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Graduate in Maths, Postgraduate in English literature. Worked as a medical transcriptionist, also as a teacher.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

The terraces of yore and terraces of now!

           The word terrace itself makes me nostalgic. Terrace (of a house) has been or still is very important part of my life. The terrace of a house is the topmost open area where one wants to get away from the distractions of the house and enjoy the open air and also a place to introspect or think loudly and quietly. One may go to the terrace to mug up or revise the academic books for the forthcoming exams or whenever one wants to think of his/her lover, or when he/she is unhappy. One goes to the terrace to escape the daily irritations or distractions, but to find himself  'distracted' there also.
                                  The earliest memories of terrace I have is one on top of my grandparents' building. During my annual school vacations, we used to go to my grandparents' house in Chennai. It is an old 3-storeyed building, the first of its kind built in 1970s which had, of course, no lift or basement parking. The terrace of that building is an open space facing the beach and the sea. There were only small cement tanks, and the simple antennas which occupied very less space.  It was one of the 'tallest' buildings of of those days and I used to go up the terrace to just enjoy the breeze, the view of the calm sea water and beach, or just look around. My grandpa used to tell me about his life experiences and other things and play with me there. We have taken lots of photos or images on the terrace with those wonderful views which are of course priceless. I'll post those vintage photos when it is available with me.
                                                        Then one more terrace which is etched in my mind is the one that belonged to the duplex house in my hometown. The duplex house was perched on a kind of 'hill' and so from the terrace, we could get a fairly good view of the surrounding places. Whenever I felt bored, I used to go up there and just spend some quiet time enjoying the nature. I could see a part of my school which was only 10 minutes walking distance from my house. I used to take my books and revise or 'mug up' the portions there. ;) How I wish I am there now that I think about it.


                                                  As years went by, terraces also changed for better or for worse. When I go to my grandparents' house these days, I do not get those priceless views from their terrace compared to years back. The building is dwarfed by other high-rise buildings around. We have multi-multi storeyed buildings coming at every nook and corner. The terraces of these complexes have different stories to tell. They no longer belong to a person who wants to enjoy solitude and breeze in a sprawling open area with the full view of the place around. They are owned by huge pipelines, satellite cables, big overhead tanks, a room to accommodate big motor engines giving only minuscule space to move. Most of the times, they will be locked to protect from the theft. If one is lucky enough to own an independent house in cities and if that house has a terrace, the view is of course blocked by the buildings around. People living in top floors can enjoy the views from their balconies or patios, but balconies are not terraces. A balcony's space is limited. How many of us living in high-rise buildings go to terrace these days or when is the last time anybody remembers having spent time in a real terrace? Maybe, I am generalizing a bit.