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Sunday, Jan 19, 2020

I love Gurgaon: Where you can work your way to the good life

I LOVE GURGAON’S POTENTIAL: The city attracts the ambitious from all over the country as a place to achieve their goals and fulfil their dreams

gurgaon Updated: May 31, 2017 09:33 IST
Joygopal Podder
Joygopal Podder
Hindustan Times
The city gives upwardly mobile Indians and expatriates economic empowerment and a meaningful life.
The city gives upwardly mobile Indians and expatriates economic empowerment and a meaningful life.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Gurgaon is where young Indians with ambition and drive flock to from all corners of the country for exciting career opportunities. It is the new business address of many leading international and home-grown companies. The
city gives upwardly mobile Indians employment, economic empowerment and a meaningful life. If these are not enough reasons to love Gurgaon, then what are?

Three decades ago, Delhi’s Connaught Place (CP) was where all major commercial houses of India were located, and they were mostly branch offices. The headquarters were in Mumbai.

Then the office hub of the National Capital Region (NCR) moved southwards, to Nehru Place, and many headquarters of new entrants into the India growth story sprang up in Noida, while the IT-related businesses soon discovered Bengaluru. I have worked in all these places.

But a decade-and-a-half ago, Gurgaon’s Cyber City, and rapidly expanding Udyog Vihar, with their glass and steel tower office spaces, caught the fancy of Indian industry and foreign multinationals.

The fact that this sudden surge in newly built modern and hi-tech office spaces was accompanied by a mushrooming of beautifully constructed condominiums and glitzy malls added to the charm of Gurgaon for executives of leading companies.

They, like me, discovered that professional growth could be easily married with a happy home life and exciting
cultural and entertainment opportunities — all at a stone’s throw from each other.

Their employees discovered that the India growth story could be accompanied by a satisfactory work-life balance, if they relocated to Gurgaon. Of course, Gurgaon’s proximity to the domestic and international airport was a huge bonus for the many frequent fliers.

The result today is a vibrant and modern city, rivalling some international hot spots in terms of lifestyle and professional opportunities.

I recall how three decades ago, relatives and friends questioned my decision to shift my family from our rented accommodation in south Delhi to my new home in a remote outpost “beyond the end of the world”. Today, many of them have also shifted to Gurgaon.

I remember how, in the initial years, we travelled to Delhi for employment, recreation and entertainment. Now, we no longer need to. In fact, the traffic flows in the opposite direction. Delhiites now come to Gurgaon for all this and more.

The social construct of Gurgaon has undergone a dramatic change. Business leaders live here. Senior managers, both expatriates and Indian, rub shoulders with cultural divas and dons of literature. The resultant opportunities and need for cultural and entertainment hubs has not escaped the notice of entrepreneurs.

Not only does Gurgaon lead the nation in the number of malls and supermarkets, but also in the huge variety of eateries and the number of cinema screens and book clubs.

CyberHub is a recent addition to the social and entertainment landscape of Gurgaon, with its fancy bars, fancier restaurants and amphitheatre.

I began my professional career as a marketing manager in Delhi three decades ago and used to come, somewhat infrequently, to Gurgaon’s dusty but thriving Sadar Bazar market to visit my wholesalers located in its bylanes. I crossed farmland, mustard fields and tiny hamlets to get to my dealers whose orders from my salesman’s product lists mostly revolved around lower-priced and relatively downmarket items preferred by rustic customers.

I also inspected the new residential projects coming up on the outskirts of the old town and finally invested in a small house since it was all I could afford then as property prices in Delhi were out of reach. What a sea change I have witnessed in the economic and social ecosystem of Gurgaon since then.

Buying a house in Gurgaon in my twenties was one of the best decisions of my life, as it turned out.

I love Gurgaon because of the unique opportunity it gives me to spread my wings, even in my fifties. It is a vibrant city which rubs off its dynamism on its citizens, offering them a variety of life experiences along with economic momentum, professional growth, personal happiness and a world view.

(Joygopal Podder is a marketing professional and author of Millennium City)