The Man from Madras Musings was certain that the lull was temporary. He alludes to the brief hiatus in advertisements, brochures, in-your-face pamphlets and direct marketing calls from real estate companies hawking flats and homes in the distant peripheral areas of the city. Beginning last week, MMM noted with a sinking feeling (pun intended) that they were all back, and how!
It appears that price is the now the only criterion and many had begun to pun rather gruesomely on the subject. ‘Surprice’ said a full page ad in all the leading newspapers and just to show that the company had not given up on its original USPs, there were other messages dotting the page (after all when you take up a full page and have nothing more than pop-eyed model to show, you can write all that you want) – the usual key words were there – vista, one with nature, natural surroundings, away from hustle and bustle etc.
To all this MMM has only one question – when a householder (and by this term MMM means men and women) moves to a metropolis, the least such a person would expect would be hustle and bustle, and the last to be thought of would be vistas, nature (if you exclude those answering its calls on your compound wall) and open space. Then why go about making these claims that can neither be delivered nor be sustained? But that is the way of real estate. MMM is yet to come across a company that does not offer “3 luxurious bhk in gated community complete with swimming pool, shopping arcade and gym.”
How would it be on the other hand if these brochures mention that a year after moving in, residents will have to plan on closing the swimming pool owing to poor maintenance and lack of water, the gym will rust owing to poor usage and the shopping arcade will go bust as everyone will find that the all-purpose shop opposite is just that much better and possibly cheaper? The much-touted lake just opposite will soon be filled in and divided into housing plots, the water returning only when it rains, and fairly heavily at that. The only pure air you get to breathe will be when your neighbour stops cooking heavily spiced food and as for the birdcalls, these can be heard only if they are recorded as a ringtone on someone’s cell phone.
MMM however learns that there is greater awareness about such tall claims now slowly seeping in and so emptors are now more caveat than what they were before. Consequently, all these villas, spas and getaways are now marketing themselves rather desperately. MMM finds them calling at all odd hours, and short of nestling in the soap dish, you have them everywhere else – at malls, cinema theatres and, of course, inside newspapers – from where they jump out as flyers. Last heard, flats are now being sold at heavy discounts – you can apparently get an extra bedroom thrown in by simply agreeing to sign on the dotted line. Soon they may be willing to furnish the apartments at no extra cost.
Before someone accuses MMM of being an inner city snob who looks down at suburbia, let him also mention that the plight of realtors within Chennai is no better. One desperado has advertised his property and lists among its pluses the fact that it is close to the residences of the present and former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu!