Category: Community Living

Garage Sales: An event for the entire community

Garage sales are usually a great way to foster community bonding. Neighbours can get together to set up stalls and buy and sell household clutter that may be handy to someone else. Setting up stalls in the common areas or basements is a fun way to spend a weekend together.

In India, household items are often used to their absolute demise, at the end of which they are completely unusable. So, naturally, garage sales are typically not quite as popular. But with festivals like Dussehra and Diwali around the corner, most families should be gearing up for a home makeover. Typically this involves repainting the walls, changing the upholstery and a good top to bottom cleaning. This is the perfect time to fish out items that are not in use.

Setting up a Stall

1) Pick out things you want to sell
Garage Sales are built on the premise that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Anything from clothes, books, unused furniture, utensils, is fair game. This clutter can usually be found under beds, inside storage units, out on the balcony, in the storeroom, or on the terrace. The general rule of thumb of cleaning is to pick out things that have not been used in about three years.

2) Price everything fairly
Based on the condition and years of use, slash the prices of every item by 50 to 75%. Put price tags on all the products. It would also help if you put down the original price next to the selling price. Check online stores to check the current prices of similar products.

3) Set up your wares
Your customers are more likely to buy your products if you make them look presentable. Make sure all your items are clean and dust-free. Set up tables and stools to place your products on. If you’re selling clothes, put them on hangers or fold them up neatly. Make sure everything is visible and ready for easy perusal. Keep a register or notepad handy to track your sales easily. Also, remember to keep plenty of change on hand. This makes transactions simpler.

Garage Sale as a community event

Garage Sales are a fun way to bring the entire society together. It can be turned into a community event by setting up a number of stalls and turning it into a temporary mini market. Not only can you sell old used products, but artists and chefs can set up stalls for their homemade masterpieces. Involve children into the mix and help them set up a mini-games stall. It can be a fun learning experience in entrepreneurship and quite frankly, practical maths.

Make it for a good cause

Many of us usually donate used items to charity or to the needy. However, quite often these items go unused even in the charity. There are either no takers for that particular item or the product is totally unusable. Monetary donations are a preferred option. So take the money raised in your sale, (in part or whole) and donate it to a good cause of your choice. Not only will your apartment complex have fun, but you could bring a smile to somebody in need.

With the season of goodwill just around the bend, why not give this a go? ApnaComplex provides the perfect tools to help you organize the Garage Sales. Conduct a survey to gather other interested people, create a separate group and start a new discussion. Collaboration has never been simpler!


Community Collaboration: The Communication Tools on ApnaComplex.

ApnaComplex has always tried its best to offer the best possible facilities and tools to its users. Communication gap has always been a problem in most of the apartments. There is a lack of an effective communication system among the committee members or between the apartment management committee members and residents. Understanding this gap, ApnaComplex offers various communication tools to its users for their convenience.

As an ApnaComplex member (whether you are part of the apartment management committee or not) you may need to do one of the following at some point in time:  

a) Communicate with all residents

b) Send out personal or one-to-one messages

c) Communicate with Administrator of your portal

d) Communicate with Committee

e) Communicate with Registered Owners

f) Communicate with sub-groups of residents

When you need to send a message across to an individual or a group in your residential complex, there are different communication options to choose from for different communication scenarios. Here is everything you can do with the Communication feature on your ApnaComplex App

1. Notice Board

The notice board is a foolproof way to get a message across to all or particular residents. The message can be sent through the App, or even by email or SMS. It also reaches numbers that are on DND. While sending out the notice you can even attach relevant files or documents.

2. Discussion Forum

The forums allow you to start or join in discussions with fellow residents. You can access all the past and ongoing discussions easily. However, if you choose, you can restrict access to certain discussions to a few residents like committee members. All your society-related discussions will be easily available in one place.

3. Surveys & Polls

You can create polls and surveys to take the opinions of the residents. The polls can be customised to be accessible to either certain residents or all of them. You can customise it further to make it multiple choice, rating system, and with an option to respond anonymously! It is all up to you.

