So you want to leave your gated community in the city for a gated community in the village? Like in the above ad of home-in-the-himalayas ? Your gated community must be eco-friendly, of course. Options abound. Tata Housing sells its “Myst Eco-luxury residences” in Kasauli as a super-premium gated community. “This exclusive gated community has been designed by the world’s leading expert in sustainable architecture…” says their website.
Another similar property touts “an exclusive residential address, a community of like-minded people who value the same ideas of wellness, privacy and under-stated luxury.” The background picture shows a large, eco-friendly gate.
In the city one key thing a gated community provides is security. What are they afraid of here, I wonder?
All these exclusive properties tout how sensitive they are to the environment. The Tata Housing site says “Never before has luxury been more sensitive in its approach and more evolved in the statement it makes about those who choose to live here. ” Strangely, none of them talks about how sensitive they are to the local people and culture.
Eco-friendly is better when it is also people friendly. And that doesn’t mean just a maid and a caretaker.
At the other end of this scale is Ashish Arora. He moved here from the city over a decade back. He has built a thriving business not by excluding the local community but by including them. He actively helps all the village people in their issues. He was recently elected to the van-panchayat of his village. He works hard to save the forest, employ local people, and is an integral part of the local community. He is invited to every local celebration. He pays homage when any villager dies. His wife Deepa single-handedly employs well over 50 local women through their enterprise called Chandi Maati.
Arvindji is another great example. He moved up here and set up a library which the entire region benefits from now. And of course there are many who work and contribute to the local NGOs.
These and many other amazing people are not here as expats, but migrants – woven into the local fabric.
You dream of living in the mountains. Who do you want to be?
You can be the rich city Expat who lives in the gated community in the mountains, making exclusivity statements. Or you can be the migrant who makes a statement by making a difference. Someone who connects with and changes the lives of the people around you for the better. As a city-bred person with education and exposure you can do so much for the local community. In return, you actually get to be a part of a real community – possibly for the first time ever.
Please don’t tell me you will live in the gated community and integrate with the local community. That statement doesn’t even sound right, does it?
About Chetan Mahajan: Chetan is a full-time author and blogger who lives in a village in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas. The amazing creative influence of the Himalayas inspired him to start the Himalayan Writing Retreats: writing getaways for both novice and advanced writers. You can learn more about these retreats at www.himalayanwritingretreat.com . He also writes and edits this blog.
4 thoughts on “Want to Uncity? Make a choice. Expat? Or Migrant?”
Expat, well? Migrant, makes sense! We have read in our childhood – Man is a social animal and rightly so, we are one among them. Now there are diverse kinds and probably one life isn’t enough to either define or understand them. We have come a long way living a luxury shielded life, protected by society, governed by certain rules and defying most of the ‘underlying truth’. The very idea of UNCITY entices me. At the same instance ‘Welcome to the Dungeon’ theme puts me in discomfort. However, when I draw my beloved 2 x 2 matrix and look at the scoring table, I am fortified by the very concept. The benefits are far too many to be reluctant to take a plunge. My only worry is – will I be accepted in the new society? Can I live up to this new expectation? Can I sustain myself with a livelihood and still make a mark? And then, I start counting my numbers, be it my small savings or the age – make no mistake; these are pertinent points to factor in. I am not a generic expat or migrant – I am just a human being habituated of convenience & small luxuries. The very thought of living in the mountains, gives me shivers of about to be married virgin. Yes, we all know it’s worthiness, let’s make some moves now. Cheers to new life!
The thing about this life is that there are no expectations. Only your own.
Brilliant Chetan … well said 🙂
Don’t see the point of a gated community in the mountains. Love the last line, couldn’t agree more 🙂