City Life – Staircases, Gurgaon Mosque & Gurgaon Mall
More than just a fire exit.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Here are two aspects of one city. As seen through two staircases.
The first one is a steep staircase littered with shoes, sandals and chappals—see right photo. The second one is a sparkling staircase—see left photo.
The first is part of a mosque. The second is part of a mall. The first is in Jama Masjid, in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar. The second is in South Point Mall, in Gurgaon’s Golf Course Road. The Jama Masjid staircase is crammed with many footwears today, because it is the Friday afternoon prayer, and the mosque’s courtyard and corridors are packed with barefoot worshippers—Jama Masjid, of course, means Friday mosque. The shopping mall staircase is almost bare of people, though the mall is brimming with citizens, who may be using lifts and escalators. In an upper floor staircase, two housekeeping staffers are cleaning the glass windows that overlook the Millennium City high rises and the elevated metro track running along the road. Soon, metro coaches appear, crossing the window view in the blink of an eye.
These two instances notwithstanding, staircases in Gurugram’s public places—as well as in other parts of the Delhi region—tend to be hidden from public view. Here, residential apartments, high-rise offices and gigantic shopping malls offer multi-floor navigation through escalators and elevators, and staircases remain tucked behind service doors painted with the words—Fire Exit.
The contrast between the aforementioned staircases makes it timely to recall a visit to another Gurgaon destination, one that (inadvertently) offers staircases as one of its attractions. A place where they are not put away in some discreet corridor, but right in the front, like a drawing room showpiece.
The four-storey Satyam Plaza in Civil Lines houses shops, along with an atmospheric chai place. Its other fascinating part is its staircases, flanking both sides. Each spirals around in sharp angles, seemingly detached from the building, as if protruding into the air. The structure is so swirly that your entire body has to turn with every step, which are of uneven heights. Walking on this extraordinary staircase is like climbing into a void.
Later the same Friday, the Sadar Bazar mosque have emptied of the worshipers. The stairs are bare, until next Friday.
Two ways of climbing