Thursday, 29 March 2012

Gurgaon Vs Gurgaon

Most of my life, I have spent in the B-town cities of India like, Almora, Bhubaneswar and Muzzafarpur. I never got the chance to stay in any metro cities of India.  After my marriage, I was moving to Gurgaon.  I was quite excited and fascinated about this city, after all it was called “The Mall Capital of India”  or “Millennium City”. One of my friend said that Gurgaon is India's America. To be fair to that friend, one can be misled to think that if he/she is going from Delhi to Jaipur passing through National Highway 8 where all the fancy buildings lie.

Shopping Mall in Gurgaon
But after having lived here, the only comparison (which is admittedly exaggerated) that I would make is with the America before Columbus discovered it. And I am sure the native Americans with their arrows, spears and feather dress (pardon the stereotype) would still be more civilized than a typical coarse, uncouth native of Gurgaon. All it takes to uncover this is a left right turn into the city from one of the exits.

Once a village that was given as gurudakshina to Guru Dronacharya by his students; the Pandavas  and to be known as Guru-gram, which in course of time got distorted to Gurgaon has now become Millennium City of India. City that barely existed two decades ago, there are 26 shopping malls, seven golf courses and luxury shops selling Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs shimmer in automobile showrooms. Apartment towers are sprouting like concrete weeds, and a futuristic commercial hub called Cyber City houses many of the world's most respected corporations.  No doubt that Gurgaon has seen a fantastic growth these last few years.
Office Buildings in Gurgaon
With its shiny buildings and galloping economy, Gurgaon is often portrayed as a symbol of a rising "new" India, yet it also represents a riddle at the heart of India's rapid growth: how can a new city become an international economic engine without basic public services?
Gurgaon might have taken on Bangalore and Mumbai with its IT boom, but it lacks the sophistication of a millennium city, feel women. The city has been unable to handle the cultural shift that it has seen in the past five years, they say.

The millennium city may well be touted as a realtors' paradise, but what is generally overlooked is the stark contrast between areas developed by colonisers and the old city of Gurgaon. The latter seems to be stuck in a time warp, as it has been neglected both by the administration and developers. So you will neither find highrises nor malls — which abound in new Gurgaon — in this part of the city.

Road Condition of Gurgaon
Across India, Gurgaon is both a model and a cautionary tale. Other cities want to emulate Gurgaon's growth and dynamism but avoid the dysfunction and lack of planning. Meanwhile, Gurgaon is trying to address its infrastructure woes; last year, the city was connected to the New Delhi rapid transit system, while a public-private project is under way to construct a link to Cyber City. Yet the state and local governments are still struggling to keep up, especially since Gurgaon is already building a industrial district and planning to create more commercial space.

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