Saturday, March 1, 2003
family started in Canada with one house, four adults, two
grandkids. Parents downsized to a condo and embraced a new
Condo proved to
be 'love at first sight'
When they moved
to this country a dozen years ago, Najma and Arshad Qayyum, like
many South Asians, invited their adult children to live with
to give our offspring a good start and some initial security
when we first came to Canada," says Najma.
Pakistan, the Qayyums, both in their 50s, chose a five-bedroom
house in Brampton as their first home.
They filled it
with family heirlooms and shared it with their son Imran, 36,
daughter-in-law Faiza, 35, and two young grandchildren, Hira and
The Qayyums have
another son, Usman, 34, a cardiologist who lives in the U.S.
relates how she was touched when her granddaughter Hira, then 5,
said "you aren't a grandmother, you're a Nanno.
Grandmothers live far away, you only visit them sometimes, and
they aren't your friends."
No such issue
with the Qayyums who have lived as one big happy family for 12
wonderful to have had this experience, but early last year we
all agreed that that the time was right for us to think about
living separately," Najma says.
chose a custom-built home in Brampton, but my husband and I had
a dilemma. It was a tough decision for us because we didn't want
another huge home, didn't like townhouses and needed something
on one level," she says.
Arshad Qayyum, a
chartered accountant, wanted to be relatively close to his
business, which deals with accounting, tax and asset management
and is based in Mississauga.
lived in an apartment and were quite apprehensive about adopting
a totally new lifestyle," explains Najma.
Avesta is also
the now-"dead" language of the scripture, adds Antia,
who has written but not yet published a paper on his community.
flourished in ancient Persia (now Iran) until the Arab invasion
in 641 A.D. Then, some Zoroastrians were forced to convert to
Islam, while others fled to the mountains. Around 785 A.D. a
small group fled by boat to Gujerat on India's west coast, Antia
The King of
Gujerat received them warmly, allowing them to settle with
freedom to worship, provided they adhered to five conditions:
surrender of all arms, adoption of local dress, adoption of
local language, performance of wedding ceremonies after sunset
and an explanation of the religion to the ruler.
'Coming to Canada
has minimized differences'
seemed to be the ideal solution to our needs as we're heading
toward the 'golden years'."
over the majority of the decisions to his wife who helps in the
family business and likes to research products. "I had read
about MLS in The Star, so I went onto the Internet and started
exploring the condo market.
that it's important to see financial statements and the reserve
fund of a condo (generally, the higher the reserve fund, the
better long-term security of the building). Our conundrum was
that you can only see those once you put in an offer."
The Qayyums were
into a fine balancing act because they had to wait until their
son's home was completed last August. Then they would put their
own home on the market, put a bid on a new place and move-
hoping would be as close to simultaneously as possible
Najma put the
waiting time to good use. She read, researched and asked
that I wanted to move into an older building because with a new
builder you take a chance," says Najma.
learned that one must inspect the common areas in a building
like the car park, storage and locker areas- if they are
well-maintained then it's a good residence."
Najma adds she
wanted to be absolutely sure "that when we move it's for
the right reasons and into the right place because I don't plan
to move again soon."
herself blessed after finding Granite Gates, a condo community
at Mississauga Rd. and The Collegeway in Mississauga built by
Camrost-Felcorp. "I had seen these earlier, but thought
they would be unaffordable."
But when a condo
became available, she still went to see it. "It was love at
first sight. This wasn't anything like what I had imagined or
feared. The condo is open and bright, with a breathtaking view
from the kitchen of the Sawmill Conservation Area and I decided
right then, that if we have to live in a condo, then this is the
The building is
12 years old and has a recreation centre and pool. The Qayyums
were fortunate that the owner wanted to sell quickly. "I
was afraid it would be beyond our (price) range- however our
son's friend is a real estate agent who negotiated the price and
brought it down to our offer."
The couple paid
about $325,000 for their condo, which is 1,535 square feet, with
two bedrooms, dining room and two baths. "We were lucky
once again that the timing was perfect: Our house sold, our
son's home was ready in August, so we moved in with him and
worked on a few things in the condo like removing the brightly
They moved into
the condo in October. Arshad adds, "It's my wife's choice
and a wise one. We don't regret this decision for a moment and
love living here."
But in between
all this was the crisis of what to do with the belongings from
the five-bedroom house. "We are hoarders by nature- there's
no doubt about that. Despite my warning to the family to start
getting rid of stuff, we had tonnes of things everywhere- from
the finished basement to the garage. It's unbelievable the bits
and pieces we collect and I was stressed wondering how we would
ever fit all that into the condo," Najma says.
But they managed.
"The kids took furniture for four bedrooms and we took one
bedroom, but that house was 5,600 square feet so the stuff was
never-ending. I decided that I'm not going to have a garage
sale, but give everything we don't want or need to
charity," says Najma.
"It was a
logistic nightmare, but we made lists of what we each want to
keep and I told everyone in the family to be ruthless about
discarding what they didn't need. In the end, we gave away six
truckloads of usable items and threw out another few truckloads
of junk. I've sworn never to hoard again!" she adds.
True to their
promise, the Qayyums keep the new condo elegantly furnished with
a few select items. "I'm quite delighted because some of my
Pakistani artwork, like handcrafted mirrors, are more visible in
the condo," says Najma with enthusiasm.
it's a transition getting used to life with less," Najma
admits. "I'm a gadget freak but now I try to find multiple
uses for one gadget. The only new furniture we purchased is a
sofa bed for the extra bedroom for when the grandchildren
That's not the
only lifestyle change for the Qayyums. "It's also a change
to buy groceries in small quantities and I have to curb my
impulse to buy for six as opposed to two people," she says.
The Qayyums are
members of the condo committee and regularly attend meetings,
while their new home gives them the flexibilty and free time to
pursue their hobbies like reading, listening to music and
entertaining. "This new lifestyle allows us to indulge our
children, grandchildren, and still take out time for ourselves
to do all the things we want to do," Najma says.
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