Ripples of my Reflections

I think, therefore I write

How I designed a house that I will never live in

To know why I did this, you can read this interesting prequel.

…..On a side note, at some point when it felt like we were going ahead with the flat, we stumbled upon a website that lets you build a 3D model of your house based on the floor plan. I didn’t think I had it in me to do it but I built the flat in 3D using that website and learned a lot in the process. Ironically enough, I didn’t do it for the villa even after the deal was done. Maybe I will try it in the process of renovation. Anyway, the 3D modeling of the flat was fun and it warrants a separate post. I will write about it in a sequel of sorts…….

Continued
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and is just my experience with a 3D house modeling website that I stumbled upon.

Sweet Home 3D lets you design a house in 3D, add interior furnishing and visualize the final look. You can take a virtual tour of navigating the rooms and view it in many different angles. It is much similar to the 3D models that interior designers might show you. After poking around, I decided to use the online version that requires you to create a login.

I started with drawing the floor plan of the 3 BHK flat mentioned in the prequel post. I drew the floor plan first with lines, as it would be in bird’s view. These lines would become walls in 3D. I was able to create the walls and rooms with almost the same dimensions as the flat. It helped me imagine how big the rooms would actually be and how much space can be allotted for furniture. I have trouble visualizing space from memory. Photos and videos help but they are not enough. So this tool was a godsend for me.

Soon enough, I had the entire 3D model of the flat as it was when we visited it. I started incorporating the custom design changes that I wanted to request the builders. I could save multiple copies with modifications from the base template. I saved a model for the basic floor plan as it existed, one with my custom changes, and then one with furnishing.

Once rooms and walls were done, I proceeded to the next step of adding wardrobes, cabinets, furniture, and markers for electrical and plumbing points. The options for these were limited but I used whatever was available and repurposed the options that I didn’t use as placeholders for the ones I wanted. I was very surprised to find out that I could add furnishings like curtains, lights, fans, and even most of the electrical appliances that a household needs.

Very soon, I had a miniature 3D model of how the flat would look if I was living in it. I was astonished at how I had completed all of it in a matter of a few days. I had not even referred to the documentation, tips and tricks that the website hosts. It was easy enough to figure out with no training. I played around with the controls and figured it out in about an hour. If you want to visualize your new home or even want to renovate your existing home and can’t yet figure out how things will turn out, try this. It definitely gives you clarity.

So after I almost lived in the flat, at least in my mind and the model, we ended up not purchasing the flat. I wrote a post – A tale of two houses, on why we didn’t purchase it after investing so much effort. The short answer is the power of destiny!

After I went through the entire house hunting journey, I formed a funny analogy in my mind about this flat that we didn’t purchase and the villa that we did purchase.

To me, the villa is like a life partner. They have their flaws and you have yours. Despite the odds, you get to know each other, work on the relationship, make a few changes to mould each other for a happy life. It lasts long and stands the test of time because you put in the effort.

The flat is like a first crush. You saw it, loved it, and wanted it. You would even spend some time on it because you didn’t know better. You will never forget it and it will always hold a special place in your heart. But in reality, life has other plans. More often than not, it does not withstand the test of time and crashes to the ground as gloriously as it began.

I had my first crush turn into a life partner already in my life. For it to happen a second time with my dream home would have been too redundant and even boring. Even in that experience, although hubby was my first crush, we met our fair share of troubles to ensure that we stood the test of time.

In the end, I am glad that I made a practical decision. In fact, I surprised myself and hubby in doing so because that is so not my style. I am glad that I was able to step out of my impulsive mind and think about the options objectively. And that is the biggest take away for me in this journey.

Until later 🙂

A tale of two houses

For many years now, it has been my dream to buy a bigger, better place to live in. Most of it stemmed from the fact that there were a lot of restrictions for me when I bought my first flat and I was neck deep in many other things to do it properly. Not to mention the fact that I was just starting out and lacked experience in building a dream home. A few years and a kid down the lane, I decided that as much as our flat was a great first home, it was not going to be my last.

So when the timing was right, we started house hunting. We just started looking casually and decided to get serious when we had options worth considering. I am unsure whether to call it luck, but soon enough, we stumbled upon some good candidates for our dream home. This post is about two of those which made the cut but were so starkly different that we could not make up our mind for a long time. One was a 3 BHK flat that, was in an apartment society, would let us be first owners, involved relocation, was very far from work. The other was a 3 BHK duplex villa that, was in a gated community, would let us be second owners, was just a stone’s throw from our current place and hence would be near to work.

To make things interesting, I had a history with the 3 BHK flat. Many years back, I had attended the house warming ceremony of a relative and had fallen in love with the flat. I loved that it was spacious, a layout that allowed me to imagine my dream home. You could call it love at first sight and I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my dream to a better home was conceived there. When I started dreaming about a bigger and better place more often, the image of a dream home was one similar to that flat.

