I took the above images with my cellular phone while waiting for the elevator on my way up to a friend's place in Bombay. Every now and then it is worth reminding ourselves of just how naturalised spatial segregation is in our everyday world. Both, how we cut up and divide space and the justifications that we provide for the same, are, no doubt, a certain kind of politics.
Check out Hiland Sapphire, a luxury building project of the United Credit Belani group in Calcutta. The self-proclaimed "residence of choice for the manor born" lists on its website the characteristic features of the complex: Set in an "idyllic landscape" lined with foliage and fountains, the apartments have "capacious rooms of the bygone British era" fitted with "airy French windows". Further, the complex comes with a fully equipped "top-notch surveillance" system because "security, these days, has become an issue of foremost concern". All this is, of course, put together according to our very own "Vastu principles".
In case those gorgeous renderings haven't convinced you and you're still in two minds, there's more good news: your domestic help will not get in the way of your European manor dreams. I quote from an earlier version of their web-site (which has since been removed, but shows up in Google's cache memory when searched.):
Separate living quarters, toilets and washrooms will be provided for all domestic help employed by residents. Moreover, to render them 'invisible', segregated entrances and elevators have been constructed.Whoever said Utopia was a place that could never exist? For the Great Indian Middle-Class Imagination Machine, it is very much here.
(Hat tip to Immanuel's Cant for the title of this post)