Friday, 27 March 2009

Privacy eh?

When we moved to London, numerous comments about where to stay came pouring in which confused us to the core. Certain areas in London are to be avoided for obvious reasons and since we were new to the place, we had no idea which place was known for what. I started my apartment viewing sessions and whatever I could gain from the area on my visit, I did but not to the extent of knowing if it was safe and secure. The estate agents obviously put the places up on a pedestal and paint a rosy picture. Some places gave me the chills the moment I got out of the station, others made me feel at home and those were places which were mostly far away in zone 3 and the like (London is divided into 6 zones. Zone 1 is Central London and you can’t afford to live there, unless of course you are part of the Royal family). The further you go, the more you get for the money you spend but it also becomes inconvenient and expensive to travel into Central London. It’s perfect for couples with children- huge town houses with gardens, parks and good schools- who wouldn’t have time to do anything else. But my whole trip of being in London was to be part of the scene. Take in the culture, events, food, theatre, concerts and everything else that London had to offer. London is a great place to be in summer, or so we were told and we succumbed to that blindly. We were left with very few options since we decided not to go beyond zone 2.

We were in a hotel in North Greenwich for about three weeks and we ended up liking the area a lot. So we hunted for apartments in and around that area. I found this one I liked a lot and was hell bent on taking it. It was just beautiful in my eyes. It was nicely furnished and set up very appropriately. Ro on the other hand was more practical and took into consideration space, wind directions, storage and important things like that which did not or would not have gone through my head at all. My face just lit up the moment the agent opened the door and Ro had to give me the stares to stop me from showing interest in the place because it would then be a negative point in bargaining for the rent. I just couldn’t hide the excitement. We left the apartment and then it was discussion/argument time. Ro said it was too expensive and was tiny for the amount we will have to pay. I defended saying we didn’t have to buy anything since it had everything in it including cleaning accessories and crockery and cutlery (which actually I’d hoped was not there because I loved going to the department stores and picking up stuff for the house), the tube station was a stones throw away (exaggeration) and the nearest dept. store was also walking distance (ya right, like I would walk anyway. I definitely will take a bus even if I can see the store entrance from my window). I could just imagine myself reading a newspaper on the balcony and cooking away at the shiny hob to which Ro replied, Nish you never read the newspaper, and making coffee is not cooking. Men are mean. Whatever you do for them, its always a joke, atleast for my husband it is. Hmmpff!!

Anyways, I was in the process of convincing him and there, we see an ad in the newspaper for another apartment and before I realize we are on our way to take a look at the same. We had to change two trains to get there and I already hated it. The apartment was nice, spacious, furnished (not as good as the previous one), had a gym, a pool, a convenient store and the best part, it was a 100 quid lesser than the previous one. This was obviously a good deal and this time Ro’s face lit up. We go and open the curtain leading to the balcony and there, the deal breaker, you can see what your neighbours are having for dinner or rather breakfast, lunch, tea and everything in between. Its like living with them. We take a walk around the area and its really dodgy. But then according to Ro safety is not much of an issue because immediate requirements can be quenched from the convenient store on site and major shopping is just a train ride away and the station is right at your door step. I do not agree saying I need to walk around and in Greenwich I can walk to the grocery store in which case we would be saving on bus fares. So then we discuss this apartment and I bring up the privacy issue. We could always leave our curtains closed, but then whets the point in having a balcony if we need to leave it closed, and summer can be hot. Now the difference between us desi’s and the locals are: we have issues about people peering into our personal lives. Here, no one really looks into each others apartments how much ever they are left open. No one cares what others are doing. People on the ground level apartments leave their doors and windows all open and wear the skimpiest of clothes and walk around. No one even looks and they know that. Its us desi’s who are so tempted to peer into the apartment and get all excited if we see a girl in an underwear talking on the phone or a guy with jus a towel around his waist. Its just natural for us to do that and we keep thinking everyone else wants to do the same. So I finally win the battle over the privacy and the safety issue after a lot of teary endeavours and Ro is sold on the idea it’s going to be menace. Yaay we get the fancy apartment in Greenwich.

So we now stay in a huge apartment complex with about 10 to 12 blocks and they are all far apart. We are on the 5th floor and like I mentioned before, we have an amazing view of the Thames River on one side and the O2 Arena (where all the concerts happen, has restaurants, bars, pubs, a movie theatre etc.) on the other. Night falls, lights are on and there you go, everyone can see into each others apartments. Maybe not as clearly as what they are having for dinner, but yeah you can still figure out what they are up to. And here, its not just the apartment opposite, you can see what the inhabitants of the entire block is up to. There’s a huge garden, a bus and a car lane separating the two blocks and it’s still so so obvious. Its absolute time pass for me and yes I’m nosy (I don’t have a TV or a proper internet connection as yet). I just sit on my sofa and have a nice time ‘watching people.’ I vaguely made a comment a couple of days back about how we can see into other peoples apartments and Ro nodded back saying, well you should remember they can see into ours as well. (I conveniently forget the privacy argument we had and conclude its a menace). I get the, ‘this is what I was trying to tell you,’ nod and I shut up. So last night I was again cosy on my sofa all ready to apartment gaze (also had a book, just in case) and Ro walks into the room, switches off the light and takes his place next to mine. That way, they don’t see what we are up to; it’s just a one way thingJ

Since we made a mistake, might as well make use of it right?

PS: And by the way I take a bus to the dept. store and Ro takes a bus to the tube station. We have ended up spending double. I also do not roam around, atleast not yet. On the other hand I could have made use of the gym to shed the extra pounds I gained and used the money we would have saved to go on our Europe trip.

Moral of the story: don’t always listen to what women say. 


  1. Wonderful! Loved it! No...m not JUST saying it...but you killed it with the last line :o) Was just gonna suggest to Roo that he read it but now, maybe not :P

    Moral of the story: A Room With a View should be treasured :O)

  2. i hope Roshan doesnt read it too..
    No but seriously i myself now feel it was probably a better idea to let Roshan do all the thinking and me just be of moral support. I actually would adjust to anything after a big fuss in the beginning u know. Wouldnt agree to that if roshan asked me though..
    i love my apartment but i would have had more advantages living in the other one:(

  3. Well done Rosh for holding your own against the woman with the Hmmpff!! But now I have read the rest of the blog and man you are weak! And I hope the woman across the other side of the second house was a ligerie model.. The moral of the story really is ro has to grow a pair... just like my wife!!

  4. lol..KKKKKkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam ur reading my blog....u are so jobless
    lol...i just hope ro doesnt read this

  5. Haha nice one! So much for hunting down an apt and killing it with that end line... so i hope u guys have settled down well! how are things otherwise???

  6. hey...if i need to admit it..then there should be something right about it:)
    settled in well..waiting for summer

  7. I wonder what Ro would say if he read this.. I wonder if he's consumed with regret and remorse over the bad decisions he's been forced to take, another nail to that proverbial coffin.. I bet this is not the first time..

  8. well..the smart ass who's so concerned about Ro please come out of the anonymous status and then il tell you whether its the first or not..

  9. m here to tell u that m bak in blogosphere, wud love to have u read my latest post and leave ur valued comments! :)

    and i ll read ur post in leisure and comment soon