My grandparents have spent most of their lives fighting for and living on their small farm. Maybe that’s why they can’t seem to find a house they like in the city.
Their third apartment is a new and expensive one. It’s far away from the places we used to frequent in Mangalore. It’s large and might seem like a great deal to someone from a cramped Indian metro but houses are always large in Mangalore; in Bangalore I often wonder how anyone can manage without a yard, a few trees around, a compound wall or a second floor. I remember back when it was weird if a house didn’t have it’s own well, at least in my head.
I’m grateful to be home but watching the latest stray kitten my grandparents have adopted bound around really makes me think. We live on the ninth floor so there is nothing to stop the sea breeze from flowing in. The cat must know when the breeze flows in but can’t know what it is. She’s still very young and has gotten lost in the apartment’s twelve plus floor’s before so she won’t be let out till she’s older. There she sits at the balcony her existence limited to a few walls while the vastness of the sea still flows through the walk in windows.
Come to think of it I’ve never lived in a house with more than three floors. I have been listening to the trees rustle all day but only now do I realize that they don’t shade any roofs or risk their branches entering any windows. The cries of birds that would prompt people in my family to call out the birds name have never been more distant or more meaningless.
My dissatisfaction must seem odd to those of you who’ve spent your lives in the city but I’ve always known green farms or Mangalore rented houses that always had compound wall next to patches or greenery.
When I see that I’ll have to walk ten floor and cross the street to feel grass on my feet I can’t help but wonder how absurd and disconnected life in an apartment building is.