A home is an overpriced geometrical block of concrete propped up on TMT bars. But then, isn't it meant to be more than that?
Homes are attention whores. They nag for daily check-ins, head-ache inducing repairs and are in perpetual need of a makeover. They are the proverbial 'white elephant' that guzzle the pennies you earn renting out your living hours.
If homes were humans, they'd be the gnarly ex who shows up years later, demanding the stained toothbrush they left behind.
Not to mention, owning a home, especially in India (where property rates have largely been flat over the past decade) makes little sense. However, for those born between the 1950s all the way until the mid-1980s, owning a home is typically seen as a status symbol and a safety net - a homelessness insurance to safeguard from the vagaries endured by millions in our country.
After scraping through high school, college and hauling their asses into a job, home-ownership is also the proverbial 'next step' in an Indian parents' take of their kid's life.
Such is our country's obsession with real estate, matrimonial classifieds would spell out how a family lives in their 'own home'. When you're paying per word for these classifieds, you know an Indian won't waste a syllable.
Urban millennials around the world bucked this trend, saving hundreds of billions in real estate costs to fund their next trip, next car, next outing or the next iPhone. For a generation dying off selfie-related accidents, it was a surprisingly sensible move!
Renters don't tie up their money, don't pay for repairs, have more bargaining power at work, have better flexibility during recessions (like the COVID-19 pandemic) and get the nice stuff that's often too expensive for buyers. Millenials generally love renting over owning despite the hassle of repeated relocation, which means a tonne of wasted time, money & energy.
For a generation so keen on 'living the moment', we sure have wasted truckloads of it hauling our asses into U-Haul trucks, shady tempos & disgruntled Uber XLs, moving houses to the point you feel like a camper, hitchhiking your way through cities, towns & even countries.
The effort it takes to pack, unpack, repack and move onto the next, and then the next, and then another house is simply draining. With so many of us (millennials & gen Z) forced to migrate to bigger cities in pursuit of better livelihood & lifestyles, our vagabond-ish lives also leave us (somewhat) emotionally homeless.
After some time, emotion overpowers logic. You want to 'sediment', to 'settle'. You want to ditch this reckless & relentless hustle in favour of a safe & snug refuge after the day’s grind.
But the next time you give into this urge of buying a home, remember, you're buying into an overpriced geometrical block of concrete propped up on TMT bars. It's plain stupid - the sheer amount you'll drown in 'owning' one, especially after the bank sucks every last pint of your blood. Its all in their 'interest'.
But then again, this blob of concrete will define your family's experiences, their memories & opportunities in life. And these are worth their weight in gold.
If you harbour dreams of buying a home, realise you're buying more than 4 blocks of concrete piled on another one, you're buying into a lifestyle. A lifestyle for you, your family and your grandkids (ancestral properties aren't taxed in most countries).
Once your family moves into a house, they breathe life into its walls. They make it a 'home'.
A house and a home are like twins separated at birth. Their similarily stops at their uncanny resemblance. The house is the runway model, the home the doting wife. The house is the late-night romp, the home the cuddle at dawn. The house is the guy who catches your eye at the bar, the home is the guy who cracks your family up over Sunday brunch.
A house is a statistic, a home defies logic. A house is an asset class, a home is a memory-making machine. A house is a possibility, a home is the reality.
A home is about family, about love and an excuse for celebration. It's the space you make babies in, and see them crawl through the floor into adulthood & beyond. This home will be the staple talent in the bazillions of photos you click in your lifetime.
Suddenly, you catch a lump in your throat calling it 'real estate'. It's unreal.
Even if you're the most disgruntled home-owner in the universe, there's something to be said about human ingenuity. We make meaning out of concrete.