We are from north and south, literally. That’s how vast the differences between the two are. A 3500 km mind space that needs to be crossed.
Four years ago as the taxi crossed the toll gate and sped over the ambiance flyover, my thoughts about the city I was just moving into was ambivalent and confusing. An unbridled excitement on one hand, tumultuous apprehensions on the other.
Amazingly, the city embraced me with its non-pretentious urbanism, settling me in quickly with quiet efficiency. It was amazing, really, how fast everything clicked to place – apartment, school, new car, maids, phone, gas, Wi-Fi, curtains, washing machine, water filter, ac.
It just took a local area service directory (that the previous tenants had thoughtfully left behind) and a few phone calls. Everything at my fingertips, literally! In less than a week, I was all set. (Don’t forget the address proof though. The best way to get that is to go to your nearest branch of your bank and get it updated there. I walked into the nearest HDFC and had my cheque book with the new address within 5 days. )
Tip: If you are new in the city, getting a local services directory (a small magazine type of book) is probably the best way to get started. The newspaper boy could get you one, or you could find one at the nearest stationary shop. Online directories could also help, such as What’s Up Gurgaon
I woke up my first morning in this city to the sound of peacocks!!! I almost did not wake up. We Chennaiites (so called Madrasi ) can’t wake up to anything other than the raucous medley of crows.
My stuff was yet to arrive so I decided to go exploring the city. Shock no. 1…
A strange conundrum of this ‘millennium city’ is that some very basic things like a good mass transport system are absent. Especially if you live on the new side of the great divide (NH8). Coming from Chennai or any other large city in India, where bus, local train metro and autos are the mainstays of transportation, this was befuddling. You have to have your own transport.
Nirvana country, where I live is an amazing gated complex, on par with international living standards. But there was almost no access to autos or buses. So I had to rely on call taxis. You do have taxis on call and auto rickshaws too now, but if you live in a quiet lane or a condominium, then you might still need to walk a bit to get local transport. Tip: So if you don’t have your own transport, be prepared to shell out huge on call taxis.
So I set out to explore. Thankfully language was not an issue. Being married to a ‘Punj’ and having studied Hindi in school in Chennai (yes they do teach Hindi there) made things easier. Though at most places – shops, malls, hospitals, eateries etc. – you can get by with English, making an attempt to speak at least a few words in Hindi, really helps.
And don’t forget to address everybody (male) as ‘bhaiya’ (the hindi version of anna)– shopkeepers, housekeeping staff, petrol pump attendants…everybody. Not that it makes them look at you in any sisterly fashion; it’s just the way it is.
My first day of exploration was the ‘mall mile’ (not sure if it’s the actual name), but it’s a 2-odd kilometre road with about a dozen malls. Let’s just say, a woman in a new city that she was going to call home, what better way to start…soul satisfaction.
Four years in Gudgawa (yup, that’s how it’s pronounced locally) has been a wonderfully long time here, and I’ve so much to share. So I’ll keep you updated every week. Happy reading.