4. Groups

You can even create groups or clubs within the society. Start a discussion board for your sub-committee (or even hobby clubs!)  with all the relevant documents and a complete mailing list. Connecting with your neighbours has never been easier!

5. Photo Gallery

Share photos and create albums within your community. Photos of your community events should now be easily available to all the residents easily.

6. Repository

Keep your important documents handy. Upload and share useful documents like bye-laws, dos and don’ts, lease agreements under tags and categories. Again, this too is customizable to who can view and access each of the documents.

7. Community Wiki

Create a hub for your society. Share information, publish articles and tips, collaborate with other residents and much, much more. allow all your residents to contribute to the same. Create a one-stop information centre for all things related to your society.

Here at ApnaComplex, we understand that a housing society is a close-knit community. What is a community without communication? As such, these tools are always at your disposal. Now you can know and collaborate with all your neighbours with ease!


Dos and Don’ts of Road Maintenance within your Society Gate

Roads are absolutely necessary for every apartment complex. They are used for easy commuting and also add an element of beauty to the society. But all of it becomes null if the roads are damaged or unusable. It is important to keep the roads in top condition so as to not hamper the daily life within your gates.

What is the need for maintenance?

Roads that are in regular use often end up riddled with potholes and wear-and-tear. This can be avoided if they are subjected to regular maintenance. Not only is it more cost efficient, but well-maintained roads also increase the property value of the entire complex.

In order to ensure that the roads are properly maintained, take up the issue with the apartment association during resident body meetings. While residents can take small steps in order to contribute, the apartment association can get the maintenance team to do the difficult tasks.

What are the types of problems?

1) Cracks: Cracks may form on the surface either due to repeated use or due to environmental degradation. Fatigue cracks occur due to the added effects of wheel loads. Environmental cracking develops in asphalt as it ages and is subjected to everyday temperature changes. These cracks are very small when compared to fatigue cracks  Water and dirt should be prevented from entering cracks as they might grow worse this way.

2) Surface Wear: Wear on the surface mainly occurs due to tire wear and material degradation (ravelling). Its maintenance includes removing the surface and/or covering up the surface which is worn. Surface treatment depends on the severity of the surface wear.

3) Rutting: This signifies permanent degradation in the layers of the road. This can happen if the structure design is improper or if the roads are overloaded. It can also happen if the surface layer is of poor quality.

4) Potholes: Pits or holes produced by wear or weathering on the road surfaces can be fixed through surface treatments.

What are the maintenance measures?

The roads in an apartment complex undergo a lot of destructive changes. The apartment association will have to take on different approaches based on the problem involved. Firstly,  residents should be constantly updated about the need to maintain roads by the apartment association. Littering on roads should be strictly prohibited and waste bins should be provided for this purpose. Stagnant bodies of water should be immediately cleared, especially after rain and the roads should be swept regularly by the maintenance crew.

Crack sealing is a process that’s followed in order to maintain roads and surface treatment can be done in order to prolong the life of the particular road. This treatment measures should be taken up by professionals, who can be hired by the apartment association.

A lot of factors affect the type of maintenance undertaken within the housing complex. These include the type of distress, vehicle loading, the general climate in the region, the cost of treatment; the roads expected life, the existing road type, and availability of good materials.

Residents can help maintain the quality of roads within the apartment complex by giving regular feedback on their defects to the management as well as bearing with the inconvenience caused during the repair of the roads.

Thankfully technology can add a touch of convenience while undertaking this task. ApnaComplex provides an integrated society management solution that can help you easily communicate with your fellow residents. Residents can use the Helpdesk feature to notify the committee of any defects that may need attention. On the other hand, committee members can use the ApnaComplex forums to raise notices that can be sent out to all the residents to keep them well-informed of the progress.


