The real estate agent started a strange story while showing a home and it made us very wary of stepping into the bathroom.
I am not sure why he told us this zinger of a tale; maybe he wished to put us at ease because we were stressed from seeing so many homes and could not remember whether the laundry room in the last house was upstairs or in the cold basement.
I was holding a bunch of brochures in my hand and was trying hard not to say anything nasty about this home’s interior decoration, when the agent said that once a client had asked him if he could use the powder room.
A powder room is basically a washroom at the entrance of the home with just a washbasin and a toilet so that you do not have to take the party guests through your messy master bedroom to the attached bathroom.
“He was gone for a while and when he returned, I could sense something was not quite right. After seeing him off, I checked the bathroom and was shocked by what I saw,” the agent said.
“The bathroom did not have a plunger and there was no hose pipe that you see near the bidets in bathrooms of Asian homes,” he said. I could not lock the house and run because it would show in the records I was the last person to leave,” the agent said, now seemingly enjoying his own story.
Homeowners in Canada who wish to show their homes for sale, place the front door key in a lock box at the entrance and the agent is given the combination. The time the agent opened the lock box to when he re-locked it, is recorded at a central system that can be accessed by various realty brokers.
“In the kitchen cabinet, I found a drinking water glass ...” said the agent, and at this juncture, I am not sure whether it was me or my wife, but someone said they were hungry and can we break for lunch? And the discussion veered off to which vegetarian eatery we should go to in Brampton.
After lunch, the agent said home-showing was big business now. You have people who bring in new furniture, TV and kitchen stuff and your crummy house suddenly looks like it was a rock star’s home.
“It costs a couple of thousand dollars to turn your home into this,” he said, pointing to the fancy living room of another home.
The time the agent opened the lock box to when he re-locked it, is recorded at a central system that can be accessed by various realty brokers
A wall of trees
While the real estate sector had slowed down considerably in Canada and the government was making it tough for first-time buyers and non-residents to get a mortgage, back in India, things were not that hot either in Bengaluru, the information technology-hub.
The real estate agent was showing us an apartment in a gated community that had a Spanish name, and he was extolling the virtues of the location as it was very close to the airport, just in case if we needed to zip off to Mumbai, when we noticed from the balcony that a crowd had gathered next door in an open area.
“What’s happening?” asked my wife.
“Oh, that’s a burial ground,” said the agent, as if it was another convenience. He said the builder was planning to grow a wall of trees so we need not see the proceedings next door. “It is a Hindu burial ground,” he said, and that immediately got a response from my wife that Hindus cremate, not bury.
That flustered the agent who quickly said there was also a Muslim burial ground adjacent to it, as if we were looking for diversity beside our new home.
Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi.