Our love for things ‘foreign’ knows no bounds. Walk around the National Capital Region or the suburbs of Mumbai and Bangalore and you will be ‘transported’ to Europe and America. Don’t get us wrong, we are not talking about the quality of infrastructure or the civic amenities in these places but strictly confining ourselves to the names of residential and commercial properties which can make you believe that you are not in India but somewhere else, if only for a few hours.
So, the roads might be non-existent, the water and electric supply patchy but then thanks to smart property developers you might be living in Windsor Park or Malibu Towne. The latest addition to this dream-walking (and living) comes from the Noida Development Authority’s grand plan of redeveloping the Sector 18 shopping area, the city’s commercial hub, on the lines of shopping centres in Eur-opean cities. The facilities, we have been told, would be similar to the markets in Sweden. Why should we get a Swedish experience and not say, Venetian with canals and gondolas floating around? Well, someday, we assure you such plans will be announced.
The authority has decided to give the market an ultra modern look, with new street lamps, designer benches, walkways for pedestrians and better parking. There will be no eyesores like overhead electric wires, we have been promised. But then these basic civic amenities should have been put in place before the market came up and not sold to us now as a Swedish experience, isn’t it? In any case, in Europe, local markets are not shiny glass monsters and new concrete roads, they are well-maintained historic city centres.
Instead of being cynical, however, we should probably be thankful to our local governments and property developers for doing us a great favour: in these days of inflation, expensive air tickets and rising dollar value, they are helping us live our European dreams in India. If only something would be done about this miserable weather.