Ganesh Chaturthi: 5 Ways to Celebrate within your Apartment Complex

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are held in every housing society annually in order to honour the birth of Lord Ganesh. This festival encompasses a variety of cultural events that have deep-rooted religious meanings, which bring people together and enhance their sense of oneness.

You can make arrangements to celebrate the festival in your housing society, in order to bring together all residents. This can take an immense amount of time and effort since celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi are very elaborate and done on a grand scale. Ensure that you bring up the idea during a resident meeting so that you can get help from other residents and delegate duties effectively.

Arrange for the Main Idol

Most housing societies usually arrange idols of Lord Ganesh to be placed in the common area. This is usually the crux of the celebration. The idol can be placed in a central location so that it is easily accessible to all residents within the society. Be wary of the direction the idol is meant to face.

Provide Localized Immersion Spots

Instead of having scores of people from the housing society immersing idols all over the city, the housing society management can organize a local area where the residents can collectively gather, celebrate and finish off the festivities. The management can have a small artificial tank constructed within the compound to be used for this purpose.

Whip Up Homemade Sweets

Sweets are the main part of this festival. You can take some initiative and encourage all families to make sweets at home. You can do this during the resident meetings. This will not only help them save on money and resources but also ensures less wastage. Such sweets are healthier and also bring the housing society residents closer during the festival.  

Create Awareness About the Festival

Most modern children aren’t completely aware of the significance of Ganesh Chaturthi or about the various rituals that are performed. The best way to create awareness is art. Put up plays or dances depicting the scenes that relate to the festival. Also, why not try screening a themed movie for your residents? You can even host competitions for storytelling, poetry recitation, drawing, or rangoli.

Go Green

Festivals that are largely popular often damage the environment. Why not take the initiative to go green this Chaturthi? The first thing to do is to ensure your idol is made of clay instead of POP or plastic. Clay idols dissolve in water when immersed and do not affect marine life too heavily. Make sure your idols are also painted with non-toxic colours. The housing society management must strive to ensure that every family limits itself by having only one idol for immersion. Reduce the use of firecrackers and loudspeakers. These are some of the biggest causes of pollution during festivals. Lastly, remember to organise a clean-up drive at the end of the festivities. Proper disposal of the garbage, both biodegradable and recyclables, can go a long way in contributing to an environment-friendly festival.

Celebrating such an important festival on a common stage can be a fun experience for everyone, especially the children. Once you delegate all the necessary tasks to specific members through the housing society management, you can enjoy a splendid Ganesh Chaturthi with your family and the entire community.


A Complete Guide to Planning an Event in your Apartment Complex

Planning an event in an Apartment Complex can be a challenge. There is always a lot you need to do and almost always, there are unforeseen difficulties. Here are some things that may help smoothen the process.

Before the Event

As an organiser, naturally, this is the most important part of event planning.  There are several things you need to put in place as you start organising your event.

The Team
When planning an event, the first thing that you need to do is make a team. Delegate the work to members of your team. Your team has to cover all the following bases-

i. Venue management:
Not only do you have to book the venue or facility where you wish to host the event, you have to ensure you have legal permission or license to do so. You also need to organise for decorations, chairs, tables and anything else you may require during the event.

ii. Promotion and revenue collection:
What is an event without participants? It is important to make everyone in of your apartment complex aware of your upcoming event. Generate a buzz among the residents with frequent reminders. It may also be a good idea to put up posters. If your event has a participation fee, collect it in advance.

iii. Technical support:
A huge part of any event is light and sound. In some places, you may also need fans or air conditioning. It is important to have someone overlooking all these issues as they may arise before or during the event.

iv. Refreshment committee:
Regardless of their enthusiasm for your event, participants will always be excited about the food you serve. Spare no expense in this area. A good variety of food and drinks that caters to people’s dietary preferences will have a good influence on the popularity of your event.

v. Entertainment committee:
This is what the event is actually about. Build a schedule for the programme with time estimates. If this involves a cultural programme begin rehearsals as soon as possible. Stage and costume rehearsals are always a good idea. Always remember to organise activities for children. Participation by children is the easiest way to get their families engaged too.

