Saturday, December 29

Explorations 5 - the suburb that metro forgot

Now that Faridabad is also going to be on the Metro map, all the adjoining towns are going to be linked up.

Well almost.

There is a industrial township just outside Delhi that is not. Sahibabad.

Many decades ago, as factories began to spring up just beyond Shahdara on the highway to Meerut, no one thought that this will do into a large suburb. Last week as I had to go to Sahibabad on an errand, I realized that the Metro when completed in 2010 will terminate at the Delhi border. And the funny thing is that nowhere else is the metro needed more.

If only the Metro were extended five kilometers - the residents will benefit of course, but the Metro would also make a killing on the daily numbers that commute to work. The system could be the same as in Dwarka. The Metro has stops on the main road. Cycle rickshaws take commuters to their destinations from the station.

As one crosses the border, the roads gives way into portholes, the autos are replaced by the loud Vikrams and you are transformed into an industrial town that the world-is-flat theories have left behind. If you are lucky, you can enjoy the bumpy ride in a car but i think the rackety buses are better since the noise they make cushions the shocks from below.

The plan of the town is somewhat strange. Along the highway there are factories while the residential areas are behind them. To get to a residential area one has to negotiate a traffic snarl that can put purani dilli to shame.

However this township is unlike anything you can get to see around Delhi - Gurgaon, NOIDA, G Bad or F Bad. The factories stare at you, you can actually see denting workshops repairing the huge monstrous trucks lined up along the roads and there are no signs that its Christmas (or New Year) time. The factories make all kinds of things - from pistons to cable to cooler fans. These are the urban farmlands that feed the hungry buildings in the city that we live.

If you are in the mood you can get to watch the latest Akshay Kumar flick in a seedy hall named Star.

Route Plan: (Only for the strong hearted) Get off at the last Metro station on the Shahdara line and then take a rickshaw to the Delhi border, get onto a Vikram and begin your ride through this industrial relic


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