Thursday, September 15, 2016

Difference Between a Project & a Society!








“A Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand”… Karl Marx

Karl Marx was a philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Born in Prussia to a middle-class family, he later studied political economy and Hegelian philosophy. Well, if words fail to describe someone then this is classic example, as I have no words to describe the greatness of Mr. Karl Marx! He changed the worlds thought process with his thoughts! His views about human being as social animal got thousands of followers & being tagged as Marxist philosophy became religion in itself!  Why I recalled his words about society is recently I have been called at two of our completed projects & the similarity doesn’t ends here. Both the projects were completed now more than a year, one was nearly four years! At both places the cause of inviting me was being part of cultural festival the society members were celebrating. At one of the projects was my real estate blogger guru Ravi Karandiakar was with me & he was so fascinated by the member’s devotion, he went there next day to shoot the entire Pooja the members were performing!

Without pulling the anxiety to extreme, will share the details; first project was Dawabindu, which is like a tailor made project for group of young IT engineers & all of them are from Jain community which is famous for its religiousness. And another is Ashtagandh, a small society of some thirty odd flats, both projects in western suburbs of Pune. Both projects are not having any so called luxurious amenities like swimming pool or gym not even well decor entrance lobbies, neither the specifications are of high standard like Italian marble or central air conditioned homes type; yet one thing was common there, the immense joy & happiness on the faces of the residents when they welcomed me at their place! 

In Dawabindu, as all the residents are Jain, they have used their open space to build a small Jain temple. Here again many will say, is that proper use of the open space, which they could have used for club house of gym or party lawn like most of the projects have. But then what we call open space is meant to make the residents happy & at peace as well it’s the space where people come together, I feel that’s real utility of such spaces in the projects. And if they are happy & at peace with a small Jain temple where families can come together & pray, who are we to take objection for the same? Rather these youngsters have came together with the very thought of cultivating their religion’s culture in their life style so they wanted to stay together & have a commune of their own & not just a project named as some society! And I was very happy to see the outcome of what we have built for them is serving the exact purpose why they have come to me! Ravi interviewed them & asked many awkward questions (he is best at it) but they patiently answered him like a monk, which most of them are actually by their life style! 

Here is bunch of some young IT professionals who don’t spend their week-end nights boozing up long hours at pubs but have food before sun set & wake up early morning & take cold water shower to get ready for prayers in their temple! And we were to provide them space where they could have their temple right within their complex! So the residents of Dawabindu invited me on occasion of “Prayushan Parwa”, it is ending of auspicious month during which all day long most of Jain people does fasting & there are lectures from Sadhu & Sadhvi i.e. Monks from the community, about peace & good living. I took along Ravi who wanted to interview them about their life style & know about their experience in buying a home. Most of these youngsters are from other States like MP or Rajasthan & what best thing they shared is earlier their parents wasn’t ready to come & stay with them leaving their home towns but once they saw the culture as well community living of Dawabindu now they are opting & come along & stay with their kids in Pune!

I think that’s best thing which could have happened with what we have built as its people which we call family who makes home & not the amenities we provide. And if our homes are making people to become a family, then what more we could have asked for? One more thing came out in interview was, what this younger genre feels about communication with their builders; they think proper communication is the most vital factor in deciding a good builder. As they have met enough of builders & never they could get reply to their quarries in time, which by them is sign of lack of commitment towards the work! And it’s not just the builder alone, here builder means his entire team, this is something the real estate has to take cognizance. On this background the members praised our team for reverting back in twenty four hours at most of times when any of them has communicated to us on emails, which is common platform now days! This I am sharing not showing how great we are but this experience can be helpful for other & in any way communication is the today’s key may it be any profession & we Indians with due respect lack on this front is a bitter fact!

Second incidence was at Ashtagnadh in Baner of which first phase we have completed & handed over nearly five years back! For those who are unaware about real estate industry they may not appreciate importance of a builder being called by his flat holders as chief guest along with wife, for their cultural gathering that too after five years of handing over! It takes courage as a builder to visit his own complex after handing over, this I can say confidently! The Ashtagandh residents were celebrating Ganesh festival & have arranged various competitions like dance, musical performance, cooking etc amongst them & they requested me to join them as chief guests for prize distribution. I happily accepted the invite as any such rendezvous is in a way to meet my clients & understand their life style is best way to learn about my own profession. Though being a builder there is always a risk factor that as you can’t satisfy all the clients so any such invitation may turn out a bit problematic as such clients can knock you down publicly. But then if you have been committed to your work then why to worry & then I personally always like to take on such challenges. And to my pleasant surprise not only the Chairman/ Secretary, felicitated me but thanked for giving them a home which they feel like heaven! It did touch my heart as not a single complaint about any problem with the building but what I experienced was sheer happiness & joy amongst the residents. All ten days Ganesha’s aarti (prayer) has been conducted by different family & the “Prasad” (call it holly food for god) is strictly homemade from the residents. Everyone has been given the prize for their performances from small kids to elder people, even for their support & participation! The society doesn’t have big open space or even a common room but they have used their parking lot for all the events happily.

This is how a building becomes society, as in both projects I don’t say we have done some extraordinary job building these projects. They are simple buildings & it does faced problems like leakage occasionally & seepage in rains. Infrastructure front like no drainage net-work in the locality sometimes is beyond our control & the residents have to suffer, yet the dialogue & trust in each other’s was always there! 

As a builder what these two events at our projects have taught me is something no business school would have done; it taught me that way to keep my customers happy doesn’t need some costly gifts or state of the art workmanship. All it needs is stay committed to what you have promised them, be sincere in your job which is building a home & most important is be available to them as if you are part of them & not just as a builder! As a builder we rarely think about our projects which we have completed leave apart visiting them but the trends are changing now. Leave the philanthropist aspect but even as marketing aspect, being in touch whenever possible personally with your clients is the need of the business. Rather we can promote residents of our completed projects to come together & celebrate such festivals & we can even think of funding a little bit from our business for such events. Because when we call something as home, which is our product then lets understand coming together is the foundation of any home & as a builder you only have to lay that foundation! High time for real estate people to understand this simple fact of the business & which doesn’t cost much but yes needs sincere approach towards the job at hand.

At Dawabindu & Ashtagandh get together, I found answer to the question, what should be my target as a builder? Agreed to make some money is one but more than that those happy faces of the residents were telling me you have built a society where generations will live & prosper with culture & we are thankful to you for that; this is my job as a builder, I reminded myself. I shared with the residents; actually I am thankful to you for making me realize my job, as what’s life without a cause! As the great man said about society, its interrelationships amongst the individuals is what most important aspect of the society & a builder only has to take first step; this is the way to build a society & not just counting one more project under our name!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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