“Illu Katti Choodu, Pelli Chesi Choodu” (roughly translated as ‘See what it takes to build a home, and/or Do a wedding’), simple and popular saying in Telugu, I have heard it many times as a kid. But I have actually learnt the real meaning of the first part of the above saying, only during the process of building the villa 369. I feel the process of building a house (at least in India) will actually test the strength of one’s marriage, financial freedom, relationship with folks in the ecosystem (inside/outside family), support system of extended family, and overall sanity index dealing with vendors in India. Personally, I have come out of it, with minor bruises in few cases, and few pleasant surprises in rest of the cases :-).
Almost all the vendors, I dealt in last 6 months did not understand the concept of empathy for the one’s budget, quality, and schedule demands or commitments, etc. To get all of them on the same page is like trying / waiting for dozen planets to align. Repeat instructions of what we want, how we want were ignored and misinterpreted. To be fair to them, I have noticed that many of the workers in the construction industry often work in hazardous condition without any safety nets, and I guess ‘perfection’ is not in the list of priority items. However, overall outcome of the villa was pleasingly good as you can see in below pics
I have never realized that a house has so many parts, and each part has a 100s different stores in town, and choices for each part can range in 100s with price difference in range of 10% to 1000%. However, higher pricing do not always translate into higher quality. One needs to be really passionate of building a dream home to select what they want. However, both Radhika and I took a shortcut approach, given our busy schedule. Fortunately, for us interior designer had short-listed the choices, and we had to debate (or fight / argue) between those few choices.
I think it takes an entire family for one to realize (or accelerate) the dream of building a house. I would like to convey zillions thanks to my family (most of whom you see in the my blogs/pics) for successful completion of move into villa 369, and supporting me in various ways. My Dad visited and was at the construction site so many times, despite being at a such a far off distance (and him in not so great health condition), and keeping an eye on the progress, and identifying faults and getting it corrected, and supporting through entire process. He created seriousness with all vendors, and ensured their deviation of quality standards is quite minimal. My brothers for encouraging / pushing me to indulging in the house a bit and instilling a fear of not compromising anywhere, and helping me with references of quality vendors where needed. They also lent me their workforce to spruce up the entire house (new and old one), supervising the construction, and helping with process of move. Shalini Rao (our interior designer, seen in below pic) for making the process of choosing interiors very easy, and she understood our taste and budget and acted accordingly. She was a very gentle person to work with. Whatever she suggested in the house is a hit, and whatever I did not listen to her was a mishap.
Most importantly Radhika for agreeing for going for a villa (despite that she had no interest for an independent house), yet putting her entire energy last 8 months, dealing with and visiting all vendors and hardware stores few 100 of times sometimes on her own, driving all the way to remote market streets to buy as trivial as a nail to going to different lorry transport centers and bargaining for various types of raw material. With my travel and busy schedule, it would have been impossible to make it on my own. Also she instilled fear in all vendors and workers, to discourage cheating and poor quality work. My Kids who did not list many customizations for their rooms. Revanth just asked for one laptop port and space to put some photographs. Aniketh just asked for 100 sft of space for his drums. They were so easy to work with. Finally, rest of my family, friends, and coworkers for their blessings and always wishing best for my family and me.
We performed our house warming Pooja on May 29th, Friday at early morning 5AM, amidst Vedic chants and traditional music accompanied by parents, siblings, and their kids. We had priest (Vimal Viswanathan) who visited us from Chennai and conducted these Vedic rituals in a picture perfect tradition. Everyone loved the process that he has used, and fact that he explained in detail meaning behind various rituals we performed. I did forget to ask about the concept of brining cow and calf into our house, but it did felt good to go through the process.
I liked the ‘Ashtadikpalaka Pooja”, which is praying and invocation of 8 lords who rule the universe, and asking for their blessings prior to move to the house. Priest took us to all corders of the plot, and invoked holy chants. He also did the dristhi pooja, and asked various types of dristhi to be removed. I told him to include Facebook Drishti too 🙂
Other processes included: Go (Cow) Pooja, Dwaraka (Door) Pooja, Entry into House, Ganapati Pooja, Sankalpa, Punyavachanam, Kalasa Pooja, Ganapati Homam, Navagraha Homam, Sudarshana Homam, Jaya Durga Homam, Drishti Pooja, Pooranahuti, Mangala arati, and concluded by Satyanarayan a Pooja. We also had another mataji who runs a shelter for 500 cows, visit us and conduct another Homam.
We had decided to host our housewarming get together on June 2nd, as it was a state holiday (and gave us enough time to get the house ready) and most importantly it marks the 24th wedding anniversary with Radhika (who looks still the same way I saw her 24 years ago). This is the first event where I have had an opportunity to host extended clan both from paternal and maternal uncles and aunts and their kids. There were overwhelming number of guests for our housewarming dinner and we were happy about it.
Below 3-minute clip gives a glimpse of our house warming events, and also does the unveiling of villa 369. I have used soundtrack from the movie ‘2 States” which is a Tamil Wedding song, and lyrics perfectly suited the event footage that I have compiled. I loved the track the moment I have heard it for the first time.
Though below pics looks as if everything in the house, is in perfect alignment and synch, however we did find flaws and inconveniences in the design, which we need to fix or learn to deal with it. Radhika says, she is done with anything to do with house construction.
With regards to the second challenge mentioned in the saying “Illu Katti Choodu, Pelli Chesi Choodu”, I am thinking I have a solution for that. I told Revanth, in future, I am going to host his wedding reception at Taj Hotels, so that i do not need to deal with dozen vendors and just outsource everything to Taj.
PS: I will provide ratings (ranging good to pathetic) on various vendors that I have used for the house later in the month. They will be listed in my original blog on the same topic. (https://saichintala.com/2014/11/09/its-no-369/)
For now here is the video logs and pics.
Four of us
Picture from Indu Community: