23 June 2011

HOUSE HUNTING NEAR HITEC eh? तो ये पढो ...

If you've got a job somewhere in/around HITEC-Madhapur-Gachibowli areas of Hyderabad, and if you are soon to be flat-hunting, you might want to read this post. Yours truly, spent enough time flat-hunting to memorize names of all the roads, bus-stops, chowkis and landmarks around there. No mean feat, you'll realize, if I let you in on some names - Kothaguda, Kondapur, Masjidbanda, Durgam Cheruvu, Shilparamam, Kukatpally and so on. The list is long.

On a not-so-different note, if you're a Dilli vaasi, you'll find the auto rates around here insane. They ask for 60 bucks around here for a simple 4km commute. I mean, that's what their starting quote is. You might bargain and reach a consensus at 40. But the positive is that you'll find shared autos aplenty. Cheap.

What sort of a flat do you want? 3bhk (bedroom-hall-kitchen), 2bhk or 1? Decide. Next, depending on your budget and location of office, you need to decide which area you're most interested in getting a flat. A few options available, among many others are: 

Madhapur, HITEC city, Gachibowli, Kondapur, Miyapur, Sheikhpet, Kukatpally and so on.

Flats around Madhapur/Hitec city are 2k to 8k more than counterparts elsewhere. Let's take the case of 3BHK flats. You can get them for around 20k (semi-furnished) at Madhapur/HITEC city. The same at Kondapur would be anything between 16 and 19 at Kondapur.  And at places like Sheikhpet you might even get a fully furnished 3BHK flat for around 15-17, and a semi furnished one for around 10-12k. What you obviously have to factor in before zeroing in on any house are the cost and time of commuting. Very important. Also check whether water is a problem or not. And most residential complexes have generators for power-back up. These are accounted for in your rent when they charge you a thousand bucks every month apart from the rent as 'maintenance charges'. There's a system of paying 2 months' rent as a down payment - refundable at the time of leaving. And a weird system of paying running rent at the start of each  month. Happens only in this strange place, it seems. Where people let the builders and brokers dictate the rules. Brokers charge commission ranging between 15 to 20 days' rent. There's a very visible nexus between brokers and builders. And the brokerage business here seems to be a Muslim-dominated business. Remember, that when you call a broker, suffix 'bhai' to his name. 

You get all sorts of ads for To-Let in the classifieds of the newspapers. Deccan Chronicle is very popular around here. So you'll find a lot more options with DC. Check online too, on http://www.sulekha.com/ and other such websites. 

The other option is the broker. Ahem...I know you cringe at the thought. As if they're meant only for capitalizing on your ignorance. Give it to them folks. After all, they're providing you much needed service. But I'll tell you what to look out for in a broker. Classic stay-away-froms:

1. ऊपर  वाले flat में पांच लड़कियाँ रहती हैं...बढ़िया है . Only 16k. ले लो  

2. आप कभी भी लड़कियाँ ले आ सकते हो flat में.... (We found later that that particular residency had water and power problems!)

3. मै आपको 3 बढ़िया options दिखाऊँगा, मगर 200 रुपये Service Charges हैं. बाद में brokerage से हटा लेना. मुझे petrol के लिए चाहिए. Fielding करूँगा 2 दिन. फिर phone कर दूंगा आप को (In most cases, when you give your specifications for the flat, and if the broker doesn't have anything matching them, he'll still pocket the 200 bucks and show you around houses that you surely won't opt for) 

4. If you don't talk to the broker about the brokerage before he starts showing you the options, he might later up his brokerage after seeing you have liked a flat and are almost pukka about it. Be clear on the brokerage beforehand. 50 percent of a month's rent is just a rule and rules don't mean much here.

Happy Hunting!


Some useful telephone numbers:

1. Ritesh (broker) 09885203367
2. Usmaan Bhai (broker) 09391669421
3. Mir Ali (broker) 09985473786
4. Salim Bhai (Refrigerators, Washing Machines, TVs for rent) 09885411911
5. Rent O Rent (home appliances, mattresses for rent) 09440877692

the GuyNextDoor

09 June 2011

ये AGUMBE क्या चीज़ है?

YES, this blog post is with reference to my trip to Agumbe, and NO, Agumbe is NOT in Africa! And YES, 'Malgudi Days' was definitely shot here. If you’re not from Karnataka, then there’s a 9 in 10 probability that you’re hearing of Agumbe for the first time. And even if you’re from Bangalore, I would say it’s 7 in 10.  Saying that Agumbe is a camper's delight would not suffice. You have to experience it. I hope that Agumbe remains the camper’s well-kept secret, just as Kasauli  was for Delhiites. 

Now  this blog post has nothing to do with the information that you can get 

It’s about what mindset you need to carry along when you’re headed for Agumbe. The trekking requires some stamina, so if you’re not fit enough, you might get tired too early into the trip. We were 3 guys and we must have burned a great deal of calories in our 2-day Mission Agumbe. We stayed at a certain Mallya Residency, and the guy who sits there confessed that he had never seen anyone do all that trekking so fast! (We wanted to cover as much as possible and did some tight bargaining to that end) We covered all the main areas for 2700 bucks – 900 per head. If you’re a large gang, Agumbe is the best place to go on a camping trip. There is a local old guy (I forget his name, so let’s henceforth refer to him as Old Guy) to show you around. He does the job well. And there is a Hotel Guruprasad – with a Brahmin couple making home-made vegetarian food. They’re very sweet people and lovingly make you eat the food. I remember the meal just cost 30 bucks. Memorable! Old Guy who tagged along with us made us visit some local households too. After all, the people know one another very well, a village that it is. Sixty families in the village, was what Old Guy  told us.

Snakes. Well, you might see them every once in a while. They can sense human presence and they aren’t of any harm since they prefer staying away. Wild dogs roam about the forests. It’s best to go around with a local as guide if you’re a first-timer or even a second-timer to the forests of Agumbe.

Sunset Point, BarkanaJogi GundiKoodlu Theertha, KundadriUnakke Abbi, and Sunrise Point were the places that we covered in less than 48 hours that we spent there. Trekking was actually a pre-requisite to get to some of the names mentioned above. A fantastic experience altogether. NEVER EVER miss the sunrise point if you’re at Agumbe. What you get to see is other-worldly.

I and my friends made the most out of the trip. For one thing, I’ve lost all fear for snakes slithering past me when walking through dense bushy areas.

I personally recommend Mallya Residency (opposite Bus stand) for your stay and itinerary planning at Agumbe. He can be contacted at  9448759363. Or 08181-233042. And send Old Guy my namastes

Some Stills from Agumbe -

the GuyNextDoor

PS: I just remembered. Old Guy's name is T J Naik. Some Naik, that's for sure.