Nature And Light
A Guest Post by Natasha Borah Khan:
I have been born and brought up in Assam, a northeastern state in India. I have grown up amidst greenery, fresh air and lots of natural light. These are the luxuries in the modern world which I had the privilege to take for granted. I had never thought that one day I would pine for these.
I have grown up in typical Assam-type homes. An Assam-type house is a ground-floor house with slanting roofs (to tackle heavy rainfall), lots of windows and ventilators (each window has a ventilator above it). The house is flooded with natural light and fresh air throughout the day and electric lights are switched on only after sunset. Every morning we would wake up with the feeling of sunlight filling the room, instead of relying on the alarm clock all the time. We did not have to check the watch every time to know the time. Just a look outside the window would be enough to judge the time.
Now I stay in Delhi with my husband and family. The windows in our home open into the shaft or the staircase. Opening them means letting in all kind of smells from the washrooms in the building. The only space enjoying the natural light is the balcony. At least we are fortunate to have one. There is dust everywhere. Wipe out a thick layer of dust on the cabinet and after a couple of hours, there would a fresh layer again as if it had never left. Dust also settles inside the wardrobes of the bedrooms. I don’t understand how. Like most city homes, ours is a closed box too. We wake up to darkness, to the noise of the alarms on our cell-phones. Electric lights have to be used throughout the day. When inside a room, you cannot phantom whether it is day or night. When inside you don’t know whether it is sunny, cloudy, windy or a rainy day. The only greenery outside is a couple of trees nearby and my pot plants, just like our neighbours. The only birds you see are sparrows, pigeons and crows.
Natural light and fresh air today have become coveted items in metropolitan cities. The other day I was amused seeing an advertisement of a residential project in a major Indian city. It was marketing its apartments as having lots of natural light. I had a silent laugh thinking who could have imagined that natural light would one day become an USP for selling a house in India.