A space of your own
An independent house or an apartment? Solomon Pappiah delivers the verdict
Batting for apartments Solomon Pappiah
If you thought of pattimandrams as fluffy intellectual quibbling over emotional issues, the one conducted at the Chennai Trade Centre on Sunday would have come as a whiff of fresh air. With debate guru Solomon Pappiah as moderator, six speakers (three in each team) rallied concrete facts back and forth. They had to, because the title was “Which is better — independent house or apartment?” The debate was organised by CREDAI as part of its property fair, Fairpro 2010.
Pappiah led the teams into the war of words, listing out facts about both forms of living. In the process, he drew guffaws from the audience. He said the Chera, Chola and Pandya kings, who had a fetish for building high towers, would stagger and faint if they tried looking at the modern high-rises. In defence of apartments, he said neighbours were guardian angels. These living clusters promoted community living — “you can help yourselves to what your neighbours have. You are especially saved the trouble of visiting the grocer!”
Speaking for individual houses, Pappiah said they kept prying ears at bay. “Family problems stay within the four walls; shouting matches do not provide entertainment to neighbours.”
Poet M. Ramalingam said that someone, immersed in a mobile conversation, walked into his neighbour's flat (because all flats look uniform) and capped this performance by collecting another neighbour's clothes hung out to dry. Flats don't give the same sense of ownership an independent house does — because “if I live on a middle floor, somebody's else roof is my floor and another man's floor is my roof.”
“You can't modify a flat, but I can modify my independent house. I can add a room whenever I want to,” said Malathi. “Buying a flat is like buying a pair of shoes, and then cutting your feet to wear them.” Raja said flat associations are notorious for internal squabbling; lack of privacy goes with living in apartments.
“When an independent house is locked, the postman knows, the milkman knows and, finally, the thief also knows,” said Sivakumar. Thanks to the flat association, a flat owner is spared the worry of maintaining his house. Civic authorities attend to a complaint lodged by a flat association a lot faster than to one placed by an independent house owner. Also, apartments promote community living and integrates people from different cultures and religions.
Arulprakasham said buying an independent house within the city is prohibitive. Land promoters advertise a layout as near Chennai, but, in truth, it is closer to Villupuram.
Barathi Bhaskar said locking an independent house before bedtime is a big chore. And, that there is irreplaceable joy in making dinner using your apartment neighbour's vegetables!
After a cake-cutting celebration by CREDAI committee members for his birthday, separated by just a day, Pappiah said the builders' expression of love was not going to influence his judgement. Citing greater security, more opportunites for community living and a scope for self-contained living, he pronounced apartments ideal for life in a metropolis.
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