Sankaree Govender remembers the precise moment she and husband
Perumal Moodley knew a move was imperative. We were just
coping in my tiny one-bedroom flat in Morningside, says
Devi. I was juggling the roles of features editor of the
Sunday Times, a daily talk show on Lotus FM, presenting Eastern
Mosaic and, yes, my pregnancy as well, when there was a knock
at the door. The textbooks for our MBAs had arrived. Two heaps
of them. Our little fold-up dining-room table couldnt cope.
It was time.
Not so simple. Devis fantasy of a freestanding house with
a garden big enough for a swing and sandpit just wouldnt
materialise. Well, in their price bracket anyway. We looked
for about five months, mainly in Glenwood because wed both
studied at the university (and still were!), and felt an affinity
to the area. Devi recalls the summer of 2000 as she and
her vast tummy did the showhouse rounds. She laughs: Everybody
said wed know when it was the right house. None of them
was that. Wed seen over 30
then came the 84-year-old house on Nicholson Road. It was
pouring with rain, but the moment I walked into the entrance hall,
I knew. Perumal said Too Expensive, We Cant Afford It
and anyway, I hadnt seen beyond the entrance. Devi
recalls dreamily: Gleaming wooden floors, high ceilings,
stained glass, a chandelier in the entrance, nice-sized grounds
with huge trees, a fabulous bar entertainment area, three bedrooms,
and in great condition. I was completely sold on
the house, the wide road, the position.
They did the maths, wrote down pros and cons, and hearts
in mouths put in an offer. Rejected. Another offer. Rejected.
Another on Christmas Eve and it was theirs. For
R400 000, they had their first house. Euphoria, swiftly followed
by terror. In the true style of be careful what you wish
for, Devi recalls: We were panic-stricken; sleepless
nights as to how we could afford it. It frightened the living
daylights out of us. I was the one whod pushed for the sale
and now, with a baby on the way, the prospect of six months off
work, very little furniture a bed, a lounge suite, a fold-up
table and a television and a husband who truly believed
wed bought a dud, we were on the hook.
Devi and Perumal moved in in March, in good time for the birth
of their daughter, Kaiyuree, six weeks later. They adored the
house, particularly Devi, who was on leave for the first time
in her working life and could enjoy the time with her baby. The
home was so special. One of those that folds its arms around you
the minute you walk into it.
Devi considers herself a real homemaker. I love creating
a home my family will always remember and return to
as a warm and safe place. A comfortable, homely environment, not
a museum piece. But, she adds very quickly, being
a Virgo, nothing was ever out of place. Untidiness rocks my world
Four years later, after the birth of their son, Sayuran, Perumal
was offered a post in Joburg, and the family had to move. When
the estate agent said theyd market the house for R1.3-million,
I thought they were completely insane. The show day arrived, and
I headed out to Umhlanga with the children. Id hardly hit
the freeway, when the agent called to ask me to return. He had
an offer. I spun round, returned home, and signed on the dotted
line: R1.25-million! I felt like Id won the Lotto.
Devis says her first home taught her how to be clever with
her money. That property taught me how hard your money can
work for you. We stretched ourselves to buy the house, then paid
as much off the bond as fast as we could. Id recommend anybody
to do the same dont buy a one-bed, buy a two
and save your money by paying it off fast! She laughs: I
love an access bond!
Devi and Perumal are now bedded down in Joburg, in a much
bigger, far more modern house, says Devi, slightly wistfully.
But her life is a good one, and she shouts: I love it, love
it, love it! And work? She scoffs: Its not work,
its pleasure. I work very long hours, but I dont work
so I can still be a mother and do the mommy things.
She describes a normal working day: Leave home at 6am if
the shoots local, or 4 if its to catch a flight. We
normally shoot until 7 or 8 at night. Then, theres a couple
of media training days a week Devi runs one-day courses
for senior executives on how to handle the media (who better qualified?)
and, every Sunday afternoon, she anchors Carte Blanche
Africa. Theres often a voice-over to do at some stage
over the weekend, and plenty of MC work. But weekends are
largely family and friends
and, she sighs, kids
The fearless Devi we see on television, challenging all and sundry
on a Sunday night, is, ultimately, a home-bird. Im
not into cars, fancy clothes or matching lipstick. The home I
create is one where everybody can kick off their shoes, put their
legs up on the sofa and enjoy a glass of wine. Its my sanctuary.
Thats where I like to be.
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