When delegating roles, remember to account for everybody’s area of expertise. Besides these areas, remember to have someone supervising the whole event including coordination and budget management.

The Budget
Once you know who’s doing what, start getting estimates from service providers. It helps to have two or three options to choose from. Once you have an approximate idea of how much it may cost, set a budget.  Negotiate with the vendors for the best price. If you wish to charge a participation fee from the residents, it is extremely important to make it as inexpensive as possible. Keep a track of your income and expenses. This should be easily available if somebody asks to see it.

The Theme
This, of course, is an optional avenue. While some events are likely to have a theme, others can do without it. However, if you choose to have a theme, arrange for decorative pieces and props that go with it. Remember, highly stylized props can be used only once.  Aim for reusable props that you can store for the next time.

The Masterplan
Create a plan for your entire event. Build a schedule for the day right from set-up to pack-up. Mark the timings clearly. When the whole team knows where they have to be and when coordination becomes simpler.

Do all that you can in advance. Account for every detail from lighting to costumes. All your shopping should ideally be done a few days before the event.

Finally, remember that there will always be some things that are beyond your control. Leave some room for flexibility in your plan.

During the Event

There are several things you should be mindful of when your event is in progress.

Punctuality
If you want to stick to your schedule, it is very important to start your event on time. An event that starts on time can end on time, with plenty of time to do everything you have planned.

First Aid
Community events are a chance for the entire society to enjoy each other’s company. But with so many people (especially children) gathered together, there is a high chance of accidents. Keep a first aid kit nearby.

Activities
An event in an apartment complex has to engage everyone in the apartment complex. Make sure there is something to do for members of every age. Activities, where people can occupy themselves, are always a bonus. Here are some extras you can organise for your event

i. Games and toys:
The last thing you want is for bored kids to drag their parents home. Create a small playpen with toys for children to keep them busy.

ii. A Photobooth:
This is the easiest way to entertain your guests. Put up a plain black backdrop against a wall and leave a selection of silly cardboard props nearby. Your guests can enjoy a selfie session.

iii. Photographer:
If you do not want to hire a professional photographer, have someone from your team capture all the candid moments of your event. Why enjoy yourself just once when you can capture the moments forever?

iv. Open Mic:
Give all the residents a free access to the stage. Give away prizes to the participants who agree to perform on the spot. Another good idea is karaoke. You don’t need a karaoke machine to enjoy this. There are several youtube karaoke videos that your guests can sing along to.

After the Event

After the event is over there are a few things you and your team have to do. First, it is very important to clean up the venue. Clear out any trash that may be lying around and put it in the bins. This is the time when a lot of missing items are found. Makes a lost and found box and put up the list of items on your ApnaComplex Forum.

Remember to clear all your bills. Prompt payment for services usually encourages better service when you hire them again. Sending a personalised thank you note to your service providers is also a good touch. This is also the time to reimburse your team members for any payments they may have made during the event.

Lastly remember to acknowledge your team, volunteers and participants who helped make your event successful.

A community event is a fun way to get to know other residents in your apartment complex.  Collaborating with everyone to successfully pull it off may take some effort. ApnaComplex has an array of features that you can assist you in this task. Visit our website to learn about facility management, discussion forums and so much more!

https://www.apnacomplex.com/

 


The Indian Flag Code: everything you need to know this Independence Day

“A national spirit is necessary for national existence. A flag is a material aid to the development of such a spirit.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

With the 72nd Independence Day just around the corner, members of most apartment complexes will be gearing up to organise their own flag hoisting ceremony. The Indian Flag, or the tricolour, is a symbol of our country. As such, it should be treated with great respect. The Government of India has put down the code to ensure its proper construction and handling. Here is a reminder of the dos and don’ts of the National Flag etiquette.

