City Landmark – Ruined House, Gurgaon
Old time, sighted.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The walls are dilapidated. A part of the roof has caved in. The underlying bricks peek out of the peeling paint like raw bloodied wounds. Encrusted with the degradations of years, it stands like time frozen in a capsule.
The old ramshackle bungalow lies forlorn in one corner of Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar. A narrow lane renders it remote from the market’s ungovernable chaos. Alone and uninhabited, the edifice stands royally aloof in its decay.
Not a soul is seen here this sweltering afternoon. The area is completely silent. There are other modern houses that seem occupied but their doors and windows are closed. Upon a more careful observation, one discovers that the empty bungalow is not really empty. It is home to a jungle. Dense vines cover the roof, or what remains of it. The way through the entrance is blocked with tall wild grass. Knee-deep bushes grow inside.
Into which vanished world did these blue doors open? What kind of life did the ruined house see? What stories do its derelict walls contain? The sight brings out the same curiosities as evoked by the photographs of the Titanic long lying in ruins under the sea. What world that ship, or this house, foresaw in its final days and nights, one quietly wonders.
A nearby resident living in a single-room accommodation shrugs his shoulders, confessing, “We have no idea about this house. It has been like this for years.” The bungalow’s present state could be the consequence of anything, he conjectures.
It need not be anybody’s agenda to investigate the exact antecedents of the deserted building. It might be somebody’s private property. But the beautiful building is here, still standing, and you can gaze upon it from the street.
This keepsake of the past after all contains a glimpse of an architecture that existed in the so-called ‘Millennium City’, today a land of high-rises and concrete edifices.
Truth be told, you don’t even have to visit this exact building. The area is full of less frequented by-lanes like these, and quite a few of them are addresses to old structures, some similarly dilapidated, and some finely maintained.
Once upon a home