The ‘white flight’ to the suburbs was followed by other citizens who well, were not so white. When the Fair Housing Act criminalizing racial discrimination in housing came into effect followed by the gradual decline of exclusionary zoning practices like redlining, etc, communities hunkered down further by creating the ‘gated community’. Justified in the name of keeping out crime and other evil social conditions [although not always true], the gated community was the ultimate in creating a Truman’s Show world provided you had the money and of course, the right ‘attributes’. The homeowners association probably the strongest private body that can at times be so un-American played the role of the gatekeeper and of course, law-enforcer and isolator if you ever managed to crash the gates.
In a increasingly globalized world and with the leveling of the playing field that Friedmann mistook for the flatness of the world, gated communities are making a foray in Indian cities. Expats are returning home and wish to duplicate the good life of their U.S. experiences. The market obliges and provides them with their own haven. Welcome to Palm Meadows:
It is a gated community of about 600 single family homes, with 10 or more security guards manning the gates at any given time. Some houses are big and some are small, but most houses have at least three bedrooms each. Residents of Palm Meadows are a mix of original owners, returning Indians and expats [source: Blogpourri].
Heck, even the name is U.S.-centric and trust me, I have never seen a meadow of palms. But leaving that aside, it does appear to provide all you could wish for to eke out a luxurious living. Of course, considering the clients and homeowners are considered to be rich and ‘earning in dollars’, prices are steep and as Sujatha mentions, collusion among the real estate agents have hiked up the rents further. Of course, some of that wealth trickles down to the domestic help. In India, it is quite common to have domestic help, even the middle-class families have them. The only difference is in the price.
Of course, you can enjoy all you want while you are inside Palm Meadows but once you cross the gates, not even God can help you navigate through that dreaded Bangalore traffic.