We had to vacate our home for the last 10 years. It was a place where O +ve and B +ve had stayed ever since they were born. This house was on the third floor of the apartment, with no play area, on a 24*7 busy main-road, right opposite a metro station. It served our requirements, that we had 10 years back, very well.
Now, we had to choose a house that suits the requirements of our twin daughters, currently four and a half-years-old. We listed down the factors important to us.
We know that in a city like Hyderabad, first-hand interaction with nature comes at a premium. With this constraint, our prerequisite was that our daughters can spend as much time as possible outside the four walls of the house.
A place to play, run and jump under an open sky with the accompaniment of sunlight and wind. It had to be a place where they can splash around in puddles and bath in rains. A place where they can do nature hunt as and when they like, as much as they want. It had to be a place where they can see insects inside/outside the home and also the stray animals. A place with trees around where they can hear the chirping of the birds in the morning. All these, without the paraphernalia of getting outside the home and with the main door of the house open for their safety.
Our former house was 3 km away from the nearest possible park. Now, we wanted a park within the walking distance. And yes, we wanted to be away from the traffic, for nature and vehicles do not go together.
Given that our twin daughters do not go to any formal environment until now, we wanted a place where children come out to play. In our earlier house, though there were 30 flats in the apartment, there was no play area and children hardly got an opportunity to play together.
We selected the house with this criterion and I must say that we got it wrong. I realized that the weight of school bags is not going to reduce in India.
Another criterion for us in house selection was that the girls get to see and interact with all different kind of people that co-habit our country. Our daughters have now made friends with garbage collectors; they speak to sweepers and see all the types of street-vendors that throng the locality. They see diversity and try to understand that everyone is different.
Of course, in people, the most important criterion was that Dirty Feet‘s office is within a walking distance of 5 minutes. So, their mother does not have to spend time in a conveyance from home to office and back.
Our previous house, with all its limitations, had one thing – it was spacious. The girls had a gala time running, hopping, skipping, jumping, climbing, cycling inside the home. We wanted it to continue, within the house as well as outside the house. A place where they can play peek-a-boo and keep finding new hiding places. All these without making nuisance to our neighbours, which we did a number of times, in the earlier house.
We wanted a place ample enough for their activities, arts and crafts and where they can make a mess to their heart’s content. The house needed space so that all their stuff – clothes, toys, games, books are kept within their reach, where they can take and put it back.
The above was our criteria for renting the house for children. We are sure that we are not going to buy a house for we feel that our requirements keep changing and we do not want to be tied down to a place.
Fortunately, we did find a house which we now call home meeting the above criteria. A ground floor house with a good enough court-yard. Yes, we did lose out on the high-rises and the perks of the gated community. Win some, lose some.
The girls are liking their space, sun, wind, insects, street vendors, stray dogs and cats, parks, trees, jumping around and more.
We do not know how it will contribute to their growing up and what will be its impact. We shall see. I will keep you updated.
What would be your factors in selecting a house for children?