The Flag

The Indian Flag Code specifies the dimensions of the flag and how it should be constructed. This is a measure taken to ensure that the flags used everywhere are uniform.

  • First, the Indian Flag should be a perfect rectangle, with a ratio of 3:2 between the length and the width. The flag’s size should be one among these  (in mm):
    150×100
    225×150
    450×300
    900×600
    350×900
    1800×1200
    2700×1800
    3600×2400
    Pick an appropriate size for display.
  • It should be made of handspun khadi, or of cotton, silk or wool. Avoid plastic flags because these are difficult to dispose of.
  • The flag should be split into three equal panels – saffron (not orange) panel at the top, a white panel in the middle and a green panel (described as India green) at the bottom. Be careful with the colours.
  • A navy blue Ashoka Chakra should adorn the centre of the white panel, with 24 spokes that are equally spaced.

The Display

The Indian flag hoisting rules also cover instances of the flag’s misuse and specify the proper procedure to hoist the flag.

  • During an Indian flag hoisting ceremony, the saffron panel should always be on top. The flag should never be hoisted upside down.
  • It should be displayed from sunrise till sunset, irrespective of weather conditions.
  • The flag should always be positioned to the far right.
  • There should be no other flag or emblem to its right or above it.
  • The Indian flag should hold no lettering or inscriptions of any kind.
  • During ceremonies, it is common practice to use flower petals within the unfurled flag. The Indian flag code prevents the use of any confetti or decorative materials other than flower petals.
  • In a procession, the Indian flag should either be carried to the right or in front of the central line.
  • It should never touch the ground or water.
  • There should be no other flags on the same masthead as the Indian flag.
  • The flag should never be flown at half-mast unless the government specifies.
  • The National Flag should not be used to cover any speaker’s desk, platform or monument.
  • Paper flags can be used during days of national importance. However, care should be taken that they do not touch the ground.
  • The national anthem should be sung once people salute the flag. (It is essential to follow the etiquette specified for the national anthem as well).
  • A damaged flag should never be displayed, and such flags can be disposed of in private, preferably by burning or in a method consistent with its dignity.

To read about the rules for the national anthem click
http://www.ncert.nic.in/announcements/oth_announcements/pdf_files/NatinalAnthem.pdf

When planning to hoist the Indian Flag in your apartment complex, it is the duty of every Indian citizen to ensure that these rules are followed. Start a discussion on your ApnaComplex forums to raise awareness among the residents. The managing committee can take things a step further by printing out such rules and handing out copies. It is important to make sure that no misuse occurs, either deliberately or by accident.

The tricolour represents the Indian community. So this Independence Day, as you come together in your apartment complex remember to bask in this spirit of community. From everyone at ApnaComplex, we wish you all a Happy Independence Day!

Jai Hind! 


Disclaimer: This information is offered as a public service. While we try to make it accurate as possible as on the date of publication, the laws change and more importantly the way we interpret laws could also change. We cannot promise that this information is always up-to-date and correct. We strongly recommend you to always consult appropriate professional advisers for your society to ensure compliance. 


new year resolution

5 Ways To Decide On A New Year Resolution That Doesn’t Need Work

It’s that time of the year when almost everyone around you is coming up with ways of making the incoming year more productive. Some people have been planning their new year resolutions since the latter half of the year. Piling on one promise after another with a failed attempt at each is not the way to go, is it? Well, ApnaComplex is happy to lend a helping hand. Here are 5 easy new year resolutions in case you haven’t got on to the ‘change is good’ wagon yet. Trust us, these are more helpful than you’d know.

