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Urban lifestyles can have the swankiest of apartments with the loneliest of people in their own pigeon-holes, with no will to reach out to others.
We are the smart couples, the ones who inhabit the skyscrapers one would have been amazed looking at, back in the 90’s. These imposing edifices reflect not just prosperity on the owner’s part – for they are not cheap – but also a sense of equality: living amongst the equals.
NCRs, or national crowded regions, would consist of hundreds of ‘mini’ societies, which would boast of giving you a life you would have only dreamt of. True, back in the 90’s, society only meant one, huge area – Punjabi Bagh West, for instance, where everyone would know who lives next door and, also, what happens in their lives. For now, several modern ‘mini’ societies have mushroomed around us and have changed the lives we have been living.
Coming to the second which just passed, and this one I am trying to hold on to, I am looking out from my balcony on the second floor in one of the poshest societies of Indirapuram. It’s been close to 10 months since we have shifted to this house and made it our own. This house and the society give you a life and a lifestyle which takes you time to sink in to, making you alter your living habits as per its rules.
True, this is a society which boasted of luxurious living on its marketing paraphernalia, and true that it takes care of all the tags you might want to console yourself with for having spent lakhs buying a small space in it – sprawling gardens, huge community halls, basketball, tennis, badminton courts, swimming pool, gym, kids’ play area, senior citizens’ club and everything else. But in the 10 months which have passed, I have only seen Mondays turn into Fridays catching up with work, and the remaining two days catching up with home.
The web we have intertwined ourselves in doesn’t really let anyone to sneak out and seek life. Husbands work, wives work, kids either confine themselves to schools or crèches and the rest, the stay-at-home lot – the retired or the housewives or a few like me who work from home, stay back and let the ‘society’ life make you solitary despite sensing the worlds living beneath, adjacent and above you.
There’s a home beneath me, a home above me; there’s a young couple living beneath and an elderly couple living above of me. The only connection I have with them is through our balconies – no I don’t see them there, I either drop clothes below or receive some from above. Balconies were only meant to dry out clothes – weren’t they? Soaking in the sun, savouring oranges, guavas or peanuts while basking in the sunlight are all passé, right?
While buying groceries one day, I ended up bumping into the girl who lived on the first floor, right below my house. I was amazed to know how she, too, dreamed of a friend in this vast society. It was impossible to have a life sans one’s work and home in this setup. But, what really stopped us? Well. Nothing.
Why don’t we step out and talk to each other? Why have we stopped passing smiles and exchanging pleasantries? Why do we no longer get together to celebrate mini victories or major losses? Why have we turned into the new-age zombies, who go to work, obey every duty and sleep in their pigeonholes?
Why don’t we learn skills from each other, or rather just talk and learn? Why don’t we make a first move for a friendship or a relationship? Why is this ‘equality’ not helping in breeding friendships? Well, they didn’t guarantee a great social life in their marketing campaigns; they only guaranteed a great society. Pretty well, they have delivered.
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Published here earlier.
Image Source: pixabay