City Landmark – City End, Near Sector 55-56 Metro Station, Gurgaon
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Big cities are like a sentence with lots of commas but without a full stop. You just don’t know where they might end. Check that out by driving through Delhi. Like the COVID’s ever-transmuting virus, the metropolis first transmutes into a succession of suburbs. These suburbs transmute into Ghaziabad/Noida/ Faridabad/Gurugram. These cities transmute into their suburbs, which, in their turn, transmute into other cities, other suburbs.
Where is that place to exclaim, “Yes, here is our megapolis’s last point!”
Ding dong, here is that place.
The Yellow Line of Delhi Metro goes all the way from Samaypur Badli in the north to Green Park and Mehrauli in the south, to HUDA City Center in Gurgaon. Now, the fiercely individualistic Gurgaon has its own metro service. Rapid Metro originates from Cyber City and culminates at the evocatively named Sector 55–56 metro station.
The rail’s overland track however stretches beyond this final stop. It goes upto the intersection of Golf Course Road and Rajesh Pilot Marg where it drops into… nothingness. Here is your destination to experience the end-of-the-world thrill. The last pillar of the track is marked P 266, painted in black against a yellow square. (Anybody with Amitabh Bachchan’s height can pout beside the sign for a clickbait selfie.)
This afternoon, the monsoon sky is a clear blue, with white cumulus clouds scattered like hundreds of boats sailing along a sea. The calming scene fails to calm the restlessness evoked by the metro track’s abrupt end.
The immediate expanse ahead of this drop is a maze of electric poles and towers. One of the high-rises is crisscrossed with hundreds of windows, multiplying the sky into hundreds of smaller skies. These windows are without panes. The building appears to be uninhabited.
Meanwhile, the 3pm road traffic is heavy. A sari-clad woman is pedaling on a bicycle. A woman in lehenga is wading amidst the cars, hawking white flowers that she is holding in both her hands. A few women are sitting on the dusty pave, beside a cigarette kiosk. They intermittently call out to passersby to treat them to chai (and laughingly hurl friendly abuses when the passersby pretend to ignore them).
Now, a baby goat appears. And disappears.
One day the metro track might be extended. Its last point would then end at some other far-off point. The Delhi Walla will go there, too.
At the frontier