“Jhopdi Mangta Hai Kya?”
Behind the posh Mayfair Banquets in worli, next to the towering building of RNA Mirage, stands the midget that is Gurukripa Housing Society. Its stained ochre walls, narrow shady entrance and two blocks of buildings constitute the lives of many simple, and mostly Marathi, locals. Doors are open till 11pm and women talk in loud voices each evening as they gather for their warm, and much awaited, gossip hours.
People probably would not even know this place exists. And if anyone saw it, they would say, ” How LS ya! Who can live in a place like this?” Few would believe that a 1bhk flat in this Society is going at a market rate of about Rs.1Cr just because it is in Worli and in a very convenient location. Even fewer will believe that it is an SRA building. The owners of RNA Mirage took the chawl land and gave the residents flats in return.
Slum Rehabilitation Authority is responsible for rehabilitating people who live in the slum sections of the city once they have been developed. With sky-scrappers everywhere in Mumbai, the SRA buildings ensure that the simplicity in the ‘high society’ areas is maintained. Knowing this, one wonders how many such buildings escape our sight as we pass them by.
Sometimes they are in the most inconspicuous places. Like the Mahalakshmi Race Course! Parul Rawat, a student at Sophia College says, “My house help lived in a chawl in Mahalakshmi. The builders who wanted to make an office building, built the residents of the shawl and nice 10 story building. She now has a race-course-facing flat which is priced at Rs.3Cr and two sons fighting over the property.”
Saloni Singh, a girl studying in Mumbai who lives with her relatives narrates a rather interesting story. “A friend of my aunt’s, once approached her asking her if she wanted to buy a jhopdi for Rs.2 Lakhs as he himself was buying one. She was taken aback but he tried convincing her by saying that she would be doing ‘those poor chaps’ a favour. She refused. Sometime later the area where the jhopdi had been was turned into a very classy building and the same friend got an apartment there that he sold for Rs.2Cr.”
Real estate is no longer in a position to play hard-to-get. People refuse to make big buys, they play their cards smartly. Why pay so much for a big flat in some corner of the city when you can just take a room in a chawl, and rest assured, the returns will be very fulfilling. At this rate, one wonders how Dharavi will turn out once the redevelopment project finally gets completed!
There are several more stories like these, that give Mumbai its vibrant colours. So next time you want to invest in a big 3bhk in Goregaon for Rs.3.5 Cr, think again. After all, “More out of Less”, isn’t that what we Indians always want?