Showing posts with label Gurgaon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gurgaon. Show all posts

Dear Gurgaon, It's time you accepted your fate and drowned in a pothole

Also published here 

Residents of Gurgaon took to social media to vent their anger after the city and its millions cars came to a grinding halt to a gridlock that lasted 20 hours. Triggered by heavy rains followed by flooding, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook were full of horrifying accounts of thirsty, hungry and angry commuters stuck in an ocean of muddy water and bumper to bumper traffic.

Predictably everyone donned their Grrgroan avatar and took to blaming civic bodies and the Khattar led government of happening Haryana. Haryana government took instant action and promptly blamed Kejriwal government for its watery woes. The CM went a step ahead and announced 1812 projects, that he has no intentions of implementing, to make Gurgaon great again. The civic authorities as usual had no clue what they were being blamed for. Especially when a lot of them are supposed to be doing the same job yet no one has a clear idea about the exact nature of their responsibilities. The sweet fellas they are, they promised they will make sure this will never happen again, like they did in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012…..

What’s perplexing is this lashing from the public. It’s not as if the city that fancies itself as millennial hasn’t sunk in murky waters before. It’s not as if countless articles have not been written about a nightmare called Gurgaon and promptly forgotten the next day. It’s not as if promises have not been made and then broken. In fact we love this predictable pattern so much, we make sure we repeat it year after year. Who doesn’t love driving gingerly through swirling waters and miles of honking traffic in the company of irate drivers with murder in their minds after a stressful day at office! It gives an adrenalin rush that no bungee jumping can match.

This time though was slightly different though. The traffic refused to budge, like concrete with more cement than sand. But what is shocking is that Gurgaon residents who are still not sure whether they live in Gurgaon or Gurugram expect accountability from those supposedly in charge. They felt let-down when they saw no help in sight. Silly people, all you had to do was call a cow helpline and say moo and the gau-rakshak squad would have appeared miraculously and given a sound thrashing to everyone responsible for your plight!

Or better still, followed the traffic police advisory offering a simple solution to Millennium city’s woes - ‘Don’t come to Gurgaon.’ If you are unfortunate enough to be in Gurgaon, don’t step out, dammit!

Why Do People Find It So Tough To Be Kind To Others?

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A friend while driving got hit by a car that appeared out of nowhere. When he saw the car slow down he braced himself for a lengthy altercation; a norm in the NCR. People would rather kill or prefer dying than admit it was their fault. Just as he was rolling up his sleeves and taking deep breaths, the fellow got out and apologised profusely for his rash driving. When he offered to pay for damages, my friend couldn’t believe his ears.

A common courtesy in any part for the world but certainly not in Gurgaon.

In a city where everyone’s is always in a rush but no one ever reaches on time, we are forever engaged in mortal combat. We push, step on each other’s feet, honk louder, raise our middle finger and are ready to snap at even the slightest provocation. Rarely do we stop to let someone else pass at a busy intersection. We are like raging bulls, ready to charge at anyone who dares challenge us. When an odd soul does stop to let other raging bulls pass, let the hassled lady take the coveted parking-spot, all he gets is a dead fish look. The husband makes it a point to hold the doors of the elevators for women with kids in our apartment building, yet I’ve seen no one turn around to give him a grateful smile.

It’s as if saying thank you and sorry is a bigger sin than hurling expletives at strangers.

I get it, you’ve had a bad day. Your new boss is a fire breathing dragon and a blood sucking vampire rolled into one. The last time you got a bonus was before the big bang. And your girlfriend who can’t even spell loser just called you a looser. Of course you are &*%#&*)&$ mad! And the only way you can restore order is by making random people around you (usually lower in social hierarchy) as miserable as you are. Who in turn dutifully pass on their angst to yet another hapless soul. Sooner than you can say ‘tere baap kaa…,’ the world around you is like a cauldron of negativity. You hold your aching head in your hand and wonder, why is everyone one around me so nasty?

It’s like being stuck in traffic and complaining about it. Dude, you are the traffic!

Add to it a strange persisting mentality that equates aggressiveness as a show of power and niceness as a sign for ‘come trample all over me and take advantage’. So it comes as no surprise why people are almost afraid of being nice.

Gurgaon Gets a Behenjee Avatar – Gurugram

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For long Gurgaon was chhoree Gurgawan, a behenjee who loved spending time with buffaloes and her Jaat bhais. Once a year during winter, her glamorous cousins Dilli Billis would visit her and frolic away in her many picnic spots. She didn’t mind her uneventful life before fairy godfather DLF and her many cronies set their sight on her and decided she was their future bright. Thus began her grooming, intense sessions at the gym and shopping for a hip wardrobe. Before she could say ‘kay chal rahya se’, she had transformed into a glam diva with a BPO accent. She was now Ms Gurgaon who mwah mwahed with global Fortune 500 companies and sipped Chianti as she swayed to Yo Yo Honey Singh. Dilli Billis could not believe that their behen in two oily plaits was now being wooed by the rich and the famous. The same men who had sworn their undying love for Dilli a few moons back. And why not? Compared to the billis, she looked shiny, new and so full of life. She had willingly shed her rural past and turned up her snooty nose at her cousins Kaphasera, Dundhahera, Bhondsi and Jharsa. Her new friends had fancy names like Jacaranda, Veranda, Harmonica and Magnolia and looked like Victoria Secret’s willowy models from a distance.

