I’ve been quite perplexed by recent news reports that have claimed that Gurgaon and Faridabad are in the running for the Smart City Challenge announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. I don’t know about Faridabad but who in their right minds would consider Gurgaon to be a Smart City? I’ve been living in this place for well over 16 years and I can’t think of one good reason that would help it qualify.
Fancy buildings, fancy malls, hell even fancy people do not a Smart City make! I hope the Haryana government is aware of that.
Legend has it that Gurgaon was actually Guru Gram, the ancestral village of Guru Dronacharya who taught military arts to the Pandavas and Kauravas. Despite the posh facade, which in the words of my neighbour Dragon Aunty is “just like Singapore no?” Gurgaon is really nothing more than a village. A very fancy village, if you please.
I could have said, dig deep and you will find the village hidden inside. Only, these days not much digging is required. The rains have washed away the fancy shmancy exterior and all that remains are waterlogged roads and potholes. Miles and miles of them.
It’s raining as I write this post. In fact it’s been raining incessantly the whole day. I’ve waded through dirty water to buy bread and eggs from the grocery shop downstairs, get my daughter from the bus stop outside our condo, and withdraw money from the ATM. It seems as though I’ve been wading through dirty water the whole day! And I haven’t even stepped out onto the main road.
Yes, my building, along with many others is waterlogged. The parking lots are overflowing with dirty, ditch water. Uggh. Dragon Aunty tells me that there was water inside the lift in the next block of flats. We have stores, a doctor’s clinic and an ATM inside our complex. All part of the plan to have modern, self-contained buildings. But what good are shops and ATMs if you have to swim to reach them?
Sadly enough, this seems to be the story of Gurgaon. The Millennium City without proper drainage, infrastructure or electricity. Every time there is a downpour, life comes to a standstill. Perhaps, as one bloke posted on Twitter, it’s time to invest in a boat rather than get another car? Could it be that the civic authorities are trying to model Gurgaon along the lines of a European city? One that requires the use of gondolas? I mean, If Kolkata could be London, why can’t Gurgaon be Venice?
Can gondolas be bought online though? I just remembered. I can’t step outside as I’m waterlogged.
NOTE: I mean no disrespect to Indian villages through this post, some of which are more modern than the one I’m living in now.