sonal, siddharth and me were at a long meeting yesterday with the pali village residents where we were immersed for 4 hours in legalese and the complex loopholes within regulations that make for monstrous high rises in the old gaothans of the city.
as we nitpicked over fine details of set backs and height regulations, proposed roads that lead nowhere, sitting in the top floor of an old house with blue walls and a garden, we were conscious of the mutual suspicion between the christian locals and the new muslim community that seemed to be buying and building flats there. how much of the resistance of the locals was spurred by this and how much of it by the trauma of watching their childhood spaces being ripped into by the transforming city is not easy to separate. however, one thing is for certain, the new developments, if unchecked, aided by the numerous relaxations that apply is going to make these spaces unlivable, with spaces in between buildings like chasms, and the roads clogged with parked cars.
before the meeting the three of us walked with alfred around the village which is very twee. narrow streets with low rise houses, verandahs in wood and sloping roofs. a few buildings rose higher and the new developments were rather atrocious in the way that they cut off light for their neighbors and the way in which they made the street outside their own- by not allowing anyone to park there.
there was another strange but fascinating building in the village. a building for dance classes which doubled up as a stage too. on a podium with mother marys statue a railing protected a large space with huge sliding folding doors that opened out to reveal a stage. dance classes were held inside and one could imagine performances in the evening. a stainless steel railing curved along the edge of the stage with musical notes as motif. above the stage a triangular design that spanned the whole façade of the building making the stage a ziggurat temple of sorts in the area. there seemed to be a few houses in the above floors.