Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh ! for a loan ?

Recession has brought the real estate prices down -so we thought, till, we started a reality check.Yes,the prices had slightly come down but not much.My hubby opined that this is the best time to go for a home loan as loan rates were coming down.What we hadn't bargained was that the loan procedure takes so long that the rates would have risen up again by the time the loan is finally disbursed .Or in some cases,loan may even be refused . After all action oops, go slow speaks louder than words, nope decreasing loan rates !

So,we applied for a loan from a leading private sector bank as my hubby banks with them.The creditworthiness check that we were subjected to has left us breathless- in agony that is.They wanted to know if the house we were staying was our own or on rent.If we already owned a house in that area ,why would we want to buy now in the same area - but such logic is lost with bankers.Moreover, after the real estate bubble burst,would we want to buy a house only for investment ?Anyway,we informed them, that we were staying at a relative's place & there was no rent agreement.This led the bank to believe that we had usurped that house.So they needed the power bill to confirm that the bill was being paid & in the relative's name only.Next,they asked for our house property details. We had brought a flat in a distant suburb more than 10 years back & now it is rented out.The bank wanted the lease agreement we had with our tenant & the telephone bills as also the power bills again to ascertain the veracity of our statements.The bank agent also called up our tenant to enquire about their landlord & were curtly told by the tenant that the bank better check up with us rather than with them.The reason our tenant refused to divulge information was that he thought that we must have suppressed this information from the tax authorities. This added fuel to the suspicions raging in the mindset of the bank.

The bank also kept on asking us if we had taken any loans earlier & we answered in the negative.They were not convinced- they kept on demanding all the details of all the bank accounts.We realised that being in debt is a blessing indeed -of the financial kind that is.I was reminded of my professor at Law College who reminded us now & then that "All are not lucky to be declared bankrupt.Only those who have a retinue of cars & wives are declared bankrupt."

To confirm that we were in actual need of a housing loan, we had a personal meeting with their loan manager & his parting words were,"We have in principle agreed to sanction your housing loan."As days turned into weeks & then into months,we understood that "in principle" need not be followed in practice !On second thoughts,maybe we need to improvise on our understanding of the English language oops, Banking jargon !

My hubby is touring most of the time & hence,when he is out of town,I attend to all queries by the bank.Hence,the bank has never seen us together.Therefore, the bank wanted us to execute a power of attorney as per their format.The general power of attorney which we submitted was brushed aside by the bank as they were sure that I was not the wife of the customer & even if I was,we were separated. We are still very much husband & wife but if the attitude of the bank persists like this,I am sure,very soon,I would be filing for divorce!

I got the power of attorney by a procedure that would even shame late Telgi,the stamp duty scamster. But then, this is how we gain experience,albeit of the wrong kind ?! After all this,my hubby had to submit his employment certificate & other documents. Finally,the bank said that we had passed the creditworthiness test.

Then,the bank agent inquired if we would take a look at properties which were preapproved by the bank.We then had to tell that we had tried umpteen times with the bank to give us a list of the same but to no avail.The bank agent then had the audacity to ask if we were ready to do part payment in cash.He said this had to be done in certain cases as the builder will demand so.We thought that due to recession,banks had decided to give reimburse even such unaccounted money but were told that it was not so. We now harbor a nagging suspicion about the agent- that he is an estate agent in the disguise of a bank agent.

The bank has cautioned us that the title deeds scrutiny will take a minimum of two months.They very wisely left the maximum period this may take to our wild ,sorry wildest imagination going by what we have gone through till now.

Then we negotiated with a builder & asked him to submit his papers to the bank for verification of his antecedents & for the legal scrutiny of the property papers. Of course,we told the builder that the bank can be impolite lest he get a feeling that we & the bank had formed a consortium !In that case,the price of the flat would have shot up many times over !

The process is still continuing but now we are in no hurry as all this loan procedure has taught us detachment which years of meditation & prayer could not.We are indeed indebted to the bank for reasons other than the yet to be disbursed loan.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The empathetic Boss.

 I had joined a public sector company as an officer.I was young & naive- so much so, that I would sign on the dotted line without anticipating the result /s.The seniors  were unhappy as they realised that with my posting ,their promotions would lead them to transfers.One senior would regularly ask me to file papers in claim files.I would comply, as I felt, that it would make me  feel useful .I was to learn slowly & surely, that all officers in Public sectors were glorified peons .So filing papers was a natural trait ! I was being simply told to hone up inherent skills.

