Friday, June 25, 2010


We were one of those few migrants to Pitampura in the early ninetys when the locality was desperately struggling to become a decent habitat. Needless to say the struggle entailed loads of inconveniences for the early settlers including knee-deep water clogs during monsoons and indefinite power cuts. The place was partly jungle and partly evolving into a civilized locale. I remember we were rushing off to Karolbagh, at every drop of a hat, to purchase items which fell in the category of “little more than basic amenities”. We were one of those innumerable Bengali families who had lived, breathed eaten and belched Karolbagh since we made Delhi our hometown. So one could say that the attraction to and nostalgia of Karolbagh not only persisted, even after we shifted base to Pitampura, but grew in proportion, as the latter failed to provide the ambience and amenities, which we were so used to growing up with. But as is the intrinsic character of the city, in less than no time Pitampura Gaon developed into a sprawling, flourishing, self sufficient suburb. Gradually, the Karolbagh fixation wearied off. Almost a decade later, DMRC came to town to erect the Kashmere Gate – Rithala Metro line across Pitampura. In no time the entire demography changed. Our favourite leisure time activity was to stand by the roadside and watch the hordes of engineers and laborers toiling day and night to put into place the massive construct by the CANI principle(Constant And Never ending Improvement). The yellow helmets became a permanent fixture on the landscape. We saw them arriving in groups to work in the morning, invading the parks during lunch-time , managing traffic in peak hours, cleaning and working at the site and traveling back in groups in the evenings. They were everywhere. Then the trial runs began. Engineers ran up and down in the blazing peak summer afternoons to fine tune the timing and the run. Observing them we realized the amount of meticulous planning, persevearance, pain and pure hard work that went in to erect landmarks and achieve milestones. Metro became the pride of Pitampura. Then came the Underpass. Soon Pitampura had a three-tiered passage way – the Ring Road, the Underpass and the Metro overhead. Next in the queue was Dilli Haat. Now as we whiz past the brightly lit underpass in the evenings or lick our fingers over delicious helpings of BTW’s aloo tikki at Netaji Subhash Place with the Metro crawling by through the garland of the Haat lights, hanging as though mid space, Pitampura looks like the most happening place on this planet.

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