The summers have set in and Americans are out with their grills, tents, yachts and bikes. Children are up with their Tree Houses, hammocks, basket balls, base balls. The back yards are alive on weekends with barbeques, music, games, pets and portable water pools. I was part of this fun and frolic in back yards of Deepa jiji’s house in Aurora. In suburbs people have distinct style of living and these localities are designed keeping same in mind.
I observe with an astute interest that, practically there are no boundary walls around the houses in USA. It fascinates me a lot. Reasons apart, in India we could have provided free houses to so many poor people instead of making these walls. Come and think of it, these walls are really a colossal waste besides, that they keep people divided. Since, time immemorial a stigma has also been attached to these dividing walls in our society. And it is rightly so, I feel. Yet we need them to our own peril.
The absence of such walls gives a very delightful feeling about any township or residential locality here because of the openness it unfastens. It allows larger and unhindered back yards where one lawn can sprawls to the other, children can play around unabated, the pets can run and hop uninterrupted and neighbours may move across conveniently. The front lawns extend up to the road and houses look very approachable and open. The mail boxes stand smiling with their flaps up. All these synergise the environment to get friendly and cordial.
On the contrary in India first we raise 6’ of boundary walls, then fix broken glass bottles on the rim so that no one can even dream of trespassing. The richer you are, higher is the boundary wall and it gets to next level as security wall. The main gate is quite deterrence. It adds to claustrophobia if it is totally blind in consonance to the walls. The cluttering by these walls can certainly be avoided, if we are little civic in our culture.
I would be naïve to imagine such a concept being tried in India but the fact remains that it is because of silly, stupid and scrupulous reasons that we remain at such a loss. We, much to the contrary of a good society, unabashedly prove an old saying true i.e. “good neighbours will have good fence.”