Book Excerpt: Gurgaon Diaries

Pick up any Indian history book, epic like the Mahabharata or you could just Google search, if you’re so inclined, and you will discover that Gurgaon or Gurugram (as it’s been renamed recently) was gifted to Guru Dronacharya by the Pandavas and Kauravas in return for training in military arts. While the legends of the mythical village were woven around the warrior mystic who trained the protagonists of the Indian epic, the Millennium City or India’s Singapore, as it is popularly called, owes its rapid growth to globalization and the BPO boom. Some say Gurgaon got its name from the jaggery (gur) that was sold in markets in and around this region. While I have no idea about the authenticity of these stories, one thing is for certain. There is nothing remotely rustic about the concrete jungle that is modern-day Gurgaon. Other than the cows, that is!

There are designer stores peddling Gucci, Prada and what nots, emporiums, Starbucks coffee franchises, international restaurant chains across the road from food trucks, roadside vans peddling chole bhatures and dhabas selling tandoori chicken and bread pakodas!

Gurugram’s one-million denizens are a motley crew. There are aunties, ‘mashimas’, Jat boys and girls, corporate executives, call centre workers, businessmen, real estate dealers, fitness enthusiasts, socialites, maids, ragpickers, rickshaw pullers and garbage collectors—a melting pot of people from all around the world, literally speaking. All of them contribute towards creating Gurgaon’s rather unique community whose sense of style, etiquette and language has no parallel.

The story of how modern-day Gurgaon came into being is quite remarkable. How a quiet hamlet in Haryana transformed into a leading IT services and industrial hub with the third highest per capita income in India is the stuff of legends. As remarkable as the thought that the Kauravas once ran amok in the brilliant yellow mustard fields that line National Highway 8, which connects Gurgaon to Delhi and the rest of the world. I can almost hear Guru Dronacharya screaming at the top of his lungs, ordering them to focus on their lessons!

Gurgaon Diaries is available at leading bookstores. You can also order it here:

Rupa Publications India

Price: INR 295

Order it here:

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