Years had passed and I didn’t think any new flat would be available for sale in that society but I still checked with our relatives about it when we started our house hunting. Much to our surprise, one last flat was available and it met all our requirements. The problem was that I hadn’t seriously considered about the distance from work, the connectivity to various parts of the city and the relocation involved. Like I said, it was love at first sight. Not much thinking was involved :). We tried searching for a similar flat in our preferred locality but in vain. Either we didn’t like the flat or the price was too high for its worth. So we started mentally preparing ourselves to deal with the distance from work and relocation logistics to take the deal forward with this flat.

But we were dealt a different set of cards. Every attempt we made to purchase that flat was thwarted by destiny. Either the seller was going after another purchaser or he changed his mind about the price or he wad not responsive to our interest in the house. Adit was able to accept that maybe it was not meant to be but I couldn’t let it go. I felt like I had not given my best effort as we were yet to receive a straight and strong NO. It felt like it was doable but slightly out of reach. I felt that I am yet to give my best shot before ceding.

While we were making these attempts, the lead for the villa opened up. I will be honest – I had difficulty falling in love with the villa like I did with the flat. Of course, the flat had a couple years to its credit as I had spent some time dreaming about it. My usual pros and cons list didn’t aid me much because the two options were in very different leagues. The price, the scope of renovation, the independence, the design of the house, the locality – everything was so starkly different that we couldn’t draw up a fair comparison between the two to choose one over the other. So we let the threads run in parallel hoping that when it comes to the wire, we would be able to choose.

Maybe our dilemma was too much for the universe that it intervened. Every time we would make a move forward with the flat, something happened to make us consider the villa. Every time we hit a hurdle with the villa deal, I used to pursue the flat because that’s where my heart still was. Adit warned me to take it slow and not to get caught up in it but I couldn’t help myself. However, every move of mine towards the flat triggered something and the universe pulled me back to the villa by offering an advantage that was not there before. It happened so many times that it would have been hilarious if I were not so close to the problem. And then finally, both were available to us if we wanted it and we had to decide. Adit was confused as well but he was able to look at it objectively. I had trouble doing the same. Even if one of us decided one way, we gave enough weightage to the other’s vote that the original decision was scraped. Eventually we chose to be practical and decided on the villa together. Traveling long distances to work is not something Bangalore dwellers can take lightly.

I believe in karma and destiny to some extent – more in the former than in the latter. This entire experience was about the pull of destiny for me. I had sleepless nights, shed many tears out of frustration, and cursed myself for nurturing such a dream that took every bit of mental and physical strength that I had. However, I understand that when I do build that dream home of mine and move into it, I know it will all feel worth the hassle. I am definitely grateful for the experience. There is a mound of work in the form of renovation, fixes waiting for me and there is a race track full of hurdles for me to reach that sweet spot of living comfortably in my dream home, but I am grateful that I have learnt a lot and that I was resilient in pursuing this dream. Also, I am incredibly grateful for the privilege to be able to consider building a dream home, a second time.

On a side note, at some point when it felt like we were going ahead with the flat, we stumbled upon a website that lets you build a 3D model of your house based on the floor plan. I didn’t think I had it in me to do it but I built the flat in 3D using it and learned a lot in the process. Ironically enough, I didn’t do it for the villa even when the deal was done. Maybe I will try it in the process of renovation. Anyway, the 3D modeling of the flat was fun and it warrants a separate post. I will write about it in a sequel of sorts.

Until later 🙂

He/Him/His

Happy international men’s day to all the men!

Today, I wrote a little something as a wish to all the men in my life.

The identity that bears a lot of expectations
Self-made and imposed, to be perfect and strong
Many times crucified and forced to justify with #NotAllMen

The identity that is pushed into shadows
Trying to stay balanced for true equality
Worries, tears, and fears that go unexpressed
Because the society expects it to be so

Know on this day, if not on others,
That #NotEveryone demands perfection
We don’t want you to shun your fears and tears
But we’d rather be a part of it
For this world is a place for everyone.
Happy international men’s day!

I admit that I didn’t know that there was a men’s day for a long time. But I stumbled upon it a couple of years ago and wondered the lack of hype around it. The answer was clear. Media heaps so much focus on women’s day and mother’s day but it is still catching up with regards to the opposite sex. And the reason being that there is easy attention in women’s day themes than those for men’s day.

So ever since I knew, I have made it a habit to acknowledge and wish the men I know. The responses would be mixed bag. Some would not know that such a dedicated day to men exists. Some would be astonished and feel that it is just for namesake. Some would joke about it. Some would thank me for it.

Every year on March 8 and November 19, I don’t do anything special but just remember to wish people accordingly. I don’t need these days personally but there might be someone out there who needs them. If only to stop and take a moment for themselves. If only to remember that their struggles don’t go unnoticed. If only to feel appreciated for a day – be it a man or a woman. Everyone has their weak and strong moments. There doesn’t need to be a gender label associated with it.

Until later 🙂

Surreal

Aditi is already 3.5 years old. Where did the time go? I feel like I was just holding her in my arms, trying to squeeze my little finger into her closed fist.

It’s been more than a year since the pandemic started. It feels much much longer that we are living with shut doors, masked faces, and a handwashing or sanitizing habit that we will never forget for eons to come.