 

  • Save water –

With all the global warming signs getting bigger and bigger, doing your bit for the planet will only make you feel good about the next year. Tracking water usage levels and avoiding water wastage is one option. ApnaComplex provides you with Water Monitor, a water tracking app that allows you to track the volume of water being used by your society. A plus point is that it tracks the billing as per water usage too. Find out more about Water Monitor here.

new year resolution

 

  • Avoid preventable theft –

This one leans towards those who have faced theft issues in the past. Why offer a chance when there doesn’t have to be one? One aspect of this problem is vehicle theft. ApnaComplex’s solution to that is Vehicle Sentry, a vehicle tracking system that lets you stay aware of your vehicle’s whereabouts. Know more about Vehicle Sentry here.

new year resolution

 

  • Family safety –

For all those who believe that safety in any form can never be enough, ApnaComplex has Gatekeeper, a visitor tracking app. Gatekeeper lets you know about your visitor beforehand and lets you verify their entry. Be aware of who knocks on your door. Stay alert with Gatekeeper here.

new year resolution

 

  • Spend less –

Everyone can cash in on this new year resolution. Spending less is never an idea that is unwelcome. One way of going about with this is by holding less change in your pockets and using cashless services. Collection Gateway by ApnaComplex is another such service that lets you pay maintenance dues via NEFT or RTGS. Here’s why Collection Gateway should be your new year resolution this year.

new year resolution

 

  • Make lives easier –

Why not have an easy management system in place for those who work hard at settling the books in your society? Get some good karma under your belt by getting ApnaComplex for your society. Keep track of reminders, bill and maintenance payments and vendors of your society in a more automated manner. This is one of the most easiest ways of fulfilling a new year resolution, don’t you think?

new year resolution

 

So, this time, let’s all make a promise to ourselves to move forward with the new year resolutions we choose. Good luck chasing the new life!


Pets & apartments: Why they get to stay and you do too

The perpetual debate of whether pets must be allowed in apartment complexes, or not, has made us realise that the need for a clear understanding of the situation is at an all-time high (especially before we jump to conclusions about the rights and wrongs).

pet-dog-in-apartment-thinking

 

The idea of breeding pets in apartments is welcomed by a lot of people. Animal lovers will do anything for their furry friends. But they are also considered a hindrance by many. Pet related activities are disapproved, and even opposed. Often, there is no second thought given to the fact that species other than humans need a place to live as well. And considering we’ve occupied most of the area a domestic animal needs to reside in, we humans need to be a bit more open-minded about such sensitive decisions.

As a lot of us know, local authorities are popping up rules and regulations, in the form of circulars regarding pet animals. These circulars contain over-hyped ‘vital’ information about whether or not they can be allowed to live with their human caretakers. But some pet enthusiasts don’t realise that as per the Parliament, or any State Legislature, there is no law enacted that bans animal friends. The most any of these groups can do is insist on registration and licencing of pets. They, often than not, are torn between choosing from among the home and their beloved animal companion. This should not be the case. It violates the fundamental freedom of being a citizen of this country.

 

pets in apartments Pet-dog-pet-turtle-pet-hamster-pet-budgie-at-home

 

Following are the issues faced by pet owners:

  • Banning pets on society premises.
  • ‘Dog barking’ being cited as a valid reason to impose a ban.
  • Prohibiting homeowners from using parks, lifts and other facilities if they are accompanied by pets. Also, being charged for the same.
  • Being charged ‘pet rent’.
  • Forced usage of muzzles and leashes (on calm pets).
  • Discrimination as per the size and breed of pets allowed in the housing society.
  • Being asked for a pet resume before being given the flat on rent (A pet resume contains the pet’s basic details, previous rental experience, health, behaviour, references, etc.)

 

To make matters clear:

  • No bans can be imposed on usage of facilities (like lifts and parks) by pets. RWAs cannot impose any extra charges for this, as well.
  • Pets and resident owners of the pets not violating any Municipal Sanitary Bye-Laws or Regulations are permissible to stay in the society or community.
  • Size of pets cannot be a valid reason to ban them from society premises.

 

Rules like these result in service quality of the society’s provisions turning low. But, it must be kept in mind that these objections have risen due to certain behaviours of pet animals that have inconvenienced people in some way or another in the past.

