Morning started with "Chupke se sunn" number on the radio. The music has the background sound of the "chappu" splashing in water as a "Shikara" is paddled onwards. The sound brought instant swelling of tears. Suddenly I felt so alien in this land. A truck in front proclaimed:"Hawa ka peecha mat kar" in bold yellow letters on a grey double door.
Almost two decades have passed since we left homes, never to return. Forced out, afraid of our own shadows and afraid to clear our own throats as we swallowed the humiliation within. The "chappu"s in Kashmir are made in the shape of hearts and typically pained red, yellow or parrot green. The paddling sound when one is lying in a shikara is like a million pearls falling quietly on crystal surface. If you ever hear a song "Tche kamuu karne taaviz pan" to the rhythm of the chappu splashing in water, the melancholy will tear at the heart as the view tugs at your being. Zabarwan hills are like benign monsters that watch over my vale, every other day I sat the steps going to the roof and watched the snow on the top of zabarwan hills.
Hawa ka peecha mat kar!
Gurgaon!! The city that is summed up by two very potent symbols: The Pig and the Qualis! A city that came up from nowhere, almost overnight! There is little thought to its administration or aesthetics. The city emerged from a overfilled belly of capitalistic greed. As real estate in Delhi became unaffordable, out private enterprises setup shop in this city. A city which was famous for its farmlands, became home to may be 20 lakh or 30 Lakh people, who knows! The transition from sleepy farms to city took less than a decade. The administration is still scaled for a mid size district. The mini-secretariat is an unimaginative La Corbusier style brick and concrete building which houses the governance. The staircases are pained sickly red with spit all over. The dingy offices with broken windows house the elaborate setup that deal with our "files". Gurgaon, house to many fortune 500 companies has a lane called "call centre" lane, which houses call centers for MNCs. There are no functional street lights and the road has a Peepul tree in the middle of the road. The traffic is a mix of handcarts to BMWs, all vying for that elusive inch of road space. Well, the road disappeared in the rains. The most beautiful thing that you can see in Gurgaon is probably a small farm in bloom, specially in spring at the time when mustard is ready to harvest. The city is a no-city or call it: uncity, not meant to be! It is like thousands of small towns in India which didn't know how to grow. So, they grow like warts!
Gurgaon is home too! The lakes and water bodies have nearly disappeared. Once there were small valleys, rivulets and wilderness around. Now we have malls, ambience islands and kingdoms of dreams. The dreams are gone, long live the kings of greed.
I guess I am chasing some elusive "minimum dignity of life", it is possible only when you have a clean, organized environment. We have chaos and can live only if we are prepared to live with the rough and tumble of this city. We can live only if we compromise with the Pig and the Qualis.