We have been continuously avoiding an important question! And for reasons, best known to none. One feels, there exists a very one-sided, vague idea about Noida, an important cluster of Delhi NCR that can’t be hidden anymore.
All around India and most strangely, even across Delhi NCR, this city is spoken about. And, on most occasions on low key terms lacking enthusiasm.
So, once and for all, let us face the Noida question
At a time when Delhi is fast leading a global footprint for development, being hailed for a vibrant shopping culture apart from a vividly told history and Gurgaon gathering pace in being hailed as a booming metropolis, we sadly find Noida lagging behind.
It is as if this city is a late entrant of sorts in a race to the checkered flag and Delhi and Gurgaon are far ahead already. Although realistically speaking, Noida has always had what it takes to be a world-class city in India, honestly. So what exactly is Noida today and why do people treat it indifferently? Why is the city often not even part of people’s discussions and plans?
Could it be that the self-formulated bias among people that stems from an indifferent attitude has made it a dull and seemingly avoidable expression? Could it be that in front of a significantly greater focus that today rests with Gurgaon and Delhi, Noida has been made to follow-up deliberately?
Perhaps more than perception, Noida is a victim of the hype that paints Delhi, Gurgaon
Ever city has a culture, an inherent vibe, a space for dialogue basis the city’s pulse. Noida’s pulse in that sense has been a lot simpler and sorted. Despite ups and downs, this has been a city that doesn’t scream for attention. It never actually has. Delhi and Gurgaon, it’s louder and more boisterous cousins, with visibly larger crime rates and unpredictability- thrive on hype. Noida just doesn’t. Even if it has rich and so called ‘mega successful people’ it doesn’t paint its image on the basis of their presence.
Let it not be forgotten that some of the largest and most trusted Builder community is based here. But alike Delhi that grows on popular culture and city-famous surnames, that often become a landmark of sorts- such as, Gandhi residence, Mr. Singh’s bungalow, Noida gently goes by without much fuss.
Also, media and colourful advertising seem to favour a showy New Delhi and a bustling Gurgaon
Let’s face facts! We are in that part of 21st century where digital disruption is rampant and good PR buzzword of the day. Exaggerated communication is common. Subtleties and simplicities are often compromised in front of a changing audience; people generally rest with hype and more pronounced ways of living and being.
Noida, in some sense, the subtler part of Delhi NCR, vaguely similar(not in city attribute but in being communicated about) to say a Bikaner that doesn’t get spoken much about or written about in Rajasthan vis-a-vis Jaisalmer, Jaipur or Jodhpur or say Nasik vis-a-vis a Mumbai or Pune has found its presence enveloped in thin existence.
But what’s shocking is that despite having tremendous physical infrastructure and an all-encompassing basket of everything you need from a scalable city, has been somewhat ignored. Or withdrawn. At least in mainstream media.
Here’s what you need to know forehand before judging or doubting this burgeoning city
One of the finest and most planned cities of India, Noida is as nicely structured, drawn and planned as is a Chandigarh. Sure, its current attributes in terms of ever-increasing traffic have marred this feature. Noida, with its wide roads that permit easy flow of traffic has always had the factor of accommodating more cars in its vicinity and confines as a Delhi or Gurgaon. No two ways about that! This certainly makes driving and moving about here much convenient than a Bengaluru or Mumbai, on present day terms.
Would you believe it- the famous School of Planning and Architecture actually laid out the city’s structure?
In hindsight, one of the finest features- whether you’re traversing from Sector 18’s spacious confines to a Sector 63- brimming with employment facilities- are vast open green spaces. Trees, birds, easy-flowing wind and, lots and lots of nurseries, a common feature of its outreach distinctly carve the city’s outline with an affability that lends credibility to the city fast becoming too commercial for one’s liking, it could be said.
In between is a splendid Golf Course, made by builders, Unitech. And they must be credited for making a space so green, luscious and welcoming that it flexes muscle with the capital’s premier Golf Course in Lutyen’s Delhi.
If you are done someday from bargaining for cheap thrills in Delhi and Gurgaon malls, focus your attention here
Truth be told, SelectCityWalk and DLF Promenade, Sahara and Metropolitan are loved by all and should be! They are, after all, lasting landscapes on cities that aren’t just about intellectual mentation and history or culture. Shopping is what drives tourism and makes cities an emblem of 21st century modernism.
But you’d be sadly mistaken to think Noida’s malls and world-class ones at that don’t contribute in this context. Replete with world-class shopping facilities and varied dimensions of F&B, the famous Centre Stage Mall and the DLF Mall are to Noida what Goa is to party lovers.
And CSM has been there for decades together, long before Saket even had the fragrance of SelctCityWalk!
Changing perceptions, lasting contributions toward the spirit of Delhi NCR
Noida was mostly about IT and education. But that ain’t the only truth. Having a Delhi Public School opened in Noida was a good move initiated toward 2000s. This only added to an official figure of somewhere in excess of 2000 educational institutes. World-Class MNC’s and leading Indian conglomerates like HCL, DS Group and other firms paint a commercially savvy image of a city that is used to change.
For nostalgia lovers, the imagery of that lone standing McDonald’s at sector 16 before the metro rail came up hiding it in delusion has given way to world-class education hubs like the revered Gautam Buddha University. Brands, institutes, metro rail and an almost in-house connectivity to Ghaziabad and Greater Noida, the latter being home to a flourishing F1 track and one of India’s finest freeways helps big.
That said, perhaps being part of UP and its corrosive image hurts Noida, shadowing its productive culture
Honestly speaking, a bit of Noida resides in Delhi, contributes to nation-buildig through varied sectors requiring skill, aptitude, focus and world-class precision- be it in Delhi or Gurgaon. Noida-ites, have been commuting for long to rest of Delhi NCR for vocation and been decorating sizeable resumes with great vigour. If the talks of Gurgaon being most approachable from airport was the talking point, then with a metro rail now in place, catering to over 70,000 people has settled that debate too. What’s more: religious and spiritual ones among us often rave endlessly about the astounding Akshardham Temple, What an iconic structure it is.
Truth is, there’s not really a dull day in Noida
Still, we crib about it. And do not accord the right place in our lives to a city that has often given Delhi NCR a lot of material fabric and emotional joy. Renowned theme parks colour its dense landscape and hope flows here regardless of what day, climate or situation. It is time we started speaking more about Noida and in the same breath of respect and regard we have for Delhi. After all, cousins, no matter how distinct they may be from one another, hail from the same blood family.
illustration by- S. Rajnikanth