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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Homes of Vasant Vihar

Vasant Vihar is the neighborhood where our temporary housing is located. I take our daughter to and from the school bus stop, which is a 5-10 minute walk from our place, so I have been out and about in the neighborhood and couldn’t help but notice how awesome many of the homes are. I have been drooling over them twice a day for 10 days now, so I decided to share my favorite ones. Many of them are multi-family homes in which perhaps people live with their extended family. Some have servant quarters, some do not. Most of them have terrific balconies, terraces or both, which I absolutely love.

Some have more traditional lines:

IMG_1995 IMG_1983 IMG_1990 

Others incorporate classical elements such as Grecian columns, rounded balconies, wrought iron gates/fences and the like:

IMG_2035 IMG_1980 IMG_1981 IMG_2037

Others still, are more contemporary and incorporate a lot of glass and some kind of wood (perhaps teak?) in the exterior:

IMG_2039  IMG_2029

IMG_1982  IMG_2045

IMG_2046  IMG_1997

Then there are those that look sort of Art Deco-ish:

IMG_2027  IMG_1994

IMG_2036  IMG_1993

Last but not least, is one that’s covered in marble, I mean all of it, including the fence (it’s kinda hard to see in the pictures, so you’ll have to trust me on that one):

IMG_1991  IMG_1988

I made a point of not taking pictures of the embassies and embassy residences, because, those are always nice. The houses pictured above are just people’s homes. Perhaps not ordinary people’s because I hear a lot of extraordinary people (such as members of parliament and other officials) call Vasant Vihar home but still…

Not every house in Vasant Vihar is like those above though. Some are a lot more modest, including the one we live in. I am not supposed to show pictures of the exterior of the house where we live for security reasons but here’s one that’s very much like ours (maybe even a little nicer):

IMG_2030

They tend to be older and maybe only a couple of stories tall (each story is one apartment). But real estate is very expensive in Delhi (more than most cities in the US) and a lot of the smaller, older home are being demolished to make room for newer , taller buildings:

IMG_1985

Of course, someone has to do the demolition and construction. Who do you think? Women working in sarees, that’s who. I say that only half-jokingly. Women do indeed seem to do a lot of the hard work. I often see a bunch of men standing/sitting around while the women are working. Now, there may be a reason for that. Perhaps they are supervisors or whatever, I don’t know but it’s certainly noticeable.

IMG_2041

Those people can’t really afford to live in Vasant Vihar, so what do they do? They build temporary slums, close to the construction site where they work and live there. It ain’t pretty and I feel rotten every time I walk by their makeshift “homes” and see how they live but that’s part of life here and this is what it looks like:

IMG_2048

Kind of unrelated but what’s also part of life here, are the cows - walking down the street in the middle of traffic or relaxing peacefully somewhere. They are sacred and no one bothers them:

IMG_2005

So there you have it – a walk around our current neighborhood.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, I love hearing about your journey. we are FS hopefuls.

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  2. We live in a neighborhood that looks like this. While it does have its own peculiarities of India life, we prefer it so much to living in one of the gated communities. We can actually walk to coffee shops, a restaurant, a grocery store, and even Gymboree!

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    1. We like it so far. It's sorta walkable. Not exactly stroller-friendly but I have yet to find an area in India that is. It does have its charm and we also can walk to a few stores and restaurants. Getting there can be an adventure because of traffic but it sure keeps things exciting. And I do love people- and house-watching.

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  3. "Better Homes and Gardens" has nothing over you with your Neighborhood Tour...well...except for the not so better temporary slum housing. :(
    Now about those cows meandering all over the place...Does Delhi have anyone on Sacred Cowpie Patrol? Or is it messy and stinky?

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    Replies
    1. If there is Cowpie Patrol, I haven't seen it. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any cowpies yet either, although I have seen human "pies" (yuck!). I hear that some Indians make patties out of cowpies(also yuck!) dry them out in the sun and then use them instead of coals. I haven't actually personally seen anyone do it but I understand it is done. Pretty crazy, ha?

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  4. So cool! When will you move into your permanent housing? We just found out we'll be in temp housing for a little over 2 months! I can't complain about the digs, but man are we tired of living out of suitcases!

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    Replies
    1. Right now the plan is for us to move into our permanent place the third week of May, which can't come fast enough because we are also tired of living out of suitcases.

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  5. I've been out of the blogging loop lately. Sheesh. I've missed a lot with you guys! Hope everything goes smoothly with your transfer to permanent housing. Your current neighborhood looks lovely. Not at all what I imagined India looking like!

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