Is it just me, or is there something strange about Gurgaon? I've been to the satellite city half a dozen times but never quite warmed up to it.
Sure, there are lots of glass and steel headquarters there. Plenty of shopping malls and conveniently located cushy apartments next door. But sab kuch bahut artificial lagta hai.
On the one hand, you get the impression that this is 'not India'. There are no regular markets and bazaars. No aam junta ka congregation spot besides the malls and private housing complexes. No 'purane sheher ki galiyan' (well, all of the above may exist in some pocket - but hidden away).
Now take a closer look and you will see this is very much India. The haalat of the roads and kachra 50 metres away from the swanky malls... is as bad as Mumbai (and certainly far worse than Delhi next door!). Gurgaon roads have apparently improved some but power cuts are a regular phenomenon ("all malls run on generators", I'm told).
And there is absolutely no public transport. Mobility to Delhi and back will take a leap once the metro is extended upto Gurgaon. But as far as internal transportation is concerned you will still be dead without your own vehicle.
Because of which, despite fairly wide roads and generous parking, weekends and public holidays like 26th Jan (when I was there), result in absolute chaos. The world and its step uncle descends on the mall stretch to gorge, guzzle, gape at shops and watch movies.
Same as yuppie public everywhere, but here the lack of alternatives is more pronounced.
One of the amusing things I noticed on this visit was a 'Scottish high international school'. It's even built to (somewhat) resemble a Scottish building/ castle. And no, I don't think it has anything to do with the famous Bombay Scottish school which owes its name to the fact that it was set up some Scottish missionaries. Over a century ago.
Tata taking over Corus is great. But I wonder when there will be a Haryanvi high school in Scotland... which Scottish students would clamour to attend. Tabhi hum manenge, that India really is taking over the world!