This happened after  one year,  after I had joined the said moffusil branch office as the only officer other than the Branch manager.A senior officer from the head office came in along with a team, to check some claim files.As he sat scrutinizing the same,he came across various irregularities, both significant as also insignificant ones.One claim in particular, had been a problematic one as no officer had signed on the relevant documents.As I was the only officer around at that time, the senior officer called me & started cross- examining me.He opined that I had erred by not signing. This ,he concluded, was the root cause of the aforesaid claim.So he started persuading me to put in my signature. I was in a dilemma- I did not know the ways of the public sector & I felt I had to obey the senior officer in the order of hierarchy but I still could not understand the mistake on my part.I had not idea about the claim.I had only been there for a little more than a year. Still, I refused to sign but found no reasons to back up my stand.I was under tremendous pressure & ultimately,sensing, that there was no escape ,I signed.

Very soon, a new manager came to head our department. He was considerate as also kind.He seemed to share an empathy with the staff & the officers.The said claim file landed on his table for finalisation.He went through the contents. He called me up & made inquiries.When he realised that I had signed under duress,he promised that he would rectify it in such a manner that I would not face any problem whatsoever.He also cautioned me against behaving similarly in the future.He stated that one should ask for time in such cases & then act accordingly after a lot of thought.He also assured me that I could call him up whenever I encountered such situations.I was overwhelmed by his concern.Later,he called me up, to inform me that he had taken due care about the said file.He told me  to stop worrying about it.

Then ,he helped me further, as he asked me if I was not commuting a long distance from home to office.I had been commuting for nearly 40 kilometres to office on a daily basis  & this had continued for 2-3 years.I agreed but replied that I saw no way out.He said ,he would see that I got transferred to an office nearer my home.He was as good as his word.His efforts paid off & I was transferred to an office  very near to my home.He took care to see that I was shifted without any written request from me .A written request from my side would have complicated matters.

Very soon , I was promoted.This was all due to his efforts at  giving me an outstanding confidential report .He was like that only -full of care & concern for others .He often commented that he sympathised with all ladies who commuted from home to offices in a metro as they had to slog on both the domestic as also the office fronts.

The sympathetic manager was later transferred to another office.All the staff & officers bid him a heartfelt goodbye,as he had become one of us.He taught us that being kind at office to subordinates works wonders ! I did imbibe these qualities from him.Ever since,I have tried to be understanding of my subordinates concerns & problems.This in turn, has made my office relationships stronger.This has later transformed into respect for me.It remains so, to this day, even though I am only a home maker now.I have tried to be concerned about my maids ,the doodhwala ,the dhobi,& others.I try not to test their patience.I have been enriched by being considerate.Moreover,this has become mutual now, as they all, also return it  in kind.

 I recently heard, that the said manager  has shifted to the private sector.I am sure,he is spreading his kindness there around as well.May his tribe increase & spread far & wide.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The radio


I am a big fan of the radio.My radio is always on full volume.My mother is always chiding me for this habit of mine. As I do not want to listen to my own thoughts,I insist on keeping the radio running at the maximum volume.Maybe, I will go deaf but that also has an advantage - no words will hurt me then onwards.

I have been a regular listener of Vividh Bharathi earlier but now with so many FM stations,I have switched loyalties but I am partial to the state radio stations.This is due to the fact that they play old hindi film songs which I adore.The private stations usually play new songs which I may like but not as much as the older ones.

I also listen to Marathi songs especially the old ones though Marathi is not my mother tongue nor the language I converse in.I have just developed a liking for it having stayed in Mumbai for the last 25 years.I particularly love the bhav geets & even the soulfully rendered bhajans especially the ones praising Lord Vithala-the presiding deity of Pandharpur.

Radio plays songs & the music in fact, helps me to work with enthusiasm be it dusting, cooking , writing or even surfing the net.Also,radio helps me to keep track of time.When the radio is on,I don't feel lonely.I love the voices of the announcers & feel at home with them.The FM radio stations give various pieces of information like major news events as also the traffic situation.The state radio stations broadcast information about the weather as also the arrival & departure of trains on a daily basis.Also I can listen to the news broadcasts at regular intervals on the national radio stations.

