City Hangout – Foot-Over Bridges of Delhi-Jaipur Highway, Gurgaon
The bridges of highway county.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
So you too reach out for the tissue paper while watching reruns of Meryl Streep’s The Bridges of Madison County? That evergreen tearjerker is an adaptation of Robert James Waller bestseller novel. While the story is fiction, those covered bridges are for real, existing in a real Madison county, in Iowa, the US. If only some filmmaker set a similarly romantic movie around the super-atmospheric foot-over bridges of Gurgaon, particularly the ones along the Delhi-Jaipur highway, the smoggy artery that separates the old town from the new. Here’s a few of those bridges.
The bridge, near the IFFCO Chowk crossing, is pickled in charming eccentricities. The signages on the roof are adorned with philosophical lines. Read this one aloud: “Time is always moving. The important thing is to learn from the past and then look towards the future.” The bridge’s disabled-friendly ramp is exploited by bikers as a shortcut despite a signboard screaming “Shortcut! Cuts life short.” Whatever, a lot many pedestrians cross the bridge throughout the day, giving a sense of the area’s diverse humanity. This afternoon, a man in tie is sitting morosely on the stairs, and elsewhere a woman is absentmindedly adjusting her sari pleats. Moments later, an elderly lady in a long ghaghra appears—she could be from some timeless village. A bulky Bisleri mineral water container is balanced on her head.
A stranded suspension
This sluggish noon, the roads are virtually traffic free, and this foot-over near Signature Tower Chowk is empty. The long passageway is dappled with shifting shapes of sunlight and shadows. Gusts of hot breeze are stirring up dhool from the metal floor, sone of which hit the eyes. The occasional men who surface on the pavement underneath the bridge are seen walking busily; they evoke the pointless diligence of ants. Indeed, the bridge is so isolating that you feel far from your day-to-day existence. On coming down, that perception dissolves, and worldly tensions return.
Bridge of life
All day long the Rajiv Colony foot-over mills with the area’s folks crisscrossing the highway. This afternoon, little boys are noisily racing through the bridge, hurling out swearwords from their little mouths. Then there are venerable old men in dhoti. One broody gent walks past a tattered old flier promising jobs for “anpar to graduate boys”. A newer flier is offering “naukri hi naukri” in a courier company (“license must”). The tenderest sight in the bridge is of an earthen water pitcher, probably placed for birds.