Posh highrises and swanky malls have turned Gurgaon into the Millennium City, but finding your way to any one of them will be anything but a world-class experience. The noodle-like suburban spread sans road signages only leads to chaotic traffic intersections with no help to find a way out.
While busy stretches such as Golf Course Road and Sohna Road are easy to find, others owe their identity to random landmarks. Even the so-called planned areas of new Gurgaon, such as DLF City, Unitech's South City and Ansal's Sushant Lok, don't have any road identification or numbering system.
Hence, driving on an unfamiliar stretch gets difficult for locals too, most of whom are young professionals working in thousands of MNCs here.
A case in point is when you have to direct a relative, friend or colleague to your residence.
"Once, I told a friend to look for a yellow car parked on the street that led to my house since there is no landmark or signage here. By the time she reached there, the car had moved to some other location, my friend lost her way and I was left red-faced," said Ritu Dhingra, a resident of DLF City Phase 5.
The commute is particularly frustrating for visitors from neighbouring cities who need to find their way to the city's super-specialty hospitals, malls, golf courses and bars.
Puran Mal, a traffic constable stationed at the Huda City Centre Metro station, says he helps more than 100 confused passengers and motorists with addresses. "At times, even locals get confused at this crossing. Most hapless commuters feel lost when I use landmarks to help them, and not road names. I can't find a better way to help them," he said after helping a Zambia national find his way to South City 1.
Unlike most upcoming Indian cities, development in Gurgaon has been far from planned and in sharp contrast with neighbouring Delhi, where even flyovers have names.
"In American and European cities, asking for directions can be rude. People expect you to remember road names or follow the grid-based road system. Neither holds true for Gurgaon, however," says Nisha Singh, a local councillor and a London Business School alumnus.
The city administration, on the other hand, is still struggling to find a solution.
"We moved a proposal to implement a grid-based road numbering system, but since Gurgaon roads are intricate, it didn't work. We have a sub-committee which will look into residents' proposals to name roads. We will be happy to accommodate suggestions,” said Sudhir Rajpal, commissioner, MCG.