City Walk – Charangiari Gali, Gurgaon
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The world here is framed in yesterday’s aesthetics.
But this is just a lesser-known address in Gurgaon’s Roshanpura in the National Capital Region.
The broad street, however, is lined with buildings of another time. Their walls, coated in the rust-coloured glaze of several years, are punctuated with atmospheric old doors and windows that have become a rare sighting even in Old Delhi by-lanes.
The name of the street is as romantic. Charangiari Gali suggests that it came to be known so probably because of having a house with char aangan, or four courtyards. A passing biker residing in the area rubbishes the idea, enthusiastically saying that “there is no story behind the name… it’s just a name for God’s sake!”
The street is lined with private houses, though some of them appear to be empty. A few of the beautiful weather-beaten doors are locked, their padlocks entangled in clouds of cobwebs. The tall handsome windows too are shut closed; their torn metal netting adds poignancy to their picturesque desolation.
Most of the wall paint has peeled off revealing the bricks beneath. You can spend long fascinating minutes simply studying the shapes of these dilapidations, themselves a work of art.
Some sights are more enigmatic. Like a window ledge teeming with damaged statuettes of Lord Ganesha. Or a doorbell hanging from a long chord strung beside a cobwebbed door that clearly hasn’t been opened for ages.
The lane is short. You can cover it in 10 minutes flat, and yet it makes you feel as if you have waded far from the world of today. This is an idyllic diversion from the glitzy distractions of the so-called Futuristic City, bringing one closer to the beautiful illusions of past.
A world of yesteryears