In this city, we cannot expand the land to meet our needs, so we either add floors and rise vertically or divide the land into smaller pieces.
As a young child, in the courtyards around my home in Kirtipur, I remember an old man saying: “A house is made only for eating and sleeping.” This is how it was. We had to come out of our homes for fresh air and sunshine. My mother and father spent the day in the courtyard, with other neighbors.
Gradually roads were built near our homes, cars began to appear, and the number of shops increased. The same courtyards were used to park motorcycles and cars, or as storage for shops. People’s goods filled the empty spaces.
Slowly, people built terraces. We also built one. Our daily activities shifted to the roofs. We could jump from one terrace to another and even exchanged goods across terraces. These spaces were enclosed yet open. They bustled with human activity and felt like a separate community beneath the sky.
As I grew older, the buildings continued to grow taller to fulfil people’s needs. As more people looked to rent rooms, landlords moved up to the top floors and rented the lower floors to people who migrated into the city. Each floor is partitioned into small rooms. Each person strives to get a room closer to the terraces.We look to claim a space closer to the sky; a quiet place to soak in the sun.