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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

I love Gurgaon: A city that harnesses its youth power

I LOVE GURGAON’S VERVE: The youthful energy of the large number of young professionals living and working in the Millennium City has rubbed off on the city as well

gurgaon Updated: Jun 02, 2017 01:01 IST
Major (retd.) Atul Dev
Major (retd.) Atul Dev
Hindustan Times
Buzzing with energy, areas such as CyberHub and MG Road encapsulate the vibe that Gurgaon is famous for and which attracts the young, educated and upwardly mobile crowd to the city.
Buzzing with energy, areas such as CyberHub and MG Road encapsulate the vibe that Gurgaon is famous for and which attracts the young, educated and upwardly mobile crowd to the city.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

I love Gurgaon for the youthful energy it exudes. Thanks to the large number of multinational companies (MNCs) that have set up base in Gurgaon, the city has a young, educated and upwardly mobile crowd. A new population that has expectations and aspirations from this ‘old land’.

And Gurgaon is meeting those expectations, albeit gradually. Accommodation, entertainment and employment opportunities are prime concerns and Gurgaon is gearing up to meet these challenges. If there is any quibble, it mostly comes from the ‘old timers’ who feel a tad ‘left out’.

One has to feel the youthful buzz to believe it. An evening spent in any of the pubs, bars or restaurants that dot the city will convince a visitor of the verve here. You could also make a casual visit to CyberHub and MG Road to feel the energy that the city encapsulates.

Read | I love Gurgaon: How the city’s changing canvas stirs the soul of an artist

Life is literally 24x7 here and the work culture too revolves around the concept. Offices are buzzing with activity round the clock and the average age of employees is not too high either. Many of them are freshers right out of college while others are on their first assignments.

To imbibe this youthful vibe, I often hold quizzes, painting competitions, and interactions through various heritage clubs.

However, things were not always this happening in Gurgaon. In the 1950s, when I was in school, my father would visit Gurgaon from our home in Nizamuddin East, New Delhi, regularly. On most visits, I too would accompany him.

Read | I love Gurgaon: Chhole-kulche seller on a culture that nurtures, aids entrepreneurs

I still recall the route we took — now known as the Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road. He would visit some of the refugee families settled in Gurgaon after Partition. While returning, we would regularly buy ‘gur (jaggery)’ and ‘shakkar (sugar)’ from the market. Thus, for us, Gurgaon was a place to visit with friends and get our regular supply of ‘gur’ and ‘shakkar’. Little did I know that someday I would give up my nest in Nizamuddin and settle in this place, although it took me over four decades to do so.

By the 90s, developers in Gurgaon had put up attractive advertisements luring Delhiites to relocate to the calm, peaceful, and serene place ‘just’ south of Delhi. After searching for a full year, we zeroed in on an apartment in Sushant Lok. We became the proud owners of the apartment in the early 90s, but it was not until 1998 that we moved in.

Things were quiet, peaceful, and settled back then, the hustle and bustle of today was missing , but so was this youthful energy.

My choice of an apartment was well thought out. Here again, the sprightly energy and freshness that a new residential colony offers attracted me.

I still remember the view from my apartment at the time. We could see aircraft take off and land at the Palam airport across green fields. In January and February, those very fields took on the lovely, golden hue of mustard.

Within a few years, all the fields and green areas gave way to towering glass and steel structures and malls became a part of the landscape.

Whenever things start feeling stale, a visit to malls on the mall mile on MG Road provides a much-needed dose of freshness. The malls not only serve as shopping destinations, but also as rendezvous points.

Gurgaon has grown by leaps and bounds. Even its name has grown — from seven letters to the eight-lettered Gurugram.

Unfortunately, some of the people who sold their farmlands to developers did not quite comprehend the change it would bring about in their yard. From farming, they turned to other means of livelihood — some adjusted well, while others have still not realised that life is no longer what it used to be.

Gurgaon has the potential of being a world-class city, provided the civic services and infrastructure is handled professionally. For this, the youth has to be taken along and their energy used in a constructive manner. There are issues that are holding the city back, but I have hopes that the energy of the youth will help the city lose its shackles and soar to the heights it’s meant to touch.

(Major (retd.) Atul Dev is convener, Intach (Gurgaon chapter) and president, Aero Club of India. He writes about the vibe that keeps him hooked to the city that is his home.)

First Published: May 24, 2017 09:53 IST

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