City Landmark – Mall Wall, Gurgaon
The other walled city.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Blue sky and cottony clouds. Silently sliding Metros. Stalagmite-like towers. All of these elements are only slightly out of focus.
This is no painting. This is a real world panorama, its reflection falling upon a shopping mall’s glass ramparts, here on Gurgaon’s posh Golf Course Road. Actually, from within the mall, the glass facade shows a far clearer view of the city outside. But on gazing at the facade from outside, the reflection of these city scenes on the glass becomes artsy. Similar to a painter’s rendition of sunrise appearing more profound than the actual sunrise.
To be sure, the only true iconic wall in the megapolis is of the Walled City of Delhi, some Metro stations away on the Yellow Line Metro. That stone edifice came up centuries ago, and was destroyed by the British in the 1850s. Surveying its remains today tell us of defeat, destruction and ruin. This walled display of Gurgaon—a tiny patch of the so-called Futuristic City really— is showing success, confidence and advancement.
Theories and comparisons aside, you have to come here for the sake of experiencing a most tiptop view. Nowhere else in the big baggy Delhi region will you find the city’s reflection falling so vividly on a city wall.
This afternoon, the world seen on the glass mall looks dust-free, efficient, fast. The Rapid Metro coaches are moving purposefully along the elevated tracks, so are the sleek cars on the broad road. The facing tower is forming brilliantly on the mall’s wall. The multi-storey is so tall that it is almost like a city-state, as if the gallis and kuchas of Purani Dilli had piled up one upon another.
The traffic on the road is behaving well. Until a nasty car honk stabs the quietude.
As evening nears, the scenes on the wall alter. You see labourers in yellow helmets walking by the road, probably returning from construction sites. Holding steel lunch boxes and work tools, these silent citizens are the ones raising, literally, this newest edition of a very old land. And now, one more Rapid Metro appears, sliding silently.