City Landmark – Old Doorway, Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon
A leftover beauty.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Eighteen little squares are sculpted into each of the door’s two kiwaars, the shutters. A metallic chain is attached at the top. The side jambs—the chaukhat—are carved with intricate patterns. A taak—an arched niche, rarely seen in contemporary architecture—is scooped above the door, and two others are on the sides.
This old-fashioned work of art must be located somewhere in an Old Delhi gali?
This is Gurugram, the Millennium City of cloud-kissing high-rises, of malls, multiplexes, beer pubs, penthouses and multinational headquarters. But of course, the door is slightly removed from this promised land. The place is tucked away in the older part of Gurugram, in Sadar Bazar where there are no towers.
This afternoon, hawkers and bazar shoppers are going past the doorway without throwing even a cursory look, as if it were just another boring piece of architecture. To add to the indifference, bikes are parked in front of the door. A tailor working nearby explains that the building is a private property, though it stays locked most of the time, with nobody inside. One anyway doesn’t need to bother about the antecedents of the building, which isn’t half as impressive as the door. It’s the wooden portal that stands out like a museum exhibit, looking completely out of place from the rest of the environs.
The door is painted white. The wooden strips on either sides are carved with three separate designs, running from top to bottom. One of them consists of a decoration of flowers. The strap at the top is also patterned with flowers. The petals are indicated by a few dashes drawn inside each of these tiny oval figures, representing an individual bloom. These dashes make every flower resemble a human face—a dash at the bottom is like a smiley in one case, a sad emoji in another.
A curly-edged arch possessively runs above the doorway, as if to shield it from rain and sunshine. The three taaks should have claimed attention for their exquisite wavy-shaped outlines, but the extravagant door makes them look like plainly-dressed cousins from the village.
If you gaze upon the door from across the road, the panoramic perspective gives it a comical touch. The adjacent walls are in shabby yellow, making the white door look like frosting on a cake.
And now another biker parks his bike in front of the doorway.
Portal to lost aesthetics