Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Scenario 4: ITS MY VILLAGE (2015)

For obvious reasons like the social-economic-political reasons, the appearance of the village has changed. The people have not been able to accept the change openly. There have been no interventions to understand this change on the mind sets of such ethnic groups who held a distinct lifestyle which is now dead. It is the people of the village who give functions to the spaces they inhibit, it is their mind-space that translates into their physical space. How are we looking at development?, It is necessary but is there not a little conscience required while doing so? Do we enforce conservation strategies to behold beauty, without understanding the woes of the people who originally resided in them? Nostalgia at times is rendered to glorify the past, but in this case it is the reality that they render to get glimpses of the past.

Soaking oneself in a bucket of nostalgia and remembering old times has become a
regular affair for some residents in Ranwar today. The place has stagnated today with no
interventions that are helping the residents contemporarize their culture. Very few of the old
cottages are left as they are being razed down to the ground almost every other day. The
residents used to lead a lifestyle full of community activities and peace. It is the same for
Miss. Alice Flanangin, who lives in one of the old cottages alone. She is 72 years old and all
her 4 sons have settled in the Middle East. Today, while sitting by the door, which remains
locked from inside through the day why (unlike old times where all doors used to be open
always), she is reliving the streets of Ranwar 40 years back in time.

She sees kids playing on the streets outside her house in the Ranwar Square. In those days,
no one in the neighbourhood owned a car - or even a scooter or motorcycle and so no
valuable play spaces were lost to parking. There were no TVs or computers to keep them
preoccupied either. While looking at the women pounding the bottle masala, a cricket ball
flies past her, nearly missing her window. Her neighbour is constantly complaining to her
about the same problems.

She was reminded of the time when the last minute preparations were always at a high note,
just before the ‘Feast of The Cross’ rosary was supposed to be recited at the square. She
used to make marzipan for everyone to celebrate the month. Such gatherings were a very
common back then. The organic way in which the hamlet evolved at a low scale, gave in a lot
of ventilation and breeze, with an influx of natural light due to so many windows. Residents
would not feel the need to switch on fans at home. But things have changed for her and for
the other residents. This has been accepted with stoic resignation.

A 4 storey building has come up right across her house, blocking all the ventilation and the
natural light. She does not know who lives there and neither have the people living there
tried to interact with them. The reclamation has land locked her vicinity, with an increase
in traffic. Now people squabble with each other as their vehicles pass through the narrow

One only imagines if there is a way to move out of the house and enjoy the streets, the
squares and the chatting with the neighbours. While she sits and thinks on, she is shaken by
a knock on her door…

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