There is a real estate boom going on in Chennai. People dream of selling their houses for large amounts to IT companies. And builders are buying land to make more and more expensive apartments for the enjoyers of the new wealth. Brokers have started turning up at our door, and last week a well-known builder offered us a large sum for our house. Or rather, for the land, so that he could tear the house down and put an apartment block in its place. Each apartment would cost Rs. 80 lakhs-1 crore (8-10 million); a sum which is not unusual for Mumbai, but quite a lot for Chennai.

We were tempted, mainly because the house is too big for the two of us. It's something of a white elephant: unusual and with its own beauty, but hard to maintain. We began talking about where we might like to relocate -- within Chennai? to Bangalore? Ooty? Even abroad?

But neither of us really wants to go through with it. Last night I had a dream:
A film star from the seventies - a one-film wonder named Kumar Gaurav - was exerting great pressure on me to marry him. (I think he was actually a character named Arman from a current TV serial, but in the dream it was a young KG, looking sad.) I got swept up in the potential excitement of it, and agreed, and KG put a diamond ring on my finger, and went away. Another film star, Suneil Shetty, rode by on a motorcycle and I showed him the ring. He waved and called out, "You did a good thing!" But I felt that the whole thing was a disaster - the diamond was small and not all that sparkly, and KG was already married and had a family, and maybe wasn't a good person, and now I couldn't even remember his name!!

I don't think we're going to sell our house.

part of our atrium, from upstairs - the pond is empty because we are still fighting the Invasion of the Snails

Meanwhile, the crows in the garden are having their own real estate boom: flying back and forth with twigs in their beaks, constructing awkward-looking but strong penthouses. Most of them seem to be directly above the badminton court, which is continually being covered with stray bits of construction material, along with their occupants' droppings. They, at least, have no doubt at all about what they are doing.

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