Her mercurial rise took many by surprise. She was rich and powerful in no time.

Besotted by her good looks and flirtatious charms, many moved into her welcoming arms dreaming of a rosy happily ever after. Alas, the happily ever after lasted as long as a made in China product. It didn’t take long for them to realise, her glamour and sophistication was just skin deep. Beneath the layers of makeup and designer threads lay a pockmarked, misshapen, unruly, uncouth chhoree. Initially they dismissed her frequent blackouts, wild ways and almost non-existent hospitality as teething problems. They tried their best to ignore the heebie-jeebies she gave them when they were out alone late at night.

Like any loyal lover, they were not willing to give up so easily on her. She was after all their lugai who could not be ditched. They protested, fought relentlessly and demanded she be set right. They had after all lavished their love and riches on her and all they got was disappointment and stress.

It was difficult to come to terms with harsh reality. Was she was just a cauliflower pretending to be a flower?

What The Fog!

Just when the Great Wall of Fog descended on Delhi, making entire buildings disappear along with flights schedules, Cacofonix makes an appearance on A-Musing after 2 years of hibernation. It seems the fog has finally cleared up his mind.
Image courtesy -

“Oh, the fog was so heavy I couldn’t see my own ______ “. Words that could fill in the blank are toes, nose and other protruding body parts in between. Thus will the true Delhi-ite go about describing the weather event that descends on the city every year, usually the very morning he or she has a flight to catch. You can’t see anything, driving is dangerous, it’s bloody cold, there’s no sun and all the vitamin D that your pigments were going to synthesize has gone for a toss. You are late to work, your child is late to school, your dad is late to get up and take the dog out, your dog is late to get up and wake up your dad.

I mean, come on, let’s not crib endlessly about something that’s actually a good thing. The fog can be invoked to explain coming late to work, never mind the night before was spent partying hard and gulping down liquids of various hues and ethanol levels leading to a hangover of epic proportions. The fog is also your friend to let your dad know that the massive gash on the side of the car is all its doing. While, in fact, you got it when you couldn’t take your eyes off the PYT swishing by as you were reversing into a slot next to the trash truck.

In fact, if you could carry some fog with you, life could be so easy. Caco’s fog, ordered online, is just the thing for you.

You are interviewing for a job. You have this nervous twitch in your eyes that bugs you. It’s a dead give-away when you try to pull a fast one like, “yeah, Suhel Seth knows me”. Not that such a reference helps, but there is a lilt to his name that is fetching. So, what do you do? Just have a little fog sprayed from your used bottle of L-Áir du Temps, and lo, the twitch is safe behind a curtain of translucence.

Gurgaon On Foot? Broom Through It!

This article was first published in Gurgaon Times dated 30 November, 2014

In Gurgaon, if you'd rather walk short distances than drive, people assume that you're either poor or mad. After all, the millennium city is India’s very own America where the majority prefers taking out their car, even if it’s a five minute walk to drop their child at the school bus stop. Little wonder the city’s roads during weekdays with bumper to bumper traffic resembles a very long parking lot where motorists honk and swear at each other for entertainment.

Sadly, the number of parking spots in Gurgaon has not kept pace with the number of vehicles that has been growing in leaps and bounds unlike our country’s GDP. Getting a decent space to park during rush hour is like winning a lottery. One vacant spot and at least 5 cars rush towards it gladiator style, unmindful of basic courtesy or consideration for the unfortunate soul who was the first to sight the bounty. If you’re not aggressive, chances are you’ll keep circling like a planet in its orbit.

It doesn’t help that the city’s transport system is a wonderful opportunity to get groped and to exchange sweat and BO with random strangers. The autowallahs think you’re Ambani’s twice removed cousin and quote such exorbitant rates that you’re forced to stage a walkout, much like our revered Rajya Sabha MPs.

So, when you move to a neighbourhood with wide, tree-lined avenues, with markets within walking distance, the air just the right kind of nippy, you give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back, bid adieu to parking woes and take out your walking shoes.

