Thursday, April 13, 2006

Random Thoughts

Another storey got added to the multi storey building in front of my house today. Little by little the sun is getting hidden behind it and I wonder if my balcony would be as glorious a place to spend the day time in by the next winter season. I saw the huge banyan tree in front of my house get converted to timber to make place for the multi storey. It was an extremely painful thing to see. For a few days I could not look at the tree straight because I was ashamed that I could do nothing to stop the destruction. I see the labors work day and night with cement, mortar, bricks and iron. They live in a slum across the street and in another just besides my house. As I type, I can hear their muffled voices in the field behind – they want to finish answering nature’s calls in the darkness – the flat owners around are annoyed to see them in the daytime. They are all migrant labors – either their land has dried up back home in their villages or they are landless or the market pulls them to this urban squalor.

Not one, there are 20 multi storey apartment blocks being built within a radius of a kilometer. I am concerned – how much of the airplanes will I be able to see in a few months from now...


As you drive up from Delhi to Gurgaon, the landscape is dotted with a large number of clusters of tall buildings. In the night one can tell that the occupancy of these apartment buildings is not much. I was inquisitive, so I asked and I was told that they “do” belong to someone but then that person already has some five apartments in various other places, and when he gets good rent this one would be let out... “Hmm interesting”, I said. Except in reality, I did not find the situation as interesting, it was revolting.

The much touted malls make quite a spectacle with the caked glitter. I mean why do these newspaper supplements go on week after week taking interviews of Gurgaon(ites) about how much the malls mean to them... like they would ask on mother’s day (whenever that is), how much does your mother mean to you... these days they pick young college goers to answer their questions and some lucky ones even get their photos profiled along with their responses. Hmmmmmph, nobody asked me, I have been to the malls thrice (these are "random" thoughts, remember... do not expect symmetry...). All said and done, the supplements don’t interest me anymore :(

Further along, there are these modern buildings scattered here and there, I was helped into understanding that they are “call centers”. Oh now I know I thought to myself where all those daintily clad young women who hop into tata sumos at the dead of the night every(night) finally land up in. Someone who I had met in the passing had told me how she had to learn to speak with an American accent. I had wondered, so it has come to this! She also told me how many young girls and boys have gone part time in college to earn the extra cash. I wonder if they would ever have time to read “To Kill a Mocking Bird” in their lives. I wonder.

Maple Street, Rosewood Towne, Mayfield Garden, Wembley Estate, Beverly Park, Oakwood Estate, Georgian Residency, Olive Apartments...... oh well! These are just a few names of the countless new constructions that have been built in the span of the last 10 years or are in the process of being built. Notice the similarity – everything “Hinglish” and now “Amrican” sells! This takes the cake – the lane behind my house is called Oxford Street... I went to supervise... (I have never been to Oxford by the way)... it was nothing spectacular.

I am not going to do any intellectual theorizing – I am simply not good at it but I know that similar things are happening to many cities in India and elsewhere. And I know it does not make my heart soar. I know that the globalization of this century is slowly burying our souls. I know it is programming our minds with its unique codes, and it has begun by silencing our inner voices...

Anyhow, not entirely. It will never be able to cause a permanent damage. That I have faith in. There is a group I have come across who without making any ado simply believe in the fact that hunger and poverty is not necessary in the world and they follow up their belief by feeding people who have no roof over their heads. They also do it as a means of protest against the unequal distribution of food. They call themselves, “Food not Bombs”. They have a
website, so I won’t write anymore.

Beginning from today we celebrate the regional New Years in India. Pongal is celebrated in the South and South-West India, Baisakhi in the States of Punjab and Haryana and Poila Boishak in Bengal (East). I wish an auspicious beginning to the New Year and much cheer and happiness the entire year through to all my visitors and to my Bong friends – here’s to delicious pulis and pithaes :) :) :)

9 comments:

A very cool cat said...

No one in my family knows how to make pithes and pulis! :-( But shubho nobo borsho, anyway!

I've actually never understood the need for so many malls, considering the fact that they all carry exactly the same shops and goods and eating joints! They're all clones of one another's, and yet they all reamin packed full of people who seem to have absolutely no lives, and nothing worthwhile to do with their times. I hate to sound snobbish, but instead of asking if they've ever read To Kill a Mockingbird, you should be asking if they've ever read at all!

And there's a humongous house that's come up right next to ours too, and it's robbed us of some much-needed sunshine in the winter!

The thinking thinker said...

Hmmm very true, about whats happening in NCR is very bad.

But, we may be feeling it more as NCR traditionally has more freehold properties; unlike mumbai.

I remember the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, living at AF Station Arjangarh. Those were the days when all these buildings were coming up and the traffic jams at the market near to DLF corporate plaza.

Well I would like to see more green spaces in NCR as they were 10 years ago. It is very dishearting to see ridge been cleared on FARIDABAD-GURGAON ROAD, Tuglaqabad-Suraj Kund Road and everywhere you can see.

ambrosia said...

Proteeti - Shubho Nabo Borsho! (din ta aajkey khobor pelam - 15th). Neither am I going to have pulis and pithes, I was dreaming about them...

True! These malls are actually clones of eachother, and let me add, little by little people are also getting to be clones of eachother in the way they think, talk, lifestyle – everything! It is a shame for the administration that multistoreys are coming up in your part of the city which is quite aesthetically planned otherwise.

Actually “that” is the question to ask – I was being a bit too kind!!


Thinking Thinker – I share your concerns and sentiments about the deteriorating conditions of NCR. At the rate things are going, in a few years from now we will see traffic jams even on the countless flyovers that have been built! It feels like a helpless situation and it seems until the pot spills over and ultimately bursts, the administration will not wake up.

The thinking thinker said...

Well hope metro makes us stop using our cars. Like in london where you just take a tube to your destination. Its more convenient than a car

ambrosia said...

Well, most probably people will use the metro. But I also mean the ecological plunder that is being caused by mindless expansion in the guise of development and growth; where an artificial situation of want is created and what it really does is warm the pockets of the rich.

flying cow said...

dhanyavad for visiting my blog. hope to see more of you.

what are pulis and pithaes?

ambrosia said...

shukriya for visiting mine.

pulis and pithaes... you have touched a weak spot :) :) :)... well they are sweets prepared by people from the eastern part of the country (india) particularly from the state of west bengal. these sweets have two layers :), the outer layer is made up of ground rice or sweet potatoes or pulses and the inside is packed with coconuts, jaggery, dry fruits...

Azahar Machwe said...

I wonder why don't the people who actually read books like 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' don't go and join IAS and other civil services to bring a new way of thinking into the bureaucracy.

ambrosia said...

Azahar Machew, it would be naive to think that joining the civil services would solve the country's problems. We have plenty of brains in this country, the problem is elsewhere. It is the system which is scary and lacks any will for progressive change!! By the time a youngster with the brains and the will can affect any change, she/he is either eliminated or "made" into "one of them".