The lady in the house has imposed a curfew on splurging. “No Dream Home, no Cream Machines!” She says. And the law is wrought in iron.
You all know how wide open to interpretation a dream home is. It may mean a 27-story luxury mansion with 3 helipads on the top if you are an Ambani. Or a mudhouse with annually bio-degradable thatch overhead, for the differently-fortuned. But things get complex and murky in the intermediate. Nothing short of a multivolume saga can do justice to the middle land. But to describe the known unknown, let X be a roof over your head hopefully stretching across a couple of bedrooms, washrooms, a kitchen and a living room, for which you don’t pay extortion fee at frightening intervals and still be mauled by the ‘Landlord’, or for the less fortunate, by the ‘Landlady’.
Cream machines come in many forms and shapes and have different origins. To some they come from the houses of BMW and Vertu while for others they just have HERO stamped on them, or have cheap Chinese chips playing phone, camera and music, all at once. Cutting the crap short, they mostly come branded N-I-K-O-N to me. I can rattle out a list of gold rimmed lenses, DSLR bodies and speedlights faster than you can bat your eyelids. A quick autopsy of my bank account will reveal gaping dagger holes inflicted by the Japanese photographic prodigy, aided generously by random grenade attacks by certain Intel and NVIDIA corporations. Of late, tabs, pads, smartphones had joined the orgy.
Having reached the point in life where the rest of the journey appears to be a certain downhill saga, I have suddenly woken up to the clear and present danger of ending a homeless tramp. For the last fifteen years or so, I’ve been blaming it on my employers who have truly reduced me to a gypsy. Every few years I have bitten the dust in a different state of our incredible nation. Each time, I have vainly sought my home in each of these worlds and have failed bitterly. I was readily put off by the aloofness of Rajasthan, smugness of Maharashtra and the brusqueness of Punjab. Yet, my comrade-in-arms have all found their places under those very suns and settled cosily in the nests woven by them.
I have also blamed the real estate mafia for my homelessness. The prices have spiralled nearly fifteen times in the past ten years. Of course I have been waiting for the ever bloating bubble to bust one of these days. But the godfathers appear to have deeper roots than the motherland herself. The point is, I may not be around to loot the rightful booty if ever the sanity is restored.
Ironically, I would not turn to the paternal house either. The tranquil village by the pond has turned into a hotbed of corrupt, cast-based politics. The wind that shook the barley is mired forever.
Realizing it could be the last train to get real on the real estate, I have postponed a Tehrir Square on the lady. It is rather time I followed the in situ leader! And it is time I saved and saved hard. I am closing the chapter on coveted Nikkor lenses and a new pro-class body with a heavy heart till I move under a roof of my own. Farewell is also due to the amazing crop of tabs, pads and smartphones mushrooming by the hour. Hopefully, twenty years from now when I would have paid off the mortgage on that would-be home, I will still be left with enough juice in my veins to lift a DSLR mated to a professional lens. Or will I just be able to send a request from my phone to a satellite camera to shoot the Tso Moriri at sunrise?