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In fast-changing Gurugram, citizens need to revive community bonding

Undoubtedly, we have come a long way from being a small town to be ‘Millennium City’ but some things have not changed, says Gurugram resident Smriti Chhabra.

gurgaon Updated: Jul 31, 2018 15:12 IST
Gurugram,Millenium City,HUDA
A view of Sector 30, Gurugram, on June 26, 2018. (Parveen Kuma/ HT File Photo )

We moved from Delhi to Gurugram in 1980, when my dad got a job here. Compared to our previous accommodation, our large independent rented house in New Colony had a charm of its own. It was a small community where people knew each other. All children were going to the same school. We always knew what was happening in the city by just word of mouth. Kishu-di-hatti or Baljees at Sadar were the usual eating out joints and its heartening to see that they are still there.

Gurugram was a small, sleepy town spread over a radius of few kilometres. Commute anywhere by rickshaws and bicycles would not take more than 15-20 minutes. A limited number of transport buses connected commuters to Delhi through the Old Delhi road and routes towards Sukhrali or MG Road were non-existent. That part of the town was infamous for dacoities or killings.

My school, which I had started soon after moving to the city, was probably the only English-medium institution with classes till higher secondary only. To avoid going to a government college for 10+2 classes, most of us had to travel every day to Delhi schools for senior secondary education. Initially, we had to take the usual Haryana roadways buses and then change to DTC buses to reach our schools. Though over the years, two or three roadways buses were put to pool in for school kids, commuting to few key schools in south Delhi area. Since mid 80s, the first burst of industrial development and influx of migration was felt with residential growth in HUDA sectors, the now so-called ‘old Gurgaon’, started spreading around.

Later, with the NH8 opening up, things started changing quickly and more public buses were made available to key points in Delhi such as Dhaula Kuan, Karol Bagh and RK Puram. However, commute towards MG Road remained minimal even till late 90s. In early 90s, I had to take up hostel accommodation for my studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University since everyday commute to the campus was too cumbersome. The inter-city entry of autos and taxis in the last decade and then the Delhi Metro brought a big change in the way we think of transport now.

Undoubtedly, we have come a long way from being a small town to be ‘Millennium City’ but some things have not changed. While we have high-end medical facilities that bring high revenue with medical tourism also, our General Civil Hospital has been standing solo from decades and still lacks basic life-saving facilities.

We might have Metro and Rapid Metro but the Gurgaon railway station doesn’t even come close to similar facilities in the big cities.

We have International schools and big private universities now but our government college and institutions have seen no substantial development.

As a young girl in a small town, I could easily go alone around the city and would travel on the local buses. But the safety of women now is the biggest concern in our society. Now, I am scared to go to many parts of the city or send my daughter alone on bicycle anywhere even in our neighbourhood.

These days in a fast-paced, busy life, we hardly know people around us. I often feel lost and think that we need to recreate the bond with our community where anyone could easily reach out for support and help to anyone. Now we plan for meet-ups and bond over meals or events so that we get to know people who are working for betterment of society and the achievers among us.

In the last few years, I have lived in Delhi and also abroad. But Gurugram has always remained my home.

I created a community page on Facebook, Gurgaon Community Circle, where we encourage people to reach out for social interactions and share their work too. For a closer connect within our own neighbourhood, I made social groups of women in DLF-2 where we can talk about anything anytime and we know everyone personally. Through my efforts, I feel I can give back my love to the city that I grew up in and make it a better place for all of us.

(Smriti Chhabra is a freelance graphic designer who runs Gurgaon Community Circle page on Facebook. She is a resident of DLF 2.)

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 15:29 IST