 

So, to make things fair:

  • The pet owners must make sure that there is no nuisance caused in the society due to their furry pals.
  • When out of the house and in the premises of the complex, the pets must be accompanied by their owners or anyone who has them under careful observation.
  • Since there is no central law regarding cleaning pet excreta, RWA can request pet owners to do the same.
  • Training must be provided to the pets in apartments on identifying people walking in and out of the apartment wing. This will help prevent them from getting provoked when neighbours and children are around.
  • The animals should be taken to an obedience class/training class as well. A certificate is generally provided once the animal recognises behaviour signals.
  • Crate/kennel training is another way of training the pet to stay in one place as it provides a feeling of security to the animal.pet-dog-crate-training-in-apartment
  • The pets must also be trained, through positive reinforcement, to not get aggressive around other animals and prevent matters from going downhill.
  • Pets must undergo regular vaccinations and medications required to stay healthy.
  • The owners should take responsibility for their pets.
  • Children and residents must be asked to not provoke or tease the animals.

 

Pet owners must come forward and offer to adhere to simple, implicit rules and mannerisms by themselves. This won’t even let the problem of notices and circulars arise in the first place. It is eventually the landlord/society’s job to rightly recognise responsible pet people.

 

pet-dog-in-apartment-with-big-eyes

 

In conclusion, to get rid of these issues in a sure-shot way, the society representatives and pet owners, both parties, must organise regular meetings and address the issues each of them face, and meet each other halfway. Non-pet owners must be sympathetic and flexible towards pets and their owners, and the latter must take precautions to ensure that there are no discrepancies regarding their co-ordination with approved and disapproved behaviours.

 

(The Governing Body in India Concerning Animal Welfare-
The Animal Welfare Board of India, 1962, was the first of its kind to be set up in the world, by any Government. It was established as a part of the Ministry of Environments and Forests, Government of India, in accordance with Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (No.59 of 1960). It has a list of bye-laws for pets, and was created to advise the Government on matters concerning animal welfare and preventing infliction of pain on animals.)

 

 

Now that we’ve given you a solution to this problem, let’s check out what the pets themselves have to say:

Pikachu-dog-tired

 

 

 

 

I’m tired of the fights. Let’s just talk it out, please.

 

 

 

 

 

friendly-pet-dog

Come on. How can you say no to that face!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet-dog-crying-at-home

 

 

 

pet-dog-crying-at-home

 

 

Cat-dog-play

 

 

HA HA!

 

 

 

 

 

dog-tongue-hanging

 

 

Got you there, didn’t we?

 

 

 

 

excuse-me-pet-dog-confused

 

 

 

pet-dog-tongue-hanging

Did I say something wrong?

pets in apartments Cockatoo-Dog-Turtle-staring-outside-at-cat

What are all of them looking at anyway?

 

 

 

 

Oh him.

house-cat-staring-outside-window

 ” Someone say my name, Mr. Fan-tabby-ulous? “

 

 

 

welcome-home-dog

Oh well, welcome home!

 

 

cheers-to-good-decisions

 

And cheers to good decisions!

 


Is controlling domestic help rates in apartments becoming essential?

domestic-helpDomestic help/maids have now become a necessity for almost all households in India. Presently, with both men and women working in the 9-5 shift or more, the basic household chores need to be taken care of by the maids, cooks, nannies, drivers etc. It becomes essential that you hire the right person for all these activities that affect your day-to-day lives.

 Some of the cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad have several high-rise apartments with 700+ people residing in the same. The amount of domestic help available in such apartments should also be abundant? But this is not the case and the simple rule of economics that demand generates supply fails here. Finding domestic help is not as easy as earlier irrespective of where you stay or how much you can pay. Sooner or later you do go through the pain of finding the right domestic help and retaining the same.

