My first visit to Gurgaon left me bewildered amongst tall buildings, posh malls, the mirage of wealth and the cars buzzing on the broad flyovers and the narrow broken roads. The first rendezvous with suburbs of Delhi was marked by Intimidation with confusion and awe smeared all over my persona. A friend dropped me in front of my soon to be office but I did not know my way back home. My soon to be colleague at office showed me the way to a bus stop near my office. Walking from my office to the bus stop I was the bird who had lived all its lives in a cage and did not how to fly in the free air, like a dog that has lived a tamed life chained to the doors of its masters never seen the world beyond the area that the chain allowed it to explore.
I took a bus from Gurgaon to Delhi but it is not as simple as it sounds. My home was 35 kms away from where I was and the journey was not about taking a bus. The next that came was the sight of Qutub Minar with the sun setting in the background. It then occurred to me that Gurgaon was hours away from home. In a couple of hours I was standing in front of the bus stand close to AIIMS & Safdarjung hospital. I had crossed Green park, Khel Gaon, etc. and now I was headed to Dhaula Kuan and Ridge. I had only heard these names leave alone having travelled to these places alone. The overprotected kid was out of the protection of her dad who would pick her up from wherever she was stuck and dropped her wherever she needed to be. On my first day to college, I was the only student whose father dropped her in front of the college gates. It was a lot like the first day in school. Thankfully, he did not insist on meeting my lecturers to ask them if they will take care of me.
Answering if I can learn yoga or karate or swimming or singing or dancing or painting et al. go for a movie, go to a college trip etc. have been the most torturous questions for my dad simply because he never wanted to (and never did) say “yes” to them.
But Gurgaon is the city that found me all my freedom, independence and all that I wanted. Its tall buildings, the ones I looked at in awe when I first entered the city housed all my aspirations, nurtured them, helped me identify them and gave me the confidence to bring my aspirations my reality.