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The walls thinner; the architecture stylized; entrances common; the views assigned; amenities listed, the landscapes curated – what was only omitted from the launch sale is a neighbor.  Ironically, if proximity is the yardstick for a neighbor then why is the idea so distant. Neighborhood is not about being nearby, accessible or being social, it is about accidentally becoming a community.

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Gated Community – a term reflecting a proverbial paradox as well as depicting an urban limitation. In recent past, stay orders - with resident opposition have been passed to eradicate ‘gates’ for permit to infrastructure. Physical eradication does not imply erasure of social barriers nor grant freedom of urban access. Rather, it potentially magnifies the ongoing paradox of biased social incorporation.

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French, Muslim, military, railway, LIC, Tata Steel, South Campus, women, low income, unmarried, Type B.  What is the one suffix that correlates these varied disparate orders? Its Quarters -  the housing amenity. Nowadays, however the word is more related to the idea of alcoholic beverage rather being recognized as the most characteristically common community facility provided within the liveable fabric.

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The shift in attitude is evident: from buying home to making property, from investing for the next generation to generating income, from intention of staying to just renting. The idea of shelter and security is now a calculated game of assets and valuation. Scheming ways to developments belonging to none – the owner does not stay; the occupant does not own!

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Instructions in thin air; coffee pours out from nowhere; water, air purified; butler in the form of droid; lights on; and there’s action! One has a dialogue with the door, the other a soliloquy with thermostat and the third a monologue with a TV remote. Is this play about smartness or a mockery of hapless dependence? For now, OK Giggle!

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Under the conditioned ceiling, within confinements of four walls and behind locked keys are hidden identities, day to day escapes, overlapping memoirs and transient imprints of inhabitants. There are many ways to name these premises, but voices from the distance say: such a lovely place; what a nice surprise; bring your alibis - we are here, of our own device.

In the city, there are two kinds of spaces – the house and the outside. House - one that ensures privacy, offers security and accommodates independent choices. Then there is the outside. Where everyone claims ownership, forms collective opinions and asserts their social rights.  But what about them whose house lies in this very outside? In which space do they belong?

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