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Delhiwale: So close to the dream world, and yet so far

Samrat Das, a resident of West Bengal, works as a housekeeping staff in Gurgaon’s DLF Cybercity.

delhi Updated: Jun 29, 2018 12:38 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,gurgaon,DLF Cybercity
Samrat Das, a resident of West Bengal, works as a housekeeping staff in Gurgaon’s DLF Cybercity. (Mayank Austen Soofi/HT Photo )

At first he simply could not believe his eyes. “Such tall buildings, so huge... I’d never seen such a thing, not even in the cinema.”

But then Samrat Das is too young to have seen much of the world. He is 21 and arrived in Gurgaon just three months ago. A friend helped him get a job in an office’s housekeeping staff, here in DLF Cybercity. “The first time I saw these imaratein (buildings),” he gushes, “I thought I have come outside India...” Mr Das, who gave up schooling after the tenth standard, wanted to study more. “But we are too poor.” His father in a West Bengal village owns no land and works as a farmer-on-hire.

The young man confesses he doesn’t feel homesick for the lush green countryside of his Bengal. “I like walking at night in the Cybercity when all things, even the streets, are lit up with powerful lamps… they glow so brightly… and you feel as if the stars themselves have fallen down from the sky.” Mr Das’s one-room flat that, he says, he shares with two other colleagues is in nearby Bihari Mandi. Housing a lot of migrant workers, that neighbourhood is an altogether different sort of place, he explains, its buildings more modest in scale but “I could still see the DLF towers from my room window!”

Even so, Mr Das feels he is light years away from the easy life evoked by these gleaming complexes. “I’m too poor... can’t even dream… it’s impossible.”

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 12:34 IST