Would you like to book a flat in Lodha Group's "Palava City" on Kalyan Shil Road, near Dombivli?
Last Sunday, Lodha Group launched - Rs. 14,000 Crore - 4,000 Acre - "Palava", Mumbai's sister city.
Palava is located in the heart of Mumbai Metropolitan Region's Economic Zone, bordered by Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan, 20 minutes from proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport - the launch ad in local newspaper claimed.
Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, the first citizen of Palava, invited me to live in it. Mr. Big B said - "Palava is not just a new place to live, it is a new way to live. This is a city that brings out the very best in it's people."
Impressed by Big B's claim in the ad, I visited the website of Palava City www.palava.in
On the home page there was a video showing Mr. Bachchan in Palava City. At the end of video, Mr. Bachchan claimed that Palava is 'City of Opportunities' - "अनन्त संभावनाओंका शहर".
Very much impressed by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan's claims about Palava City, I looked at the types of flats and their property prices given in the ad - 1 BHK: Rs. 37 Lakh+ - 2 BHK Optima: Rs. 46 Lakh+ - 2 BHK Ultima: Rs. 51 Lakh+ - 3 BHK: Rs. 63 Lakh+ - and told myself, "Sounds good! Let us go and live in Palava"
I am a man of action. First, I called packers & movers and ordered them to come next day and pack everything in my flat in Pune and shift it to Palava. Second, I collected my cheque book and left for Hotel Hindustan International in Vimannagar.
"Welcome!," said the receptionist.
"I am not here to book a room in your hotel," I told her.
"Then, may I know, why are you here, Sir," asked the receptionist.
"I am here to book a flat in Palava," I said.
Pointing at the lift, the receptionist said, "Top terrace, Sir!"
On the top terrace, there was one temporary kind of shed. I went in the temporary shed and announced, "I am here to book a flat in Palava!"
"Have a seat and fill the form, Sir," a gentleman said.
On the coffee-table, there were a few local newspapers. On the front page of all those newspapers there was an ad of Palava. The same ad, I had seen on the front page of my newspaper. There were three more guys in the room. One was busy on his smart phone - expressions on his face told me that he must be playing some game. Second & third were doing something on their laptops. After I finished with the form, one of them came to me and invited me to join him.
"I want a 2 BHK Ultima in Palava!," I said.
"Are you aware about the price?," asked the guy.
"Yes! 51 Lakh - as per your ad," I said.
"Didn't you read the + in the ad?," said the guy.
"Yes, of course, I saw the +. But the ad didn't say what + means?," I asked.
"+ means the other charges, let me show you what they include," pointing at his laptop, the guy said.
"Area of your 2 BHK Ultima is 1026 and base rate is Rs. 4,689 - Rs. 36 is the floor rise - from 1st to 6th floor - but from 7th to 14th floor there is uniform floor rise - Rs. 252. Plus there are Premium Location Charges Rs. 180 - for all floors in this building. It means that your rate would be Rs. 4,689 + 36 x floor number + 180 - which floor you prefer?," asked the guy.
"7 - my lucky number!," I said.
"Good. It means that your rate would be - Rs. 4,689 + (36 x 7 = 252) + 180 = Rs. 5,121 per sq.ft. Means the price of your 2 BHK Ultima would be - 1026 x 5121 = Rs. 52,54,146," said the guy.
"Rs. 52,54,146! Okay. Now, I got what you mean by +," I said.
"No. You haven't got it yet. I am not finished. This is just 'Consideration Amount' - Look at these numbers," pointing at a few more rows in the table on his laptop, the guy said.
"What are these?," I asked.
"I will tell you what is applicable to your chosen 1026 sq.ft. 2 BHK Unit - 1) Stamp Duty: Rs. 2,62,707 2) Registration Charges + Processing Fees: Rs. 33,000 3) MVAT: Rs. 52,541 + Society Charges = 4) Share Money: Rs. 600 5) Maintenance @ 4.5 per sq.ft. for 18 months: Rs. 57,495 6) Civic Governance @ 2.85 for 60 months - Without Including Municipal Taxes, VAT & Property Tax: Rs. 1,21,378 + Other Charges = 7) Legal: Rs. 20,000 8) Ultimate Society Formation and Registration: Rs. 20,000 9) Electric & Water Connections: Rs. 35,000 10) Club Charges 60 Months: Rs. 1,26,000 11) Infrastructure 198 sq.ft. Parking: Rs. 2,03,148 - that's all!," said the guy.
"That's good! What is the total?," I asked.
"Rs. 61,86,015 only," said the guy.
"Okay. Now, I got it. The 2 BHK Flat is not for Rs. 51 Lakh - as mentioned in your ad. But, for Rs. 61,86,015. Right. Fine. Can you tell me why didn't you mention this all inclusive property price in your ad? I have enough money in my account - so I don't have any problem - but what if someone didn't? Anyways, take my cheque and give me the keys. Tomorrow afternoon - I want to shift in my 2 BHK Flat in Palava!," I said.
