Have you ever gone to a village or municipal office for getting any property-related papers? I had never bothered to do anything like that as I was ‘busy’ with my corporate job. The daily ‘scrum meetings’ and ‘client calls’ were more important to me than anything else. Papa used to deal with all such work for me, including payment of property tax, land tax, and so on.
Recently my husband and I had to go to a village office for the transfer of title of a piece of land which we bought a few years ago. Though I do not like such kind of work, I love travelling, and so was excited to go. I am the kind of person who, when I travel, prefers to carry very less luggage and tries to have the bare minimum food. During the train journey, we shared the compartment with another family comprising of husband, wife and their two teenage children. The family seemed to be on vacation, and I was sure they were against the general saying, ‘Travel light’, as one big bag was fully packed with food!
After finishing a full 5-course dinner in the coziness of the AC compartment, the family started watching comedy videos on their smartphones without using earphones and laughing loudly along with the jokes. The whole family was totally oblivious of the other passengers or the impact they were having on them! Later, when it was bedtime, the husband started making their beds, taking 2 pillows for each of them. And the rest of us were left with no pillows! Finally, everyone settled down and went to sleep.
During the wee hours of the night, the family got up and collected their luggage spread all over the compartment. And finally, they got off the train without switching off any of the lights. It was like the silence after a storm! I wished them a very happy vacation in my mind and tried to go back to sleep. I had to accept the fact that the real world is not always user-friendly!
We reached the Village Office the next morning. The ambience in that office was a complete contrast to the IT corporate world. When we entered the office nobody bothered to look up or ask us why we were there. I could not see any smiling faces. There was no ‘Please’ or ‘Thank you’ in any of the sentences. The ceiling fan was making a loud screeching noise as if it was angry with everyone in the room! Anyway, after two more visits in the subsequent days, we managed to complete the process.
The above was basically to change the title of the property in the revenue records from the seller’s name to our (the buyer’s) name and pay the land revenue. This process is called ‘Pokkuvaravu’ in Malayalam. After that, we need to get the same changed in the records of the municipal (or panchayat) office and pay the building tax. Finally, we have to change the owner’s name in the records of the utility service departments (electricity and water supply).
I realized that there are some real-world skills that school or college won’t teach us! Formal learning can teach us a great deal, but many of the essential skills in life are the ones we have to develop on our own. The certifications listed on my Linkedin account will not make me capable of surviving in the ‘real’ world.
On our return journey, my mind wandered to thinking whether our children are equipped to do this kind of work. They have to master ordinary life skills to deal with real people and handle real-life scenarios with ease. This time we shared our compartment with an old couple. They were on their way to sell their old home where they once lived with their children. The children are now settled in the USA. I could imagine the emotions the couple was going through.
We buy property thinking they would be ‘useful assets’ for the next generation. But, in reality, the next generation may not be happy with the location/layout of the land/house that we had acquired with the help of bank loans. They may have their own dreams and wishes about where they would like to live. We did the same to what our parents gave to us! Though all we need is just ‘6 feet of soil’ at the end of our lives, we tend to acquire a lot of land during our lifetime!
My kids have clearly told me that they would rather travel than buy a home. I feel, instead of saving money on acquiring property for the next generation, it may better to spend it on travelling and exploring new places. Travelling is not just about seeing new places and things, it’s about leaving behind our comfort level and anxieties! During my train journey, I became convinced that different people bring out different sides of ourselves. Life is a series of experiences and each experience changes us and makes us grow.
So travel more often before you run out of time! Once a year, go someplace you have never been before. Travelling helps us learn new languages and cultures. Keep in mind that the purpose and mental state of each co-passenger is different; some are on vacation, some are attending marriages, some are attending funerals, and some are on business. Last but not least, while choosing your vacation spot make sure that the Wi-Fi connectivity is weak there. Only then can you enjoy the ride! 🙂
Happy empty nesting 🙂
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer ~ Jennifer Lee