Gurugram: Say Hello to the Amazing City


Gurugram: Say Hello to the Amazing City

Illustration: Namaah/Arré

Yes, go on, crack your stupid little jokes about Gurgaon being rechristened ‘Gurugram’. Laughing at the establishment is a timeless act of dissent/listless apathy; it’s all fun and games. Personally though, I believe this will signal a new dawn; we will experience an upside-down version of the city we all love.

See, it’s a pretty common strategy in business lingo-bingo corporate mumbo-jumbo: When your brand is faltering, you rename it and voila, magic happens. Like how Bombay became Mumbai and suddenly it’s this amazing city. How Calcutta became Kolkata and suddenly it’s this amazing city. How Bangalore became Bengaluru and suddenly it’s this amazing city.

Or how the government running the country keeps changing its name from time to time: How it was called Congress, then it became AAP, then it renamed itself to Congress, then to BJP, then Congress, then Left, then Right, then Up, then Down, then Rock Bottom, and so on.

And now it’s time for Gurgaon. It’s our time to shine in the sun, where we take a stab at reinvention. Where we transition from horror village/urban disaster/mall sprawl to becoming a bona fide member of the Amazing City club. It’s makeover time.

Ogling won’t be as common as Googling. Cars will not be packed with hockey sticks and cricket bats (eh, it’s only because we love our sports).

No more shall we have to sit through the existential nightmare that is MG Road during traffic hours. No more will we contemplate taking the highway, get stuck on it because of literally that one guy whose unserviced Indica has broken down, check Google Maps and realise that MG Road would have been 17 minutes quicker. No more will auto-drivers ask for ₹100 for a 4.1-kilometre route; in fact, they might even put real, actual, functioning, untampered metres in their helicopter-auto-rickshaws. No one will threaten me with death for accidentally stepping on their foot in a crowded Great Pride & Jewel of Delhi Metro compartment (in all fairness, getting your toes crushed isn’t a bad reason for rage). People will no longer play loud Bollywood music on their phone-speakers; they won’t stare over your shoulder while you play a Something Run game on your phone.

Maybe, safety of women will become a real, matter-of-fact thing that actually happens instead of the punchline it currently is. Ogling won’t be as common as Googling. Cars will not be packed with hockey sticks and cricket bats (eh, it’s only because we love our sports). Call centre lackeys named Tom and Emily with confused accents will not make a nuisance of themselves everywhere. The malls won’t reek of simmering fury and passive-aggressive shoulder-barging; the breweries won’t smell of piss. Armed guards will no longer have to accompany company cabs after 10 pm; Ola will not charge their stupid ₹100-something toll tax for crossing state lines (is it NCT? NCR? A different state? Just make up your mind fast!). Tollbooth employees will not be pulled out of their tiny little windows for having the audacity to ask for the toll amount.

Who knows – maybe Harsha Bhogle will have the dream combo of hair and a job. Thekas will not sell alcohol all night; guns will not go off inside nightclubs (outside is OK). Driving licences will become as common as gun licences (just kidding, people have neither). Trucks will not play Midtown Madness on the streets. Yuppies will learn the value of subtlety; every damn block and neighbourhood will not have the exact same name with a different number attached at the end. (Phase 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14…)

Yes, change will come.

Even if it doesn’t no one will notice. We still suck as long as we’re called something else. The key is to keep renaming, preferably something new and shiny. It creates the illusion of a new identity while maintaining status quo. Which is also OK, really. Like Shakespeare once said: “You can take the Gurgaon out of Gurgaon, but you can’t take Gurgaon out of the Gurgaon.”