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The jargon of selling living space is an art in itself. A poky, hot, dark flat is transformed in print to become a "surprisingly spacious, south-facing residence"...

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The jargon of selling living space is an art in itself. A poky, hot, dark flat is transformed in print to become a "surprisingly spacious, south-facing residence". Just as second-hand cars are now ‘pre-owned’, a derelict squat becomes an opportunity for creative interior design.

Driving from Delhi into Noida or Gurgaon, I was mesmerised by hoardings advertising luxury apartments, promising a lifestyle as high as the fantasy castles they sketch in the empty air. "Icon of status. Insignia of class," boasts the Florence Elite. "Move in to your new status symbol," exhorts another. The very names of these concrete excrescences
invoke Foreign Class: Windsor Court, Hamilton Towers, Western Heights. Or English words Frenchified with a couple
of extra accents like Éléganté. 

The newspapers are full of smiling couples in Dockers hoiking clean children into the air against a backdrop of green.
"Ludhiana calling," beckons one: "Close your eyes, Feel the touch of wet grass under your feet, Feel the cool breeze
touching deep inside you, Open your arms wide, And take a deep breath, Because now, YOU WAIT NO MORE!" Funny how ugly urban sprawl is melded with natural beauty, so effortlessly. Amrapali Village, for example—a concrete extravaganza about as far from ‘village’ as you can possibly get—has the tag-line: "Inspired by the countryside. Designed for modern lifestyles." "Live in a barchart," is more like it.

And if you want your high living to be enhanced by spiritual aspirations, there are prime locations in "The Spiritual
Township" of Vrindavan, or in Kurukshetra, "City of Lord Krishna", or simply make a down-payment on "Nirvana,"
closer home...Dream on...


This article originally appeared in Delhi City Limits, February 15, 2006


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