I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

What I see from my Window


The evening sun falls nicely on the Gurgaon buildings in autumn. They don't quite look orange yet, and anyway, the orange part of the evening is brief in these parts. They also don't look like that many different shimmering colours have been mixed together lightly and blend into each other, like you see on the sea. Or the mountains. Here the shades are clear and the differences sharp. The impressionists would not have painted Gurgaon.

The tall pair of spikes in the distance – shaped like the old Nokia phone chargers or like a very thin layered cylindrical cake with each layer slightly smaller than the previous ending with two blunt candles on top – look like they do all day. Steel grey and glint.

The building shaped like the ones DLF was originally known for – a tall cuboid with a squat pyramid on top – surveys all from DLF Phase 1. It does not want to compete with Golf Course Road. It is original Gurgaon.

The metro line is visible but not as much as in the night when the trains look beautiful moving across the malls. The landlord who had rented us our previous house had called it the Manhattan view. But that is still a couple of hours away.

The row of malls – is there any other place in the world that has all the malls in a row, but the National Capital Region? – looks a bit like Amsterdam houses, now that I was in Amsterdam a week earlier. There is the one with the curved gable. There is one with step gable made by the floors and the billboards. The malls are a bit wider than the canal houses, given that the architectural needs were not as strict. Imagining Amsterdam requires some imagination.

The row of malls look grey, off-white, beige, beige, grey and glass, periwinkle and azure, interrupted by JMD Towers, basic grey, beige and then onwards towards the highway. All of the malls also reflect different shades of sunset like clouds at different heights. Except here all the clouds are arranged in a Prisoner’s row.

JMD Towers dominates the right side of my view. A lot of people smile when they hear, for the first time, that JMD stands for Jai Mata Di.
The row of malls are pockmarked by small billboards and dominated in a few cases by bigger billboards. The lines, the edges go hiding behind the wide billboard screens and then appear again. Cubist. Picasso may have liked this skyline.

Looking left again, the Bristol hotel on the left looks old. It is old and the name makes it look anachronistic. It looks like an ITDC hotel while it isn't. It does have some trees around it. Perhaps also coming out of the walls like the Ashoka tree on Ashoka Hotel Fourth Floor in Chanakyapuri.

Behind the hotel and behind JMD plaza and behind mgf megacity (in small letters) are various tall buildings of Golf Course road. Golf course road is at an acute angle to MG road and the buildings and the scaffolding with yet to be built buildings and the cranes and the dust are all radiant with the golden light of the evening. The light cream gold suits the buildings. Each of them has one surface aglow while the others provide depth. Chiaroscuro.
The tallest building is under construction. Three cranes dominate the building pecking at it like a very tall and thin woodpecker, which is shaped like a flamingo. At this time of the evening, they look like birds.

Then I turn my look a bit towards the right and now look straight. Right in front of me is Odyssey. In the night, the lights are switched on and the club called Odyssey on top of Sahara Mall turns into the spaceship that it is designed after. The mall has got quite a reputation these days. What I remember is the after party after the graduation dinner when a lot of us refused to come all the way to Gurgaon. Some people did though. Some guns were fired that night. And since then quite regularly over the last fifteen years. However, all this is still a few hours away. Right now, the spaceship looks dull – like the way space shuttles look after they land back, with their panels all dirty, grimy and burnt from the soot and the atmosphere – and the mall looks like a mall.
The sign says Sahara Mall but Sahara can’t be seen unless you peer closely. Hence, dominating the view right in front of me is MALL.
Four letters right in the middle of MG Road.

And if I look straight ahead through the gap within the malls (why have they left a gap?), I can see the three buildings dominating Sushant Lok. Regency Park. Ridgewood. And another with a similar name which escapes me at the moment. These buildings face me. Each of them with many rows and columns of flats all looking at me. Like a well formatted excel table. Uniform. Basic colour scheme. Word wrapped. Only they are beige and cream and matt gold instead of navy, slate and blue.
The three buildings remind me of friends - friendly, broad shouldered, smiling. They also remind me of the three peaks which I saw from Almora when I was eight - Trishul, Nanda Devi, Kamet. They had also glinted in the morning sunlight when we reached Almora after a nauseous journey. The only difference is that the mountains had small pyramids on top. But my three friends here don't want the pyramid.

They don't want to look haughty and distant like Laburnum to their right. Laburnum glints in the same matte gold sun which falls on the other buildings. Laburnum, ah the name brings up flowers and golden showers (that's what the flowers are called), but there are no flowers. Instead four tall towers. Standing erect. Much taller than wide. Which makes them look taller than they are. Though not as tall as JMD Plaza and City Point which are closer home. Insult caused by distance.

If I look hard I would be able to see movement in the buildings, in the malls, within the metro, closer home. People going about their business and people waiting for people to come back from their businesses. But I don't look hard.

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