Unreal Estate

It is a bright, hot day in July, and the clocks were striking for better pay. I have been busy watching, in one go, 3 seasons of Battlestar Galactica, and today morning, while putting on a shirt that felt distinctly uncottony, I was wondering whether Battlestar Cottonica was at war with the Nylons. Not good at all. And in this state of mind , I find myself apartment hunting in Chennai.

It’s not easy. Apartments in the city cost an arm, a leg, and another arm. Where have all the “L”s gone? It’s all “C”s now. A 1200 sqft apartment in Adyar will cost x + iy(where x is what I can afford, and y is the imaginary component I need to cough up extra). Car parking extra. Water charges extra. Registration extra. Oxygen extra. It turns out that I have a choice between a dog kennel in T Nagar and a luxurious apartment in the outskirts of Palayamkottai.

But in this process, I have now achieved the equivalent of an SCJP certification in REPML (Real Estate Peter Markup Language), and I can now, without even blinking, figure out what a 1450 3BHK CCP 1C near Adyar BS means. But REPML is for beginners. Real pros talk REVML (Real Estate Visual Markup Language) and I am still a beginner at that.

REVML was invented by our ancestors in Africa, millions of years ago. It was when mankind had to move out of his ancient homes to seek newer pastures and set in motion the wheels of human history that the first real estate agencies were setup, and presumably, somewhere in the Central Africa, long ago, a real estate broker was planning to advertise new “projects” that were being developed in Jericho, near modern day Jerusalem.

That was when the world’s first real estate advertisement was drawn up after lengthy deliberations, such as,

Boss, Israel is too far away. How do we convince people to move to our new projects there?

Ah. No worries. All we need to do is draw a map that is not to scale, and simply forget to tell everyone that it isn’t. Just move the horn of Africa a little up, and no one will notice. After that, we just add a few attractive landmarks nearby, rephrase certain unfortunately named nearby lakes, stress on the centrality of its location, and we are done.

So now you know. Moving forward in history, REVML was handed down from generation to generation, as it continued to adapt to the times and boldly maintain its status as the bastion of real estate obfuscation over the ages.

So today, in modern day Tamil Nadu, REVML continues to evolve, and one can find many fine examples in the newspapers. The Hindu Property Plus is a particularly keen patron of this ancient art.

So what’s next? Advertising Alpha Centauri as being just a “stone’s throw” away from the sun? Advertising the risky star system next to the Cygnus X-1 black hole as “Just on the outskirts of the Event Horizon”?