"You are making full down payment! That's great!! Let me give you a walk through of Palava," opening a printed brochure, the guy said.
"Don't bother. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has already done your job - Mr. Bachchan has given me a tour of Palava - not in person but - in the video on your website. Now, just take my cheque and give the keys of my flat!," I said.
"I would be glad to take your cheque - but I can't give you the keys of your flat," said the guy.
"Why? Why can't you give the keys? Don't you have them here with you? Do you want me to collect the keys form your office at Palava or what?," I asked.
"Because your flat is not yet ready. It will take sometime to get ready for possession," said the guy.
"Okay. How much time?," I asked.
"Some 3 years. We have just opened the booking. Not yet started the construction!," said the guy.
"But Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was talking as if Palava already exists - he was not talking in the future tense - Mr. Bachchan was talking in the present tense! Mr. Bachchan said - This is a city that brings out the very best in its people! - I am shocked - disappointed - to know that - Palava doesn't exist - as Mr. Bachchan claimed - in your ad and video," I said.
"You misunderstood him. Mr. Bachchan was talking about how Palava would be when it is completely developed!," said the guy.
"Okay. Okay. I misunderstood Mr. Bachchan and rushed to own a home in Palava. As if Palava is a reality. I completely mistook Mr. Bachchan. But, tell me one thing, why are you here? You knew the truth. Right?," I asked.
"I am here to explain how Palava would be developed. I am here to take bookings of the flats - in 850 acre second phase of Palava - which will have 7 - 14 story some 800 residential towers, commercial spaces - as well as - schools, hospitals & sports facilities!," said the guy.
"Means after I give you money - you will use that money to develop Palava. Right? And then when it will be ready - I can come and stay in Palava. Right?," I asked.
"Now, you got it right. It means that if you want to make a down payment - you can go ahead and do it right now. But you have to wait for a while to shift in your flat. Or the other option is - you pay in installments - as per the progress of the work," said the guy.
"How?," I asked.
"Give me Rs. 45,000 now - today - to block the unit of your choice. Then in within 21 days from today - give me 9.9 % - means Rs. 4,75,160 and within 45 days from today - give me 10.1 % - means Rs. 5,25,415 - rest of 80 % - in installments - as per the progress of the work and the last installment at the time of possession. Cool. Isn't it?," said the guy.
"Okay. Assuming that Palava will take shape exactly as Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has described. Palava - City of Opportunities - "अनन्त संभावनाओंका शहर" - Palava a city that brings out the very best in its people - Palava City - Designed to be among the world's top 50 places to live and grow - Right?," I said.
"Yes," said the guy.
"Do you really expect me to believe in what you have said - printed in this brochure - displayed on your website - shown in your video and give you a down payment or the booking amount of Rs. 45,000? See, I haven't done this before. But this is your job. So, please, tell me people really believe and book - so casually?," I asked.
"Yes. People do. Lakhs of people are booking their flats like this - for many many years - in the first phase of Palava - some 20,000 people have booked their flats like this - What is your exact problem?," said the guy.
"I find - believing in all those claims - ideas - and paying you my own money - plus borrowing from the bank to pay you - to build my flat & to develop entire township - too un-businesslike - too risky - too casual - too careless - uncalled for - unnecessary. I can understand why you ask - you won't be able to build it unless we all pay you - you need our money badly - so you have no option but to become shameless and ask for my money - but why would people pay?," I said.
"Because owning a home is an ultimate dream of every man - to become a home owner - he has to take a risk - trust - believe - in reputed builder - like Lodha Group," said the guy.
"Yes. Owning a home at Palava - the sister city of Mumbai - is my ultimate dream too - but when I want to eat a mango - I buy a mango - don't plant a sapling and wait for the fruits. Sorry!," I said and got up.
From Hotel Hindustan International, I went to nearby Phoenix Market City. Generally window shopping helps me to clean my mind and recharge me instantly. But, that day, it didn't work.
I realized that I was too upset. I was upset with myself for believing in advertising and intuitively deciding to buy a flat at Palava City.
But, more than that, I felt insulted by the builder. How can Lodha ask for my hard earned money so casually? How can Lodha take me for granted? How can Lodha assume that I will commit myself for his offer - without setting terms of transaction in black & white?
Can anyone enter the bank - just like that - tell sweet stories and ask, "Would you like to loan me a few lakhs?"
That question reminded me of a video, I have seen on You Tube. As a social experiment, a handsome guy approached some 100 girls and asked them, "Would you like to have sex with me?"
OMG! Casually asking to book a flat at the launch of project - is as obscene as asking - Would you like to have sex with me?
What say you? Do you say "Yes!" - when a builder asks you such obnoxious question?
Let me know in the comments, please.
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