City Watch – Is New Friends Colony Friendlier?
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The strange logic behind the naming of Delhi neighbourhoods.
[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Shakespeare says, that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The other day, I went to Khichdipur in east Delhi and could not smell any khichdi.
What difference would it have made if the place were called Biryanipur? But trust Delhi not to care for such existential questions. The city is littered with localities that have weirdly funny names.
I asked my rich friends in New Friends Colony and they couldn’t say why NFC is called so. “We live in a spirit of friendliness perhaps…,” said Anupama Ghosh, a resident there.
If that’s the logic, then are there more shaadis at Shadipur? Are people in Swastha Vihar healthier? Are rooftops in Sunlight Colony decked with solar panels? Do people in Maujpur, near Shahdara, have more mauj than the population anywhere else? Is Gole Market gole? Uhmm…it actually is.
Another curious name is that of the Metro station near Seelampur, called Welcome. I thought that it might be Metro’s first ever station in Delhi, which is why they named it so. I was wrong. Says Anuj Dayal of Delhi Metro, “Shahdara is our first station, not Welcome, which is named after a colony called Welcome.” Ouch!
But the Oscar for the most creative name goes to a neighbourhood called — hold your breath — Nasbandi Colony.
Around 20 years ago, the government, in a desperate attempt to control the population, drafted a policy awarding free plots in an NCR wasteland to anyone who underwent a nasbandi (vasectomy). Around 5,000 did and became citizens of what came to be known as Nasbandi Colony.
I, too, may consider a nasbandi but the free plot needs to be in New Friends Colony.
Would a condom company bother placing advertising hoarding near Nasbandi Colony? >>Guess in this age of AIDS they would. >>How do the people living there explain the name? >1st Guy: “Yeah I live in Nasbandi colony, cause back in the 80’s my dad had it done and got a plot here”. >2nd Guy: “Hope he had it after you were born..”
Swasthya Vihar is called thus because it was land allocated to housing societies of people working in the Health Ministry. So its provenance is similar to the Nasbandi Colony in some ways. However, FC and NFC must by that logic be friends of something or someone or the other. Probably some similar sarkari policy or programme or society for the rich and famous.
I am searching for ‘Ole Friends Colony !!
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