Standing on his balcony, lined with plants, Vidyadhar Ranade, 63, points to a building right across the road.
It is being renovated, and its façade is being painted in bright red and gray, which offends Ranade’s aesthetic sensibilities.
A bit further away, a huge tower has come up, with its cars spilling out on to the surrounding roads of the locality, Girgaum.
“It has become very difficult to live here because the infrastructure is crumbling,” Ranade said. “A lot of the transformation that is happening is also ugly.”
Even as Ranade grapples with what he thinks is uncontrolled development, his own building is soon slated to be redeveloped: This monsoon, the government declared his building dilapidated.
According to the government’s policy, Ranade will be eligible to get a flat in any new structure that comes up here.
But with so much change whirling around him and a likely increase in maintenance fees that a new flat will bring, he doesn’t quite feel at home in this locality any more.
In 2007, he had to move his office out of a heritage building in Fort that was declared dilapidated and then demolished.
He was given money as compensation and he began running his printing business from his home.
Now, Ranade is mentally preparing himself for a day when he might have to move out of Girgaum, where he was born in the year India won Independence.