Monday, May 25, 2009

Problems with the beautifully planned city of Chandigarh!

Enough good things have been said by everyone about the planned city of Chandigarh. The architect of the city was dumb, I would say. You must be wondering what made me say so? Go through the rest of the blog, and you would also probably appreciate this fact.

1)  The biggest problem with the city is that it is all the same! Yes, each sector, each market is of the same construction. For a new person, there is no way to differentiate between two sectors. Imagine going to a place where everyone looks alike! How would you tell apart one person from another? What I mean to say is that in any new place, you tend to look for some unique places or landmarks so that you dont get lost. But here, you would be in a helpless situation as each sector has a park, a market, a chawnk, all identical in construction. So, you are bound to get lost. It is really boring walking along the streets here.

2)    For the first five days until we got accomodation inside CSIO, I stayed in Mohali with a cousin. Without doubt, I used to get lost while returning back. Its then that I realized the second problem that a visitor will face. You would die walking here. People here are extremely helpful. I would ask them for directions and they would guide me, and point towards the next chawnk.The distance between two chawnks here is 1 km. Now here's the thing. From one chawnk, the next chawnk is easily visible. So you tend to think, ' Its close by, why should I waste Rs 5 for such a small distance'. You start walking, and realize that its a long walk. You reach the chawnk, and then you would again be guided to the next chawnk. The same thoughts run through your mind again, and you give in to them. Each day I used to walk 3 chawnks in this manner while returning back to Mohali. Exhausted, I would then decide to sit in an auto finally, only to realize that I was so close to my destination. All this when I would already be tired, as inside CSIO too, the buildings are far away. As mentioned before, each sector has a market. Now, this market covers the whole sector lengthwise. So, it runs from one chawnk to another. Even when we got rooms inside, in the evening we would go out for dinner, and come back tired and exhausted as we had to go from one end of the market to the other for the Dhaba(which was damn expensive, doesnt deserve being called a Dhaba). In short, you need to have a motorised vehicle in this city, else you would die walking.

3)  Now, the best thing about an unplanned city is that you would find every kind of shop at any stretch of the road. Most of the cities in India are unplanned, and I now realize, how friendly these cities are for a commuter. While on those long expeditions, I would so often have my throat parched. But, being a planned city, you wont even find a small stall to have something to drink. You must have enough energy left in yourself to reach the next market, else you are doomed. Interestingly though, at many places, I found liquor shops in the mid of two chawnks at various places, though there was never a shop  ot stall where you could find drinking water. 

4) The city sleeps early. As the clock strikes 8 pm, shops start downing their shutters, and it would be hard to find an auto that will take you to your destination without telling," Reserve karna hoga". If you ask them to pick up more passengers on the route, pat comes the reply,"8 baj gaye hain, ab kahan koi milta hai". With buses plying at half an hour service, you are left with little choice.

     For someone who comes on a short trip to this city, these are the biggest problems he/she would face. I can't explain the relief we would have on days we wouldn't have anywhere to go in the evening. We would be so happy to be in the room, as there wouldn't be tiring away of our legs.

 It would be gross injustice on my part if I dont mention the things that impressed me, and would impress anyone on a visit to this beautiful city.

1) People here are extremely helpful. Be it inside CSIO or outside. One instance I would like to mention is when we hadnt been confirmed accomodation inside. We were resting in a park, and decided to ask a person on an evening walk for any cheap dharmshala or hotels nearby. The person took us to another jogger, who detailed us on such cheap hotels in the nearby area, while the other person even offered to give his phone number, lest we face any difficulty. Now, need any more thing be said regarding the hospitality of people here?

2) Yes, the city is beautiful. What makes it beautiful are the well maintained park that you would find in every sector and are full of activity in the evening. Some parks even had fountains. This coupled with the greenery all around, has a soothing effect on your mind and body.

3) It is heaven for booze lovers. No where in India would you find liquor as cheap as this place. Each market has 3-4 liquor shops, which are always bustling with customers in the evening. Too bad, none of us drink. Beer starts at Rs 35 here!!


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