Saturday, September 11, 2010

The other side of Delhi

When I started with new job, I thought it would be about new work assignments, new boss and new colleagues. And well there's just an addition here - I got a taste of a different culture as well, a 'mini Delhi' living within Delhi.

My new job takes me to a distant corner of Delhi, actually the border of national capital - Badarpur Border. This place is a meeting point of three states - Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (bordering to Noida) and Haryana (touching base with Faridabad).

When I say 'border', I don't mean a barbed wire cutting out geographical boundaries, it’s a highway that connects three different states. This highway hosts the corporate offices and warehouses of many MNCs including Sony, Nissan, Porsche, BMW. And this is what makes the place unique.

This location makes that place a melting pot of many cultures. The crowd here comes from two distinct worlds:
First, the white collar workers working in swanky offices, donning best formals and branded gear; and second the local crowd most of whom come from nearby villages and work in the factories/warehouses.
The cultural backgrounds here are as different as their attires, mannerisms and aspirations. When I move around with my female colleagues for ice-cream breaks, the crowd around giggles carelessly, making remarks about formal attires and dressing. So, it’s like either you move around in your vehicles or give in to the jeers of local crowd. This is when I miss moving around carelessly in CP, Saket or Sector 18, Noida. All these places are the hub of new-India where professionals usually gang up at cafes, ice-cream parlours, coffee houses and eating joints and nobody would even wink at you skirts or slim-fitting jeans. But this is not the case of 'Border'. Barely 20 kms from CP, this place hosts the conservative Indian sensibilities.

If you take a bus towards CP or south-Delhi, you'll find college students, working professionals who will happily accommodate you and won’t even turn around to notice what you are wearing.

This is not the case with 'Border'. If you are travelling towards Border in a bus, you’ll almost be doomed. The crowd includes the 'ammajis', 'taujis' and 'bhaiyas' from the north-Indian Jatland. They'll stare at you even if you are in simple formal, stare at your laptops bags and check you out throughout your journey. Many don’t just seem to understand hell why is a girl travelling in bus at 8 am or 7.30 in the night. May be this is the real India which begins from Delhi borders and extends all over the country.

May be this is where we actually live beyond our swanky offices and posh eating joints. The sooner, we realise the better it is.


aarkay said...

Rightly said , Yojana, the places may be a far cry from each other, representing a different 'culture' altogether, but the two not only co-exist but complement each other.One has to venture out of the ivory tower , sometimes to be face to face with the reality, or may I say, where real India lives.

NITYIN said...

I somehow never liked Delhi. I worked there back in the 90s for two years. It was the beginning of the economic boom and people had started flocking this metro area. I used to stay just behind the Anupam Cinema in Saket now a PVR and saw the last movie screened in Anupam just for the heck of it, as it was closing down, one of Shahrukh;s forgetables.. Ram Jane..
Anyway area beyond Saket was just green fields then and our Jat brothers had started selling land and started moving in the swanky Cielos then. There was no Gurgaon of today then and Badarpur was a far away land. For us, the last of Delhi was Mahipalpur, where the airport had shifted.

Things were exactly the same then as you have described. Even then Saket and Khan Market used to be a world apart. Eventually Dilli turned into Delhi.

Great reading, refreshed some old memories!!