 Essentially, the story remains the same whether you reside in a big apartment or small. The residents of an apartment always complain that how maids, cooks and drivers in general force residents to increase their salary. A lot of household help quit frequently to join new employers who pay them higher or just become very adamant and demand for immediate pay hikes/bonuses forcing their employers to reconsider their compensation.

 Almost all apartment associations have discussed these issues and attempt to come up with regulations to control the rates of maids in an apartment such as below:

  • Prepare a rate card for all the household activities and ask residents to pay only that much.

  • Every maid needs to carry a No-objection-certificate from her previous employer so that the prospective employer ensures she/he is not switching jobs for money.

  • Residents are requested not to deviate from the rate card.

  • Any domestic help asking for more than the agreed rates is penalized.

 The question that arises from the above pointers is that how easy is it to apply these rules to housing societies. A lot of residents were happy with the above mentioned resolutions, however some disagreed to the resolutions claiming that they were quite capitalist in nature and if doctors/engineers can demand their price, why can’t the domestic help do the same? The whole demand and supply economics lies in the scenario that if you can afford a maid for Rs. 8,000 and can very well afford it, it doesn’t matter to you if others in the apartment are paying Rs. 3,000. The others sooner or later will have to succumb to the so called “market rate” pressure and increase the salary bars.

 The resolutions mentioned above can only work if people living in an apartment work as a team with their associations and come to a common resolution wherein neither the domestic help is exploited nor are the employers blackmailed for sudden pay hikes.

 Until then people with maids/drivers working with you for more than an year, good luck in maintaining them. For people searching for a good domestic help, best of luck for your quest to find the right domestic help!


Apartment Complex Events – Tips for Planning Pongal Celebrations

In the rush and stress of urban life, we often forget about the ancient customs and traditions associated with our festivals. In fact, one of the common complaints of parents living in apartment complexes in cities is that their children are unaware of their roots and culture. Yet another complaint often heard is that city living has cut the links that develop between members of a community.

Have a communal Pongal celebration in the apartment complex is a good way to solve these problems. Children get to know more about their culture even as their parents learn to interact and develop friendships with their neighbors.

Tips for Planning Pongal Celebrations


(i) Pongal is a four day festival. While it might not be possible to evoke a good response to an event stretching out over four days – give the hectic pace of urban life – plan to have at least a two day celebrations to create a true impact.

(ii) The first day of Pongal, known as Bogi, is normally marked by a pooja and a bonfire. The bonfire in the evening can be made into a community event.

(iii) Make arrangements for the bonfire well in advance. Keep one person in charge of the entire event. Designate a safe area for the bonfire, which is away from parked cars and other fire traps. Involve children in the activity of building the bonfire. Also ensure that safety precautions are in place. Check that fire extinguishers are in working order.

(iv) On the second day of Pongal celebrations – the Surya Pongal – arrange for women in the apartment complex to draw kolams. Get children involved in the activity, so that they learn about this tradition. Some apartment complexes even arrange group kolam competitions.

Pongal Celebrations

(v) Cooking the pongal can also be an event where all the residents in the complex participate. This again adds to the excitement and fervor of the occasion.

(vi) A community lunch can be organized. The residents of the apartment complex should be encouraged to bring in one dish each for the lunch. This will again involve a lot of planning and interaction – which is the point of holding Pongal celebrations in your apartment complex!

(vii) Have special events for the children. A quiz competition regarding Pongal traditions, a exhibition of Pongal Panai pots painted and decorated by the residents and a cultural program are just some of the ways to get children involved more actively in the celebration. These activities will also build up a special atmosphere in the apartment complex and add to the sense of festivity.

(viii) The success of the Pongal celebrations in your apartment complex will depend on the degree of participation. It is therefore essential that the event is well planned taking everybody’s suggestions and ideas. Discussions should be held and responsibilities assigned to make sure that the event goes off smoothly.

Group celebrations can reduce the feeling of alienation that people living in apartment houses often experience – and Pongal is definitely a good reason to celebrate!


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