Monday, June 27

The city and the suburb

Yesterday on the Guragon-Delhi highway we spotted a landmark - the 32nd milestone. This was popular hang out joint with school and college kids till the 90's. It was also outside the city. Really far. So far that no buses went there. You had to borrow car. Or have a friend who could borrow a car.

Twenty years ago we had a clear definition of where the city ended. In the case of Delhi it was the Mehrauli towards the south. No one really knew what lay beyond. Maybe farmland. Or jungles.

Even with the coming up of Gurgaon we knew that there was a vast area in between Delhi and the new township. Gurgaon was a suburb. It even had a colony called South City. Delhi was the City. And there was jungle in between.

However with more and more villages getting urbanized on the Mehrauli Guragoan road and Gurgaon sprouting skyscrapers right till the border, this definition has become blurred. If one looks down when one is coming to land at Delhi airport one can see that urban dwellings are often continous or at least there is similar mix of houses and trees similar to other parts of Delhi.

One cannot really say anymore Here is where the city ends.

And it is not really that the city is expanding. It is merging with the suburb. One can see this on the metro. As one travels along the Gurgaon line (or NOIDA) one does not think for a moment that one is crossing into another state or city anymore.

Twenty years ago we would say - Oh you are living in Gurgaon ? Today one doesn't really think about it as a place that is far away.

The funny thing is that it takes longer to get there today compared to then.

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