12 Nov 2007

Karol Bagh

Elsewhere I had written about the history of Karol Bagh

i always love to see the expressions on the faces of people
mainly south dilli walahs when i tell them where i stay

First there is the surprise
"Oh !"
Then a pause
"You stay in that part ?"
"Isn't it very crowded ?"
Not anymore that Green Park Market or GK I M-Block Market, you counter
"Isn't it near Old Delhi ?"
Yes, but-
"Old Delhi is very chaotic"
Old Delhi is crowded. Karol Bagh is near Old Delhi.Therefore Karol Bagh is crowded.
(Implication: How can you live in a place like that?)
End of argument.

It is strange
what we can get used to
while growing up
in that part of town was fun
my school was close by
and the market was a huge playground
just walking distance

in the days when we had specialized markets
(post Om Shanti Om pre DDLJ)
Ajmal Mal Khan Road Market
was where you went to for your clothes and shoes
(the best imported export rejects)
and Gaffar Market had the choicest (smuggled) electronic goods
before Palika Bazaar took over that mantle

as the city expands
Karol Bagh
is still at the centre of it all
with the Ridge on both sides
it is still as green as it was
twenty years ago

but yet no one
wants to keep it as their address
they would rather stay in Vasant Kunj
Green Park
Mayur Vihar

they do not see the crowds
load shedding
in their locality
but they see it elsewhere

several years ago
i remember spending a week
at a friend in Chembur in Bombay
the place was green
the flats were larger
less traffic
and accessibility to town
was not a problem

i kept asking my friends
in the film fraternity
why people do not stay in Chembur
it was definitely better than
the crowded roads of Andheri

i did not get any answer
"That's like the other side of -"

Just like Karol Bagh...

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