City Hangout – Cyberwalks, DLF Cybercity
An unusual bridge.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The soaring hills of concrete look like a Hindu Kush range of their own kind, their walls glinting under the sunlight like snow-capped mountain summits. A highrise’s window cleaners, harnessed to hanging trolleys, are looking like mountaineers on way to the peak.
Housing the headquarters of some of the most prestigious corporations, the 12-acre DLF Cybercity seems to be an ambitious first draft of Gurgaon’s futuristic optimism. Owning an office address here might be the pinnacle of professional triumph, but the most atmospheric way to soak in the skyline is by simply taking a stroll in one of the three aspirationally-named ‘Cyberwalks’—the landscaped footbridges built over the busy road. Here the surrounding tall buildings show up like students in the school assembly ground, similar to the Mumbai skyline when seen from Nariman Point.
The bridge itself has the pretensions of a tamed forest. Bushes, hedges, flowers (frangipani!), spindly trees are growing on either side, including a smattering of grain stalks–who knows what will become of the crop.
No place is perfect, however. One does feel for the Cybercity pigeons. There is no leafy shade around save under the bridge’s pruned fauna where these poor creatures come in droves. Some perch under the greens, others dive into the pool (surely no other bridge in the National Capital Region must be so pampered as to get equipped with watery embellishments).
The traffic underneath adds to the mood. All that drone-like sound produces a strangely haunting melody that makes one wonder what sort of world existed here before.
The bridge’s comfy seating spaces seem to be designed for the express purpose of people-watching. Most passers-by look occupied — they must be working in some of the surrounding offices. But each face has an individuality. Just now goes past a woman looking rather sad; she is followed by a suited man looking fresh as if he just emerged out of a chilly Ac-room; he gives way to a couple, both man and woman tapping on their respective smartphones. These brief glimpses of humanity give a sense of the life going on inside Cybercity’s formidable business towers, bringing that gilded world closer to those of us who will never get a chance to step inside its portals.
The bridges of Cyber County