By Ashvini Ranjan
Why would anyone want to paint his gate red other than the Post Office? I have painted it the brightest of red colour, not out of love for the colour but out of exasperation, annoyance and anger. Let me explain.
I live at Door No.31, Jayalakshmipuram 6th Main, 3rd Block. This is also called BSNL Road. The only person who comes to my house based on the postal address is the Postman. To every other person, I have to provide landmarks, distance from the Main Road, number of gates to pass by, identification marks of my residence etc.
Obviously, you will be wondering what is the big deal when each house has a door number. Unfortunately, that is the big deal. My Municipal Door Number is 31. In the normal course, the neighbouring houses should be either 32 or 30. Either in the ascending order or descending depending on which direction a person is coming.
But if my neighbour’s houses on either side is 21 and 39, defying all logic, how do you find 31. The door number of the house at the beginning of my street is No.9 and my number becomes 31 after three houses. Two houses after mine is 50. The three decades I have lived here, I am still not familiar with numbering of houses on my own street. I have faced embarrassing situations when people have sought my help to locate addresses on my own street. A friend of mine quipped that people living in 3rd Block Jayalakshmipuram will live longer as even Lord Yama, God of Death, will not find people whose time is up, if he came searching based on door numbers !
Wait a minute, that is not the end of my tormented story. Door numbers are supposed to be unique and cannot be repeated, at least on the same street. To my dismay, there is another 31 few metres down the road, adding to the confusion. I function as a part-time Postman whenever letters to the other 31 is delivered to me. One cannot imagine such incompetence in a land of great engineers and administrators like Sir M. Visvesvaraya and Sir Mirza Ismail, pioneers in city planning.
We all remember not long ago, the good old system of visiting shops to procure our necessities. We bought what we needed. With the advent of the internet, physical shopping is gradually being replaced by online shopping. Thanks to the Amazons, Flipkarts, Big Baskets and the like. We are buying goods by ordering online and delivered at our doorstep. More often than not, buying items what we would ordinarily not buy while physically shopping. Postal services have been replaced by courier services. My problem has just got worse.
Now the number of vendors, delivery boys, courier services have dramatically increased and they have started calling on the mobile asking for directions to the house. I become their guide till however long it takes for them to find my house. Needless to say, the annoyance of this navigation services often leads to big debates in the house whether we are buying non-essential items, which makes me a telephone operator and a sign post.
In spite of the Google maps and locators, the Uber and Ola taxi taxis miss the house and I repeat like a parrot on how to come to the right location. On occasions, I stand outside the gate and describe myself and colour of the dress I am wearing for identification purposes. If per chance you find me waving my hands vigorously standing outside my house, it is not a part of my morning exercise. I am drawing the attention of one or the other service provider !
When signboards were put up on street corners by the MCC not long ago, I was thrilled. I hoped that the confusion of street names and house numbers would be finally solved. I expressed my joy to my friend who also lives on the 3rd Main in the same area. I was amused when he started laughing. He assured me that I was not alone facing this problem. He asked me to accompany him for a tour of the neighbourhood to see the signboards.
As is evident, the intelligent person who erected the signboard is required to ensure that it is clearly visible to every one and not erect it behind a tree. And those who painted the board should have written the number of the Main and Block number for which the signboard was meant for in the first place. Names of our elected representatives will not help a visitor find the address he is looking for.
The picture you see is a detailed map of Jayalakshmipuram 3rd Block, painstakingly prepared by Bhasker Acharya. It contains door numbers of every house in the area. Definitely not an easy task. The map clearly exposes the fundamental error committed by the planning authority. While the numbering of the house sites, they have done so on a North to South basis, the roads are East to West. If my house is number 31 on 6th Main, the house located behind my house on the 5th Main is No.30 and so on. It is so very surprising that such a mistake has been committed and no attempt has been made to correct it subsequently. Many like me in the area must be enduring the inconvenience silently. Possibly this should find a mention in the Guinness Book of Records as the most ill-planned layout in the world.
I hope my gate, which I have just painted bright red in colour, will help solve the crisis of identifying my house. I now have just to say “House with a Red Gate” to all my visitors ! My neighbours are welcome to identify their residences with reference to my gate. Google maps too should make note. If the authorities wish to name the street after my ‘RED GATE’ they are more than welcome!
e-mail: [email protected]
NOTE: The difference in sizes of the house sites, the division of house sites following family partition or sale of a portion of the site may be one reason for the anomaly in door numbers.—Ed.