That is a question I can ask myself but cannot answer. Normally it is a question posed to others in anticipation of a well-thought out plan of action that the answerer can lay out. (Before anyone points it out, let me express my own misgiving about that word i.e. answerer.) But we shall let it go for want of a better word.
Going back, if the query were put to me, I can always come up with an impressive plan that I proposed to implement, but alas, to my detriment I know that the proverb “Man proposes and God disposes” must always be my motto in life. When I look back at my life, most things have happened on their own, without my desire or approval. People have popped into my life of their own volition. Some of them have taught me in their own way lessons of life, some have yet to find themselves.
So have houses.
I will talk only about houses for now. We built our first house with great difficulty and little money. The house itself was beautiful having been built by a dedicated engineer-friend with many suggestions from me. But our limited finances meant that we had to build it in a distant suburb with unpleasant neighbours around and in a generally uninhabitable area, in the hope that twenty years down the line everything would have changed magically. But it did not, and we were happy to sell it in less than twenty years.
The next was an apartment which R. was eager to buy on a relative’s advice and the first time I saw it was a year later. I would not have bought it myself and I did not share R.’s enthusiasm for it, and told him that I would not be living there any time. We sold that too.
Meanwhile I kept pushing R. to buy an apartment in Mumbai. He was still hoping we could live in the other flat but somehow the idea gathered momentum of its own. We went around looking on a Sunday and the next Sunday we had decided to put down a deposit. At the end of it we found ourselves in possession of a Thane flat.
A few years later, we had sold the flat in Chennai and decided to settle down in Mumbai in a bigger flat. Again it took less than ten days for us to look at flats before booking. So here we are.
As A. says, “you just go out to look at flats, and come back having bought one.”
It happened exactly that way again. We thought we might want to move to a smaller city and we did end up buying a place there.
As I was saying, much of this happened without deep thought or meticulous planning. We sold one flat because of a tenant from Hell and bought another one because we desperately needed a place to live in. We bought one flat because R. was forced to go house-hunting as he had mentioned it to someone who took it upon himself to help. Else R. would have procrastinated and let it go. Having sold one, we managed to pay off the loan on another property before buying a third one, which was a good thing because the clear title helped us secure an educational loan for S. to go abroad.
Now we want to sell our apartment but as they say, the devil is in the details, and we found one obstructing clause that has sent all our plans awry. But no matter, something else might come up. Or perhaps we are not meant to move now.
As D. once said, God does not trust us to make sensible choices in life, so He just plonks us down on a road and expects us to keep walking.
So that is what we will do – keep walking.