Saturday, 27 March 2010

What makes a house?

Having moved recently into one of the 'elite' areas of the city, I fell in love with most of the houses. ( I simply love houses/homes/buildings. Don't mistake, I am no authority on architecture)
My brisk morning walk is often interrupted when I slow down to just gaze at the bungalows – some are compact ones, some are two-storeyed/three-storeyed. I love those – which are old and have a bit of history attached to them. I spend time reading the ugly looking blue-coloured PMC's heritage site nameplates. Bits of information like – Doyen of Indian classical music, Vasantrao Deshpande spent the last few years of his life here (Building's name is Basant) gives me goosebumps.
I have often wondered about people living in the houses I have liked. What's their day like? Does it mean anything to them – a vocalist of repute had once stayed in their apartment or a reputed Marathi historian stayed in the house they are now living in? Or is it just a name for them?
I really don't know, because I haven't gone around asking questions. Sometimes though I itch to take the pictures of these houses. But hesitate fearing a backlash from the residents – they may think its intrusion or worse they might think that I am upto no good. I wish to preserve history, at least in my mind, for my reference, hence the need for pictures.
There are other things too which make me slow down – madhumalti which covers the terrace wall or the balcony (reminds me of my own home), the fragrance of Ananata and Sonchafa. These again remind me of my mother and her garden.
Sometimes I stop to despair. Like today. I was just crossing one lane when suddenly I came upon an imposing structure in white with huge windows. From the road I could see large fluffy soft toys in pink and white. Was this a mall? But, no this was a residential area. A huge three-storeyed building/mansion in white with big windows barricaded by walls. Was it some politician's idea of some dream architecture? (It's a nightmare, if you ask me) I had to go around the house, right up to the entrance gate, only to be greeted by a posse of security guards standing outside it. The name of the owner was engraved in gold and silver. From what I could see was a huge driveway and the imposing structure. It didn't look welcoming. (Not a politician's humble abode, I am sure. The name's not familiar. Or perhaps I am not aware of the powers-that-be )
The structure (I wouldn't call it a home or house. It doesn't fit into my idea of what's a home) gave me more food for thought. Who are the inhabitants? How do they feel living in an ivory tower? What goes on in the char diwaron mein? Are the interiors more opulent, flashy?
I don't think I will never know. I guess I should stop being a Peeping Tom.

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