Facing the Necessity of Moving

"OK," I say to myself, "But how do I do this?"  Where do I start?  Do we find a place to live first or sell the house first?  Breaking down the process to individual parts, or challenges, I see the following questions:

1. Where do we move?  Will it be temporary or permanent

2. How do we pay for a new home?

3. Will the goondas let us sell or will they try to occupy the house and prevent its sale? (This is common practice here — that you can't leave a house unoccupied for a minute or you can lose it.  I've have bought and sold property in Kolkata before.)

"OK," Now that I've broken down the process it really doesn't seem any easier, but I've taken some actions.  We have spoken to brokers in the community.  I've put a price on this house.  As is custom here (in the Goonda parts of Kolkata) the Agents will set their own price and will keep whatever they get above my asking price.    They will also try to cut my price to increase their profit.  The good part is that I understand the process, and that I'm a tough negotiator.  I've walked out of deals that were about to be made if I discovered something not right.  I'm more comfortable dealing with straight business people than with people who claim to be trying to help me and "take it personally" if I don't listen to them, or don't trust them.  And then they try to rally others to say, "we just want to help her," when they are just trying to get money.  So when this process started I was told that the Agents will want to make money.  I said, "Great! That's how it should be."

"When can people see the house?"  I said any time between 9:30 am and 8 pm.  I just need a few minutes of notice.  It's pointless to make appointments because then people don't show, or come late, and time is lost.  We can't "fix" up for an appointment.  We are functioning 24/7.

We have made appointments with two "real" agents from businesses that are online and claim to be full service.  We will see what they say.  Secrecy is the usual modus here with almost everything, but it doesn't serve me.  There IS no secret.  I learned to say in Bengali, "They threaten to kill me."  I won't say this to buyers, of course, but for all the people who gasp, "Oh Why?" this is my answer, since everyone here knows anyway.  I'm just not pretending.

UPDATE this evening — I'm trying so hard to stay cool.  I'm trying to ignore the loud music, and the constant fighting outside.  A little while ago though, I just couldn't stand it so I poked my head out.  The voices had been so loud and so close.  Well, it was my guard arguing with the locals as he was trying to buy a mobile phone from them.  Guards are not supposed to engage in any conversation with the Goondas or Junior Goondas.  But here he was, doing business.  We have had episodes in the past of our guards getting involved in illegal dealings while here.  And of course, the guards are offered alcohol by the goondas.  I yelled at him — probably will replace him — put in a call to his supervisor but his phone is switched off.  Security companies don't answer the phone at night.  Meanwhile the girls got up because of the noise and I reassured them all was fine, just the guard being an idiot.

Everyone I talk to, in US, from US, friends here, tells me they think I should have moved a long time ago.  Believe it or not, I'm pretty good at ignoring what's around me — and it has gotten worse. 

One of the possibilities we talk about is buying a floor of a highrise.  That is appealing in some ways, with security, no upkeep, etc.  But they might not want kids, or noise, and those things can be really bad if people don't like you.  In my heart, I want a house on a little piece of land with room for my cow and a pony for equine therapy, and this is total fantasy because my girls would not be safe in the countryside, nor would I be safe.  It's not the usual NGO question or orphanage question of where to locate, because it's about my home, where it will be, with my children. 

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe,

She had so many children she didn't know what to do.

And when they had to get out of the shoe,

They went to the seaside to have a good view.

I just made that up, and I have no idea where the seaside with a view is, but this makes me smile — a room with a view.  I guess that's what I have to tell the realtors… a view of the Ganges… dreaming on……





February 2011
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