I live in Dwarka, a suburb of Delhi.
Years ago, anticipating a massive rise in Delhi’s population, Delhi’s planners had earmarked a large tract of land south-west of Delhi as a residential suburb.It was supposed to be just a residential area with pockets of commercial space. Dwarka is actually built on the site of farmlands of several villages.The farmers were given due compensation by the government after the acquisition of their farmlands.Flush with easy money, some youngsters turned to crime and robbery!
Apartments sprung up on each other , much like matchboxes piled up on one another and lo and behold ,by the year 2000, Dwarka had taken shape.The roads were still dirt tracks as concrete had still not been laid upon them.There was dust all around and electricity connections to the recently constructed condominiums were still scarce.An odd lamp told the traveller the direction to his destination.
Reaching Dwarka was from the main body of the city of Delhi was a nightmare and a lot of people wanting to visit their friends and relatives there wanted to avoid that situation.The connecting roads were extremely narrow and bustling with slow traffic spilling over from the adjoining villages like Palam! Readers would be extremely surprised to know that Delhi encloses a lot of villages, some of them dating back to 1000 years.
In short, going to Dwarka meant going to Greenland!
Crime was commonplace and there were so many instances of chain snatching and robbing of people right at the entrance gates of the various condominiums.
But, there was a bright side to it ,too!
You could see in the evenings nilgais cross the roads (dirt tracks actually). They simply jumped in fron of your vehicle, appearing from nowhere, and simply melting in the vegetation nearby.An unsuspecting driver usually collided with those beasts and ended up having a dented fender.
Nilgais are members of the deer family and generally are beasts of the wild.In northern India, village folks consider these animals as sacred and do not kill them for food.
There were hare , mongoose and occasionally one could spot jackals too.Dwarka was a forlorn territory then.
Life was slow, unpredictable and enjoyable.
Now, as I sit back in 2015 AD and ruminate, I can not but wonder at the rapid transformation the suburb has gone under.The Delhi Metro has embraced the township like the arms of a loving mother, numerous cars and motorcycles swarm the roads and humanity it seems has reposed trust in this place by putting quite a few of its members here.
The once dense vegetation has retreated and with it the sounds and sights of the wild life too have become feeble.
The metalled tracks, the multitudes of window panes and ubiquitous air conditioner have all together conspired into making Dwarka a veritable oven in the summers. Temperatures at times cross 46 degrees celsius.Bit, much more than the weather becoming hotter, people are becoming hotter under their collars!
While access to Dwarka is still an issue, the problem has largely been resolved.Traffic jams are now an essential part of the character of the suburb.
Attitude wise, while Dwarka was more of a conservative community earlier, today, lifestyles have changed-live in relationships are becoming more common.
What next Dwarka?