A wedge too wide in these two worlds
Villages surrounded by fancy apartments and malls. Two worlds that are close and yet too far. Welcome to the National Capital Region, where starkly different cultures co-exist amid simmering tensions. Vikas Pathak reports.delhi Updated: Feb 15, 2009 00:18 IST
Villages surrounded by fancy apartments and malls. Two worlds that are close and yet too far. Welcome to the National Capital Region, where starkly different cultures co-exist amid simmering tensions.
At the Pacific Mall on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border, a young couple backs free intermingling of boys and girls, while at Makanpur village, just 2km away, an old man says: “We would rather die or kill a daughter who destroys the village’s name by having an affair before marriage.”
Valentine’s Day is a time when this tension is palpable. Villagers are upfront about their disapproval, while couples at nearby malls support it.
A 3km-drive from Anand Vihar bus terminus takes one to Makanpur — a typical village, with narrow brick lanes abutted by plain brick houses.
But high-rise buildings border it on each side. The physical boundary is blurred — the village abruptly ends in the city. Seven malls exist within its 3km-radius.
But the cultural boundary is clear. No V-Day though all have heard of it. Hardly any girls are seen on the roads. Young men roam around, but February 14 is no different day. “There’s no craze of V-Day here,” says Aamir Khan (19).
On the recent Noida incident where a girl sitting in a car with her boyfriend was gangraped, they say the fault lies with both. “What was the need to go to a secluded place with a boy,” asks Arif Khan (20).
Just 2km away, V-Day celebrations are in full swing at Pacific Mall. The place is dotted with heart-shaped balloons and restaurants have special V-Day offers. Black, the discotheque, already has 200 couple bookings for the night says manager KN Umesh.
No couple is willing to come on camera: their freedom is still aspirational, it seems. But they all defend V-Day, calling it a matter of free choice.
Only one couple has heard about Makanpur. But they all insist that the V-Day controversy is political and has nothing to do with the urban-rural divide. “All these protests are bull***t,” says Gautam and Neha.