The Eerie Flat In Bandra, Mumbai(Bombay)
August 3, 2008
House-hunting is never an easy task especially in Mumbai city. Cramped localities, closely placed skyscrapers and noise pollution are some of the common grievances. And the price! Let’s not even discuss that. Real estate prices here are similar to London and Tokyo.
Getting away from the city and living in new upcoming sections of the city was not on our wish list. It meant isolation from the city’s buzzing lifestyle. We contacted a real estate agent who took us around every weekend until we found our dream apartment.
We narrowed our search to a flat on the sixth floor in Bandra close to Pali Hill. It was the only flat that remained unsold. This newly constructed building looked very promising from the outside.
The flat was articulately furnished and acted as a live brochure for all prospective buyers. It was furnished with the best of furniture, wooden panelling and layered chandelier. This three-bedroom-flat was like a movie set. No doubt, we were all dazzled by it. We moved around independently, already convinced that this was it. As I entered the master bedroom, the room resonated a gloomy feeling. I was drawn to the large French windows. Outside, was a tree.
This leafless tree had a scaly texture and looked like it was covered in warts and cottony fibres. It looked decaying at a glance but its branches seemed to be holding up well. It was rooted in the soil of the adjoining plot. I slowly opened the window and stepped out. The bedroom’s balcony extended outside like a galley that had a blind turn and ended into the kitchen on the left side of the building.
Suddenly, two ravens flew in from somewhere and sat on a branch, very close to where I stood. They looked at me curiously and cawed loudly. They were large, darker than midnight with roving, shiny eyes. I stepped back and quickly shut the sliding window. There were no other birds on that tree. Some of my family members joined me and I pointed out what I saw.
The real estate guy asked me to walk ahead to balcony and explore the kitchen from the other side. I got this weird feeling that ledge of the galley was a good place to jump. The thought startled me. Why did I think that? Why would I want to jump off the sixth floor?
Quickly, I changed the topic. “This is a dead tree. See there are no birds sitting here. Can this tree be cut down?”
“I will have to find out if it’s possible. You see, it belongs to the people in the next compound. We will have to take their permission,” replied the agent.
The bungalow on the plot next door looked depilated. I was sure it was an abandoned. The funny thing was that this tree had its branches just protruding out to the sixth floor, almost like it was imprisoning it. None of the flats below had anything disturbing them. They had a clear view of the road.
By this time, the rest of my family were punching numbers and deciding how they would plan to buy it. The most irresistible part of this deal was that they were giving away all the furniture, electrical fittings, modular kitchen setup, washing machine, microwave oven, refrigerator and state of the art security system with the flat. It meant we could move in with just our clothes. This was a good deal of savings plus all the products were of reputable brands and new. It was too good to be true and no one really cared about this dead-looking tree.
“If we close the curtains, we won’t even see the tree.” This was the solution that my cousin suggested. I tried hard to explain how creepy it was, but this just annoyed everyone. Within few minutes, we were raising our voices and yelling at each other. I stormed out.
My family asked the agent to give us some time to get the finances in place. But we were definitely interested. The agent said that he could hold the flat for us and not show it to any other buyers.
A mammoth task lay ahead. How would I succeed in convincing everyone not to buy this flat? For anyone else, this was an excellent deal especially when it was going to be given with all the amenities and electronic items. The eerie feeling of the tree with the two ravens gawking at me lingered in my mind all day and night. We were on a time crunch because if we wanted it, we would have to give a booking amount. My last attempt to stop this deal was to call a Feng Shui consultant.
The following day, we went to the flat again. Now I was convinced of my instincts. The consultant checked the rooms with his compass and told us that there were several corners missing that would affect the marriage and relationships in the family. Well, that was enough to convince my mother that we were not buying this apartment.
“Hooray,” I thought.
With renewed energy, I took the consultant to the master bedroom, and showed him the tree.
“Does this tree give you a negative feeling?” I asked the consultant.
Before he could comment, the ravens were back.
I am sure many of my readers would like to know where this flat is located and did anyone buy it? Why didn’t I take any pictures of the galley or the creepy tree?
At that time, I didn’t think of taking pictures as I was alarmed by the suicidal thoughts that vibrated in my mind. I am sure that this flat has been taken up as it is a posh locality. But every time, I pass by that building, I am very thankful to that higher force that cautioned me to stay away.
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