History repeats itself when you’re not paying attention the first time. Your memory loss aided by the few years you’ve lived in a quiet city in Australia with shaded walkways, where pedestrians enjoy the right of the way and cars don’t try to knock them over for daring to cross the road. When you move back home, you’re optimistic that the good times will last, unlike Kingfisher. You’ve conveniently erased from your memory the times you’d decided to embark on a Padyatra to your local market and got cat-called by idle Romeos, knocked over by playful piglets and feral canines, hopped, skipped and jumped over potholes filled with foul water and narrowly missed getting run over by vehicles that mistook your locality’s alleyways for the Buddh Circuit.

The Ugly Side of Gurgaon

Today, somebody sauntered off with my handbag from the Huda City Centre Metro Station in Gurgaon. Emerging from the security booth I discovered, much to my horror, that it was missing from the X-ray conveyor belt. My first reaction was of incredulity. Such things never happen to you: it happens to strangers! You read about it in the papers, cluck and shake your head in sympathy and proceed to finish your cup of tea. You are bewildered as to how a person can simply walk off with a huge handbag right under the nose of numerous security personnel and closed-circuit cameras. For Chrissake, there’s a man looking intently at the X-ray screen and two men guarding the gate! Surely, you are meant to feel safe!

By the time I ran up the stairs with one of the security guards, it was too late. It could have been anybody and that anybody could have headed anywhere. A woman alone, apparently well-off, with a large handbag is an easy target. While I waited inside the Metro office, convinced that they will have the footage, so that we can look at the recordings and nab the culprit – I realized I was being naive. It’s never that simple. Madam, the tape is with Chattarpur station and you’ll have to wait till the evening. Why don’t you go to the Metro Police station instead and lodge an FIR in triplicate?

It’s never that simple, silly!

I was worried sick. I had just lost a whole lot of cash, a bunch of credit cards, my ATM card, my mobile. And what’s worse, I had just lost my house keys! My daughter was all alone in the apartment! What if that cad decides to check out my house? To be frank, the metro staff in that shift was quite courteous and even offered me money to get back home.

On my way back towards my apartment, I was battling a mother’s worst fears. Thankfully my daughter was safe but worried sick for her Mom.

It’s painful, having to call up your bank, get all the cards blocked, get your SIM card blocked. My beautiful new Android, I didn’t even have the time to mourn for its loss.

But the worst was yet to come. I had yet to file an FIR.
This was my first visit to a police station. Who wants to go there? Don’t we all avoid it like the bubonic plague?

As I was sitting, trying to explaining that I had just lost a whole lot of things, the policeman decided to interrogate me instead. As if I had come to the police station at 2.30 in the afternoon to spin a yarn and play hide and seek with them. This is Gurgaon, handbags don’t get lost, are you sure your memory has not gone for a toss! My character, my intentions were being questioned by that leery bastard sitting right across. Ogling at my cleavage, my arms – as if I was some freak show who had just stepped in for an item number.

The constable decided to play Sherlock and insisted that he accompany us (my husband and I) to the Metro station, to get to the bottom of things! By the time we reached, the shift had changed and there was a new batch of security at the station. Their behaviour was even worse than the police constable’s! They assumed I had come to accuse them of theft, which was far from my intention. When I refused to put my sling bag on the security belt, they shouted at me. I shouted back, loud and clear – that they were public servants meant to protect us and not question our integrity. A woman had just lost her purse. Instead of being understanding and extend a helping a hand, you scream that an FIR should be lodged against her husband because he rushed past security check, to come to his wife’s rescue? Why such apathy? I get blatantly robbed and how do you react: turn around and suggest that I have absolutely no proof that someone stole my bag? Make me read the sign that they are not responsible for my loss. Suggest that I am concocting a cock and bull story!

And what’s worse, the police chap was nodding in agreement.
I saw the worst of humanity and they saw the worst of me – a woman sputtering with rage, banging the table and screaming they had no right to treat her like this!

Had I walked in with my bunch of security guards, chewing pan and boasting that I have half a dozen murder cases registered against me, everybody would have stood to attention and saluted me. Ironically an honest, law-abiding citizen is a freak in this country - taken for granted and treated like shit.

I was not allowed to write the word “stolen” in my FIR; I had to write “missing” instead. I was constantly told that some poor soul in a fit of forgetfulness must have walked off with my purse! That I am hallucinating and unnecessarily creating a ruckus!

At that moment, I knew how it feels to be a woman who has just been violated. How it feels to go to the police for help and be greeted with ridicule instead. Her character questioned, while the constable absent-mindedly scrapes his lunch off his teeth. Today, I felt helpless.

If an honest law-abiding, tax-paying, educated citizen has to face this, what hope is there for the poor?

Is it a crime to be a victim? Is it a crime to expect justice? I know you will never find my handbag and its missing contents but the least you can do is treat me with dignity. Gurgaon Police – Suraksha, seva, sahyog my foot! Learn some manners instead.

Today I lost my faith in the system and I know it’s not getting any better. I was supposed to meet my childhood friend after two decades, look what I got instead! My husband is changing the locks, as I furiously punch keys to express my rage.
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