We know exactly how ours will look. A warm granny of a house built lovingly with large, exposed Konkan bricks, red oxide floors, rugged walls, a verandah that encircles in a broad embrace, Burmese Ashokas swaying in the gentle breeze, a herb and vegetable garden, Neemrana style bathrooms (i.e. modern fittings and traditional materials). And I shouldn’t forget, the roomful of weathered books, stacked neatly from ceiling to floor and a cabinet of rum.
So far, we have the books. Now all we need is the house. That’s the big dream, isn’t it? To ditch the rat race, find a patch of land to call your own, do the pilgrim thing, live a real life—a life without traffic, end-of-season sales and MP3 cellphones (although I’m not sure you can get away from the last even in the tiniest Indian town).
I blame it on Enid Blyton. In the days before politically correct children’s literature, she single-handedly convinced my entire generation that living in the country was the ultimate romantic adventure.
Venkat Iyer’s living your dream
But 30 years after you read the books, you’re living in New Delhi or Mumbai or Bangalore, eating only multigrain bread, reading six newspapers a day (Mint is your favourite, of course), taking the kids to see Harry Potter first-day, first-show, bravely clawing your way to your smart office, turning the wheel on your BlackBerry as you eat sushi at the new trendy restaurant, buying things, finding place to accommodate those things, zipping off to Bangkok for a dirty weekend.
In short, doing all those things you wouldn’t be able to do if the dream actually became a reality. And let’s face it, it’s fast becoming a dream that you know is unlikely to come true.
Take the husband and me. We managed to snag a modest plot of land and do have money saved (because we still haven’t succumbed and EMI’ed our souls for a high-rise hole in the big city). But to move forward from this stage, we still have to answer that million-dollar question: What exactly will we do there? Me especially—the husband can spend hours watching a colony of ants.
This week, we actually met some people who have bravely approached that question, answered it, and who are now living the simple life.
In our cover story (Page 12-14), 41-year-old Venkat Iyer says the weird part when he discussed his Big Move with colleagues at his former workplace IBM was that everyone thought it was a great idea.
Of course they did. It’s their dream, too.
And remember, this cover story is meant to inspire you, not make you feel depressed.
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