I am on a team meeting with my colleague. I suppose he has a 2 screen setup. He looks out at me from the side screen, while I look at the side view of his face. Such a thing would have caused a real mayhem with my parents, who have not taken to technology kindly. But virtual meetings, toggling video, mute/unmute have become muscle memory now for us.

Aditi already knows how to handle her online classes. The only surprise for me is her level of interest in it. It was a pleasant shock to see her more interested in the online classes than her parents. She knows how to mute and unmute as needed, switch on and off her video for breaks, and leave the zoom meeting after the class is over. 2 months into it and she technically doesn’t need me for the logistics!!

My 1 year old niece knows me as her aunt whose face appears on her dad’s phone every Saturday. She still smiles at me with so much joy as if she has known me in person for a long time. She doesn’t give up trying to catch me or give something to me through the phone either.

A friend’s birthday came up and everyone in the WhatsApp group realized it’s been 14 long years since the day when we took the picture that is our WhatsApp group icon. 14 years and the occasional pings on the group and some isolated meets here and there.

The iconic skywalk that was synonymous of our college’s fame is being removed now and I couldn’t imagine the place without it. Then I realized that it’s been 11 years since I passed out and I haven’t stepped foot in my alma matter yet! I am appalled.

So many surreal experiences, so little time to process them!

Until later 🙂

Hope

Hope – a funny thing, enables you to go on when things are at their worst. But also disappoints when you keep clinging on to it but things don’t go your way for a long time. I have often pondered if holding on to hope is worth all the hype. However, the option is to just give up and then.. there is nothing else to do. Perhaps, that’s why I always choose hope in any situation, however hard it is.

This year started out fine and the first half of the year actually had me hoping for better things and a brighter life than 2020. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The tide turned for the worse in May 2021 and the following months were some of the darkest ones I had to endure in life. My husband’s health issues and us being alone in Bangalore with a toddler amidst the pandemic were enough to send our roller coaster out of control and things started spiraling quickly.

With humungous effort and strength, I had to make a few hard decisions. I wouldn’t say that everything is resolved now. If I am honest, I can only say that things are going on. That’s about it. Every day passes by in a haze of habitual activities without any real conviction.

At first glance, I can only look at the negatives:

*Hubby’s health is still a worry.

*Relationship with in-laws at its worst. There was not much to work with and it’s become clear that that bridge is burnt for a long while now.

*My daughter is in a phase where she needs a lot of attention and I doubt if I am giving all the love and attention that she deserves.

*There’s no clarity about when we will be able to return to our place in Bangalore and think about a normal routine.

*I am not sure what to decide about retaining our babysitter without availing her services or to relieve her so that she can make other plans for her stable income.

*I haven’t cooked properly in 2 months. I was finally getting to enjoy cooking but at my mom’s place, things are a lot difficult for me to cook. I don’t want to mess my mom’s kitchen quoting my ways. But it just isn’t comfortable to take interest and cook here. So I just let my mom cook and help her with the other chores.

*My grandmother lives with us here and it is getting more difficult for us to take care of her, with her health and memory issues. She is getting worse with her episodes and it is taking a toll on my mother, who is a primary care-giver for her.

Basically, my usual life is put on pause and the resume button is nowhere near to sight. It might seem like a trivial thing to crib about but for someone who is handling as much as I do, for as long as I have, I don’t think it is trivial.

Despite all this, I try to force my mind back to the present every day. As soon as I wake up, I try to tell myself that it is a new day. It has the possibility to bring a positive change. I tell myself that I can think of something, anything that can improve my mood for the day and get excited about it. I practice mindfulness meditation for a while, do my chores, get immersed in office work (something that distracts me positively from all my other worries), spend as much time as possible with my daughter so that her joy and innocence rubs on me as well. I tell myself that if it is rock bottom, the only way from here is up. If it is not, well, it is bound to hit rock bottom soon and then the only way from there is up. All this shows that I still have hope, even if it is the last smidgen that I managed to scrape for the day.

So here I am, trying to end this post on a positive note, trying to make space for gratitude in a life that seems to be full of things devoid of the same thing. Here goes my gratitude list for the month of August:

*Glad to have met my childhood friend and her kid after 7 long years. We just did not have enough time to catch up.

*Glad that I don’t have to brave Bangalore’s unpredictable weather and be afraid every time someone at home sneezes or coughs.

*Glad that my daughter, oblivious to the problems of being an adult, is enjoying herself at her grandparents’ place. She is enjoying virtual school more than I expected, enjoying time with my parents for a longer time than it usually would be, and getting to taste all of my mom’s delicacies.

*Glad that I was able to go out and dine at a couple of my favorite haunts recently. It made me feel like the world is normal for a brief time.

*Glad for the help that I got during a tough time. It might not be unconditional. It might not be ideal but it is there.

With that gratitude list, I am going to carry hope as a beacon for as long as I can and go in search of my life’s pieces. I hope to make sense of the pieces eventually and put them back together.

Until later 🙂

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