A House the Trees Ate

Back home in Mangalore, where the city is quickly eating the few remnants of the sleepy town that once was, I spotted a house that was consumed not be the glassy steel of modernity but by wood and leaves.

My grandfather and I would have gone about our evening walk together in silence if he hadn’t pointed out that little plot of green. This was one of the cities less trafficked back alleys where empty plots draped in sunshine and grass hosted cricket games with concert wickets. Empty plots in these areas weren’t an unusual sight.


My grandfather explained how the rich occupants of these large plots and luxurious homes, that contrasted the cramped quarters of the new city, had all succeed in raising children who were far more successful than them. The old Indian desire to make engineers and doctors paid off. Their children had left the country for better economic opportunities and their parents followed when they aged.

The abandoned plots hosted decaying mansions and overgrown trees while the city’s residents grew faster and busier. The sudden drop off the road leads directly to the house which must have once been impossible to miss.


Like all old Christian houses in Mangalore the compound walls became part of the house walls.


But the new trees and blooming plants make for impenetrable guardians. They choke ever inch of free space and entry is impossible. A few curious branches have already begun to climb in through the thick glass windows.


The gate seemed funny. If you looked through it you would see a bit of forest guarded by the red brick compound wall, in the old remnants of the city.

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