Monday, September 8, 2008

Mission "227 Annapurna"

You do not have to work hard to ‘Dream’, to make it come true you better”, for Shekar and I “227 Annapurna” is the culmination of our dreams. “Annapurna” is our tribute to the toughest 8000+ meter peak and optimism that the goddess of harvest would bless us at all times.

It was indeed the toughest and biggest financial commitment we ever made, coming from a humble background we know only one thing, to “Work Hard”. We were less fortunate financially than many of our friends at school and college; our parents were working their heart out to give us the best possible life as they prepared us to succeed in every possible way. The best comes in the toughest of the situations and we lived each day of our life determined to change our destiny.


“This is the most ideal location, let us know if there is a proper dimension site out here, we will buy”, was what I told the real estate agent when he showed us an odd measurement site, he confidently said that there is no possibility at all, exactly 5 month later we registered site # 227 in Oct 2006, 60 feet to left of the site we had rejected earlier. When you get what you ask for it’s an indication that you are on the right track, and there was a sense of relief that our decision was heading in the right direction.

“24-27 lac is the maximum construction cost considering the best of the material” was Venu’s (my brother) estimate and I can kick him a million times for the rest of my life for saying that.

Sometimes we meet people and feel that we met for a reason; I would have never imagined that Jeetu would design our house when I first met him at a rock climbing camp ;). I liked the roughness and the sense of space Jeetu has so for me, there was not much of a deliberation, Jeetu met CR for the 1st time over lunch and we got started.

Venu spent all his time running around to get the work started, right from getting the BDA approval to the final BWSSB approvals every single vendor, worker, service provider was listed out negotiated ready to delivery material or service over a phone call.

My personal focus was on cost control and being as environmental friendly as possible, I started accounting every penny we were spending.
CR and I agreed on the draft designs very quickly but went through Vaastu consultation process just to be on the right side of the ancient science of house construction.


We started at good speed, the soil was wet due to rains, digging for
the foundation and the underground water tank was really fast; the material requirement was very basic the expenses were quite controlled. There was a lot of excitement around, we started enjoying it all. We took turns to monitor the work and the curing activity on a regular basis, checking every bit of the site and ensuring the water is adequately sprinkled. The next level drawings came in; it was time to start raising the walls.


It was my time for the Himalayas, I signed all the required papers related to the property and packed for a month long trip. By the time I came back ideally the 2nd level roofing should have been completed, but sometimes worst things happen. My mom-in-law passed away and I was out in the mountains, worked stopped for a month. If there was one person who wanted to see the house completed more than anyone else, it was she. I walked into the house still imagining that she would be sitting on the sofa as usual, she was not. She did not suffer, and that was a relief for the entire family as we had seen our dad-in-law going through hell.


The list of materials increase so was the cost, CR stared to pull out of his saving, as the loan approved by the bank was released in stages, the final 3rd level roofing was finally complete. Shopping for wood, marble, tiles, bathroom fitting began, Venu and me went around shopping based on the references, when we zeroed on the vendor we did cost analysis and explored options. Kaveri, our labor contractor was driving us crazy by now, he stared changing the workers and since there was no consistency the plastering work was getting delayed, so we had to get in back on track. Even thought Venu had different views, it was easier to make choices on the marble, laminations, design, tiles etc as CR & I both ended up pointing at the same thing, majority won ;).


We were on very thin air, the cost had crossed 25 lacs and there was still lots
to do. The co-ordination between workers was getting tougher and work started to drag, they started to blame each other for mistakes and delays. Our patience was running out, there was more screaming sessions and tempers were running loose. Venu & I had many fights on everything possible, mom played the moderator since my dad would only support me. Painting work started, George and his team were quite at work and understood the requirement. There was some release of funds from the bank, it was a real breather and striking off the items on shopping list was the only thing we wanted to do. With all the pain around, just looking at the house brought a smile and kept us going. The internal layout was looking excellent and bright, that brightened us too.


We were exhausted and completely drained, but we knew there was no looking back and summit was the option. CR was the only one who had not yet lost his cool; guess he was balancing it all for me. Flooring work was complete both Vijay and Ramesh did a great job on it. Few more lac was pumped in, selecting the right color paint, texture, glass, bathroom fittings, light fittings etc etc kept us very busy. Work speeded up as we fixed the day for puja and that could not change at any cost. As each day passed we kept our fingers crossed, the final result was what we were focused on, as we were by then clear that it was not going to be easy anymore.


The last stretched was all left now and what ever energy and money we had was almost down to zero, but what has to be done has to be, we reassured ourselves that there was no looking back. So we managed to pull in more funds, Puja arrangements, Food, Flowers, Labor settlements, pending material bills and cleaning was all in the list. The moment of truth, the D day was finally arrived, all the difficulties we went through looked trivial. We had our day, a great satisfaction that it was the right thing to do and that it was all over now. Our entire family was very happy and proud of us. We are still licking our wounds but there was a sense of comfort that it will heal with time.

We will remember Kaveri, George, Muniyappa, Nagaraj, Vijay, Ramesh, Shiva, Nagina, Sunil, Vijay, Muniraju, David, John, Pattabi, Chandru, Maruti, Reddy, Madhu, Muragesh and all the vendors who were part of our mission for the rest of our lives, even though they give us some tough time, once they saw the final view they were proud too. They knew they will have more references in time to come and more business to do with people known to us.

I realized that some things are just once in a “Lifetime”, we will never be able to experience what we did. Mission accomplished, “227 Annapurna” stands tall and beautiful, smiling as the sun rises.

- Kavitha Reddy