Posted by: Anu | January 9, 2013

Built with Love….


Years ago I used to dream…about erecting tall skyscrapers in my home town. I dreamed of watching this city from a lofty terrace up there…. I was young and eager to build a new era for this city. I loved this city.

But something has gone wrong in last couple of years. No…I still love this place, I call it home…don’t I?! But I do not want any skyscrapers here….not anymore. Me and my friends…we have lived here for generations. But we will neither afford a house in those… nor the lifestyle that must be bought as well.

I know who will afford it all…. Those few people for whom we toil day and night. They will buy what was rightfully ours. They will show us a dream…. that if we work harder someday maybe we can be like them…. Maybe! And someday we will really afford it all…but we’ll be too old and worn out with hard work, to enjoy it. We will be acutely aware of those who were robbed of living so that we could buy some luxuries…..and the plushness will feel so vacant somehow. We will learn to not notice the emptiness…not feel too much, not even pure happiness.

It is a cruel joke… such dark humor that I feel not like laughing at all. But the glamor-dressed reality of the building trade has taught me something. The people that I slaved for will never let me change the fate of this city. They will offer me a glorious chance to build my dream city on their terms…just a few compromises! I would build it on any terms… as long as I get to build. But it will be them who own my dream. They will sell it piece by piece, to those who can afford to buy. I will stay in a cubbyhole for the rest of my life and watch the skyscrapers with pride…. “I built it!” I will stand in the long queues, suffocate in jammed roads and I will look up to the skyscrapers once in a while, coughing and retching, “I built it”. Poor will become poorer, rich will become richer, I will watch them rob each other in turns…. I’d want to look away…to the skyscrapers… “I built it”

Ten years down the line I do not want to think that I built it all…I helped them build this horrific world. I know they will build it anyway…much worse without me. But now I do not want any part of it. My home is about to be destroyed. And I am going to run for my life. Many have fled before me. I laughed at them, called them cowards. But now I must run too…jump off from this sinking ship.

Lucky for me I know how to build. I will find a secluded island somewhere… and build another home there… a home that will not be built on the corpses of my fellow brothers…a home that will be an ascetic’s cave…. and nothing more.

I know there are more like me…. They will come too. I will build for them… I will build with love. The land will heal and blossom under my touch. I will blossom with her…someday to die in peace and return back to the sweet earth.

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Responses

  1. Have you read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”? I was amused at how your solution is so similar to the one that Rand proposes in Atlas Shrugged… but as an answer to a very different problem!

    You probably know about this- http://www.urbangram.in/

    However, I was a bit confused about what exactly is your frustration about? The increasing prices of homes in Pune? Or the lifestyle of those who inhabit it? Or the exploitation of the poor? Perhaps, all? May be they are related? If you dont mind I would really like to understand…

    • hehe… fountainhead and atlas shrugged are two books all architects read in their college days! I did too.
      I’d say the problems and solutions change slightly with time and country but at the end, it is human civilization. So the history pretty much repeats itself, does it not?!
      Just with one difference, Ayn Rand always had one impossible “hero” character. But in reality, there is no perfect savior, living in exile, who will jump out to save the world.

      And all the questions you mentioned, do you really think they are each separate issues?
      My observation is that they all make one big question…. a blind, westernized “development” that does not consider the “people” and their “oriental” context.
      Increasing prices, impossible lifestyle, economic extremes, increasing crime rate, they are just side effects, not the root cause.
      That is all I can explain in short. I’m sure you’ve already got the idea!

      • We always hear about this and they do seem related but I think one needs to understand things clearly and truly if one has to change them… I saw some explanation in your previous blogposts, may be sometime you can write another one specifically about this…

        Thanks,


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