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Your own devices

india Updated: Nov 27, 2011 00:28 IST

Cities beat prices with rooftop veggies
Economic Times, November 18

Come in, sir. Come in, madam. See what an airy, spacious flat it is. Look at this huge hall. We've filled half of it, the side next to the French windows, with pots. On the left, we have brinjals and tomatoes. On the right, ladyfingers and chillies. There's plenty of sunlight - just look at the size of that brinjal, it's the largest indoor-grown brinjal I have ever seen. And, believe me, I see a lot of vegetables grown indoors these days, it's absolutely essential in these inflationary times. The housing society's gobar gas plant supplies the compost, as well as the lighting and the cooking fuel.

Look at the size of this balcony, madam. As you can see, it is filled with pots, you can plant whatever you want - cauliflowers, cabbages, spinach. Use the walls for creepers like bottle gourds. You can see the building's garden from here - there it is. It used to be the children's playground, but the housing society now plants wheat on it. Every flat gets a share. We've planted fruit trees around the edges of the compound. Just look how big those coconuts are, sir. Apart from eating them, you can use the coir for stuffing your mattresses. That little banana thicket over there will ensure you no longer have to use plates. Banana leaves are much more hygienic, besides cutting costs, of course. Oh, by the way, we grow onions and potatoes on the roof of the building.

Come this way, madam, you'll love the kids' bedroom. See how bright it is - the chickens love it. We've covered an entire wall with chicken coops. What was that you said, madam? The stink? Oh you'll soon get used to that. Besides, think of the amount you'll be saving by not having to buy eggs and chicken. I know you are non-vegetarians, that's why I'm showing you a non-veg flat. Your boys have their bunk beds on the opposite wall. They will love playing with the chickens.

This door here leads to a smaller balcony. Be careful, madam, he butts sometimes. We're giving you these goats gratis, you can breed them here. Mutton is good protein for growing boys. Besides, you can use their skins for making shoes and other leather stuff, maybe jackets.

And here is the master bedroom. The door seems to be stuck. Oh, the cow is behind it. Just push hard and see, it's open. This bedroom is so big, it will fit you and madam and the cow easily, without any problem. The cow, of course, is essential for households with growing kids, the price of milk being what it is. The bonus is you can use the dung for cooking fuel. And on the bed is a charkha, so you can spin your own clothes.

Don't miss the bathrooms, see how clean they are. If you have no dietary restrictions, we can throw in a pig that you can keep there. And here's the kitchen, madam, it's nice, isn't it? What? Oh we have 24-hour water supply, that tank is for keeping fish. Fish is good for the brain, you know. You have a similar tank in the bathroom.

So what do you think, sir and madam? Isn't the flat full of all the modern conveniences and anti-inflation devices? All yours at a very reasonable price, sir. And that includes the garage, with two horses and a carriage thrown in.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint

The views expressed by the author are personal