My daughter keeps telling me to switch to a channel wherein they play the latest hit songs & my hubby simply asks me to switch off the radio.My better half opines that the noise of the radio interferes with his thought process.Well,atleast one thing is clear- he thinks ! I was of the view that the male of the homo sapiens is a man of action & not words ! But my love affair with the radio continues.The radio never interferes with my routine -it actually is a perfect background to which I have got attuned.

In conclusion,I am reminded of the matrimonial advertisement in which my father had stated that I liked assorted light vocal music.My brother had later explained to my fiance that this meant that I was an avid listener of Hindi film songs.My hubby keeps telling me that he has never felt so cheated by the words used in the advertisement.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The courier fellow.

The bell rang as I was just going to savor my first morsel of lunch.I get flustered with such interruptions.I whined & said to myself,"Why such things always happen to me ?I can't even have my lunch in peace."I opened the door.He was there with a bag slung from his shoulders prominently displaying the local courier company wherein he was employed.

"Madam,your courier- you have to sign here."I said,"You have to wait.I have to wash my hands."He understood & was immediately apologetic,"So sorry,Madam.I did not notice.Please tell your name & phone number & I will leave your packet on the table here.I don't like disturbing anybody during lunch."He wrote my name & phone number in his register & was gone.I was touched by his consideration.

I kept thinking about him as I ate my lunch.He was only a courier fellow but his empathy with me was just unbelievable.I realized that he was a good human being first & foremost to behave like the way he did.

Some days later,I spotted him doing his job at the office of the courier company which is on my way to the local market.Though,he was engrossed in sorting the packets,a smile played on his lips.

I bumped into him again after a few days as he had come to drop a courier at my neighbour's house. I had just landed on the floor after a shopping spree,wherein I reside,when I met him. My neighbour's home was locked & I was unlocking my house.He enquired,"Madam,has your neighbour gone out of station ? Nobody seems to be home."I replied,"No, they keep travelling between their two homes - this one & another situated nearby.""That is fine-if you don't mind,can I please write your name & phone number in my register & drop the letter in their post box?"I nodded & gave the details.I was amazed at his thoughtfulness.He slid the letter into their post box & went on his way.I sat pondering at the fellow.He was so thoughtful- he never wanted to be a bother to anybody.I felt, he deserved a better future than being a courier man.But while he was at his simple job,he was making life pleasant for all those who came in contact with him.He was delivering happiness & joy all around.I felt, that I ought to emulate at least this simple trait of smiling from him if not his thoughtfulness.Maybe, as smiling becomes second nature to me ,I would also become as kind as him.

I think,such people only make the journey called life worthwhile.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Balloons & birthdays.

Yesterday,my daughter turned nine.So,again,we had to have a b'day party,my kid insisted.I find all this quite a task- I have absolutely no interest in all such things but then kids compel us & we have to just give in.

I told my kid that she better call girls who are staying in our building only.She gave me a list of some eight girls & I invited them all.The menu was also small -akin to the common minimum programme of our political parties which they never deliver but I am not so lucky.I had to get the cake,the wafers,the pizza & the chocolates.

So the preparations began- gave the order for the cake & pizza & got wafers, choclates, paper plates,balloons,plastic spoons,paper napkins,etal.My friend & her daughter who are very close to both of us came in the afternoon to help us- in fact ,it would be more appropriate to state that my friend works like the host & I behave like the guest on my daughter's b'day party.My efforts depict or rather display my feelings or rather lack of it for such events & more.

We hung the streamers & tried to blow the balloons- it was impossible.None of us were able to blow even a bit of air into any of them.We were trying hard but to no avail.We were just left huffing & puffing.My kid insisted, that I had got the wrong ones which I flatly refused to acknowledge as such.But I also started doubting if I had brought water balloons but then the shopkeeper was at fault, not me.Then, my kid started stretching the balloon like an elastic & then blew it up.It was superb! We were really thrilled ! My daughter showed us all how she did it & we all followed suit.All the colorful balloons were soon hanging around the drawing room giving it that distinct birthday look.

My daughter taught me that sometimes a task like blowing a balloon may also require that correct technique & may have to be learnt from somebody younger than you.In effect, a task may not be as simple as it looks- appearance can be deceptive!Any body could teach us provided we are open & receptive.Looking at the colorful balloons made me also jump with gay abandon! It was just like the balloons full of bounce ! Filled with the joy of life !

I realised , my daughter is really grown up.I wonder like all parents that my daughter is growing up too fast.After all - from the next year onwards,her age will be in two digits.
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