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Bangalore: When life is too busy to notice death

A Few years ago, it would not have taken three months to discover the death of an apparently mentally disturbed woman.

A Few years ago, it would not have taken three months to discover the death of an apparently mentally disturbed woman, who lived by herself in a large home on a 4,000-sq-ft property in one of Bangalore’s most elite residential areas. Even a gate left unlocked for months would have alerted neighbours.

Once, 12th Main Road in Indiranagar was where the cream of Karnataka’s bureaucrats and police officers lived alongside senior officials with public sector units such as HAL and NAL. It was on this street that Rahul Dravid and Sadanand Vishwanath honed their skills in their teens. Back then in the colony of palatial homes, everybody knew everybody, and neighbours were people rather than a shopping complex, a retail chain or a bank.

From Defence Colony to 12th Main and beyond, homes in Indiranagar are being replaced as the once distant suburb becomes Bangalore’s most elite shopping destination. The cricketers have gone — Vishwanath, E A S Prasanna, Dravid — and so have the bureaucrats, police officers and forest officials.

The going price of land — bought for pittances like Rs 1.50 per square foot from the government after being acquired from landlords — is now in the range of Rs 25,000 per sq ft. Among the few who have not fallen to the temptation of selling their property —the average price is Rs 10 crore — are the families of former chief secretaries B K Bhattatacharya and M B Prakash, former state police chief M D Singh and former forest chief S N Rai.

Singh, who goes on regular walks and chats with neighbours, had been among the first to be told of the smell of death from across the road. “It must have been a couple of months ago. The watchmen in the adjacent commercial properties told me about an unbearable smell from the house where the lady lived alone. I called the police and they sent a couple of men who found nothing. They concluded it may have been the carcass of an animal,” says Singh.

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