A Street Named Desire

Sanjay, Chetan & Pankaj

Sanjay, Chetan & Pankaj

There’s a story about this picture.

Four years ago, I distinctly remember the time, when, there was a demolition drive in this area. Given that this otherwise narrow street is now a primary conduit for eastern suburbanites to visit a swanky mall in the west, I assumed the demolition was to enable road widening. The government apparently had to demolish only to a certain depth, so this home, once an enclosed place, lay bare, exposed for every passer-by to see inside. The wall, once helping enclose a private space, now became a graffiti canvas, signed by Sanjay, Chetan and Pankaj. I have no idea if this was a part of the house of the kid, in the photo. I saw that day that God too, hung precariously on the weak wall. And the small closet there, with a padlock, out on the street was irony being personified.

It’s been four years since the demolition and nothing else has changed, part of this home, and its neighbour’s remains demolished. Some of the neighbours have been saved from the demolition; I assume a case must have been filed and a stay order procured. I do not know this for a fact, but that’s what I can surmise, because, the road is still as narrow and still as much abundant with potholes as it was. I continue to take this route to visit that swanky mall, and the scene has remained much the same.

But something has changed. The neighbour’s place.

Hotel Maratha Highway-Link Corner

Hotel Maratha Highway-Link Corner

Hotel Maratha Highway-Link Corner
Lunch, Chinese, Tandoor and Fast Food
Free Home Delivery (and a number to call)

That’s what’s written on the signage. This house (or maybe it was a hotel to start with) also had its outside wall demolished. It was interesting to see how they have moved on. The open space has been converted, and banner above the hole-in-the-wall kitchen proudly proclaims it is now a hotel.

The verdict is awaited, I guess, because there have been no changes since the demolition four years ago. And it seems that the residents don’t feel like waiting for the final verdict. While the court does its work, there’s a business opportunity. An open space that was once a room is now a restaurant. (There’s a nice red table in the middle, I am sure the chairs come out in the evening). In case the motorists don’t realise, a line of rectangular pots defines the boundary – between what is still the road and what is still a private space.

I am not sure what this post is about. It is perhaps about entrepreneurship. Seizing opportunities and making the best of what you have? Or perhaps it is about visual culture or the irony that our society is today. Perhaps, it is about privacy, its violation and such things. Or, it is about the life of people.

And while we wait for final decisions, in between, there’s that life to be lived.


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