duryodhan would return to us the deposit that we had paid to Ravan), or alternatively, Duryodhan could simply deduce the last three months of rent from our security deposit (both amounts – three months of rent & security deposit, being the same). He agreed to the second option. And that friends, was the background. And so let’s go back to the call where Duryodhan tells me, electricity at my place might get disconnected!
I thanked Duryodhan for letting me know about this issue that had randomly popped up! If the electricity was going to go off, then we had to move to another house. I called up biwi in Goa, explained the problem to her and she cancelled her dance classes the next day to find a backup accommodation in case electricity actually did go off! Also, my nana-nani (grand-parents) arrived the same day. Bad timing for a problem like this – I know! I just hoped they didn’t have to face any problems because of this random problem thrown at us simply because Ravan had electricity bill problems!
To biwi’s great luck, by Tuesday, she found out that another flat in the same complex (where we lived) had become vacant only ten days ago! She managed to get contact of the owner (let’s call him Krishna) and he was okay with us moving to his flat. He was also fine with us first moving in and then paying him the security deposit / rent. I was still not in Goa. From Chennai I had moved to Vellore (for work). I would return only a day after. Biwi had been coordinating all of this.
Now that we had found a backup flat just next to where we already lived, I asked biwi to take her own sweet time in moving out to Krishna’s place. I was to return to Goa the next day and until electricity actually went off, there was no need for us to hurry. But things changed when Duryodhan showed up to help biwi move few things to the new house (as a favour) and biwi realized he actually expected her to fully vacate the flat the same day! In fact he showed up with another couple who had been told that they were to move in to our house the same day! WTF! What was happening here?? This is when biwi totally lost it. So Duryodhan had been throwing random shit about electricity to us all this while!
I spoke on phone and said whatever I could understand about the chaos, sitting miles way. Eventually, because of biwis’ persistence, Duryodhan left with the couple. All his lie aside, we had a simple logic – how could we move out when it was not clear to us that who would pay back the 75k security? Duryodhan promised he would get back with our money the next day. The couple came back later that evening to have a word with biwi and that’s when this weird scam of Duryodhan got exposed. The couple told biwi that they had bought the flat from Duryodhan few months ago! They were the owners! WTF again!
So Duryodhan had bougth the flat from Ravan and soon thereafter sold it off to this couple. I don’t know what this couple were told about how much rent we had been paying to Duryodhan all this while! Why would any owner let the ex-owner take away a hefty rent like ours? In any case, the couple had been told a week back that house would be ready for possession to them the day they finally showed up! And absolutely nothing like this was ever told to us! What a cheater and lier this Duryoadhan dude was! I still could not figure out why didn’t he simply give me a month’s notice to vacate instead of creating this false panic around electricity cut-off issue (this remains a mystery till date).
I reached Goa the next day. Duryodhan gave out 50k cash to biwi before I reached with the promise to hand over the balance 25k once I met him in the evening after the shifting was almost done. And that he did. And even before I could grill him on the lies he had told, he blamed it all on Ravan. ‘Ravan is a very bad person, now I know. He lied to me about this electricity thing. There was never an issue like that’, he lied some more. I had my money back and a house with a slightly better view (especially from the bedroom) without anymore brokerage involved. So I didn’t bother to point logical flaws in his deceitful stories.
I can only pray to God that he minimizes the need to ever transact with the likes of Duryodhans and Ravans again. The Krishna fellow seems like a nice chap though!
So that was the story about us moving to a new house. I am glad it happened swiftly. Especially because my nana nani were here when this happened. And I am glad biwi took care of most of the things. I also wish I were here when this happened. I took nana nani out in and around Panjim yesterday. And clicked few pictures!
‘Only when I look at myself in photographs do I realize I have grown old’, said nanaji. As he looked at himself in photographs. And chuckled.