We moved some time ago to the Swan Regal estate.
Now we live in a multi-family block as in a big housing estate. The fact that we are in India, however, causes several important differences in the landscape. I am thinking especially of the habits of Indian residents supported in this fragrant concrete modernity of the place.
Bonfires on the estate
If, in Poland, someonen was about to arrange breakfast under a cloud with natural rice boiling on the fire, there would be some regulating services at once. Here the order is – always obvious and clear. People just act the way they have learned to do in their lives. They spread mats, kitchen equipment and prepare everything on a previously swept floor. They light a fire, set a brick fireplace and in a moment rice is ready. And then masala chai – it is a tea with milk.
This inseparable element of India is present here too. The morning sound of bells and the smell of incense rising on the levels and between the balconies reminds us where we are.
The ubiquitous curiosity of the Indians manifests itself here, with the opportunity. We hang the laundry on the balcony of myself and the lady from below – is not this a perfect opportunity to get a little bit acquainted. And today, additionally, we had a familiarization visit to other neighbors.
They do not come often, but if they come in, it’s better to close the windows. After two weeks of living, I have not seen them yet, but in the neighboring huts, monkeys have been in office lately. And there is no way for them except to be vigilant.
The row of doors along the staircase is decorated with Hindu sun signs, and over the door there are painted AUM letters from the hindi devangari alphabet. Some of the doors are covered by a curtain, not because it is cold here. You have to ventilate and cool the flat during the hot summer season, and there is no better way to cool down the stairwell. Thus, the curtain serves to protect the privacy of residents when the door is open all day long.
There are several blocks in Swan Regal, of which a few are still under construction. So it is quite peaceful here, because the inhabitants are not many at all.
Swan Regal is actually located on the sidelines of the city of Puri, on the road to Bhubaneshwar and near the railway line.
The area is surrounded by a bit of marshy meadows, which after the last rainfall turned into lakes. The lakes bloomed with large lilac flowers that drowned after another downpour to rise again in many places. Here and there, there are huts between them, to whom the cautious Indians have made higher roads for themselves – familiar with the monsoon season for years.
There is a Jagannath temple by the road, where there is constant movement. There are shops around it with materials and equipment necessary for rituals. You can buy sacrificial lime and flowers, there are also many catering points.
The main road visible from our windows houses a number of shops, where I used to walk on foot along a path.
However, the construction of the house in Indian block construction is the most surprising.
While their homes are beautiful and practical, or simply practical – as it is in Indian huts preserved with cow manure – in the construction of blocks, however, they do not excel. You could even say that this stupid joke works, that the Indians first build and then design the project. So now standing in the kitchen, I have to protect my chapatti from drops of rain despite the closed window. The rain flies through a large round ventilation opening, which also allows a lot of additional light and mosquitoes. Such a hole is, however, a common structural element. It is a pity that the roof over the hole was forgotten to be added. Before the rain and mosquitoes we are now protected by a large teddy bear perfectly matched in size.
The second non-cool element of the structure – the drain in the bathroom. Maybe this is no longer a question of construction and someone’s workmanship – a grate placed in the wall at the floor level has a “threshold” cement causing the water to stand. In India, the shower takes the water straight to the floor, there is no shower tray. For the Indians wet bathroom and wading in the water is normal. To water this hole to the hole you have to vibrate the broom extensively towards this hole for a while, also taking a shower you can sweat, if you want, however, order.
What are we doing here
We enjoy our space – the flat is airy and bright, the little ones have a place for fiki-mica. We have a kitchen and a balcony, so we sometimes do evening balcony feasts.
After the rain we have a lot of observation birds. Two specific species flew out – a white bird wading with a yellow head, which Katia likes to follow, and a kingfisher. The latter is a very nice colorful bird – neon green, blue and dark red – known to those who come to India, especially to Goa consumers of beer. Yes, this cute bird looking from the Kingfisher beer label is to be seen, actually in the real world it is even nicer than on the label. In Poland, the same – and perhaps similar species – is a kingfisher. Kingfisher is very skittish, but also quite common.
In addition – thanks to the neighborhood of the railway to our educational program, we have introduced a new cool module for children – counting wagons of a passing train. All trains caught by children during the day are then involved in the competition for the highest number of wagons.
Well, our entertainment is around computerized materials. And on the other side of the tracks there is a village, in it people take walks on the tracks, there they sit and lead a social life. Not groups, and one – come with a smartphone, with a cigarette or with a toothbrush for a local chat.