Yesterday I was waiting for D at the Chetpet Railway station. I suppose it would win the prize for one of the most uninviting station sitting in the midst of heaps of garbage. If you wonder what is new about Indian stations like this? The answer is the approach that goes through the by-lanes of a higher income slum (if you could call that).
Let me stop digressing and come to the post on hand which is not about Railways. I parked my bike on a vacant area abutting an authorized dump yard and waited for the train carrying D when a very unremarkable middle aged lady brushed by me. She went up to a tree and took off a bag from her shoulder and hung it on the tree. Then rummaging into something behind the same tree she pulled out a mat spread it on the ground and promptly went to sleep.
I awoke to the fact that I was in the living premises of somebody and I retreated to a safe distance. Looking around I saw several more dwelling places where neither walls nor roofs limited the habitable space of its occupants. Yes, you had an abundance of common area for free, that flat promoters would charge you an arm and leg for. The people I saw lived peacefully in the midst of the squalor I so detested stepping into a few minutes earlier.
A home is a very emotional issue for most of us and for many it is more than an investment or a tax saver. It is said bricks and mortar don’t make a home. It hit me hard yesterday, it really doesn’t. For most getting their own house is a huge achievement whether it is like these homes without boundaries or a brick and mortar one or even like this one. Whether a peaceful sleep to the occupants in each of these can be a common denominator is the big question.
I am trying to find a house that will fit my budget and looks like its going to be a long search.
Some pictures of traditional South Indian homes taken by a traveler in one of my favourite spots in Chennai, Dakshin Chitra.