Friday, 16 May, 2008

A mess called Nehru Place

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Yet another geographically limited blog…but there is a strong need to vent my frustration, so please bear with me. If you are from Delhi or have ever lived here, you will be aware of a very congested office complex called ‘Nehru Place’. This labyrinth of offices and shops is also famous as India’s largest software hub. Don’t believe me? Walk down the lanes here and you will be bugged continuously by vendors selling softwares, computer games and the likes on the pavement itself! But let me not deviate from what I was discussing…however fascinating this talk of roadside softwares is…

The point is that this is also the worst parking area of Delhi. Public Transport in NCR (National Capital Region – the term used for Delhi and its satellite towns like Noida and Gurgaon) has not yet evolved to an extent that it can be a comfortable substitute for owner driven cars. Don’t get me wrong, though I love to drive, spending 3 hours on the road everyday trying to battle with traffic jams is not really my idea of fun! I would give anything to have a comfortable alternative that would put me in office on time. And its not that the government is doing nothing about it…the metro which is still under construction in some areas like mine is the perfect answer to our woes. Clean, air conditioned and punctual...my dream come true!

But till that happens (and my guess is another year to go), I am at the mercy of the parking lots of Nehru place. Let me paint a picture for you…a lot that should ideally park 20 cars is used to stuff in 40-50 cars. Cars are parked on top of pavements and at a distance of literally 5 inches from each other. Thus, if you want to take your car out in the middle of the day, they will have to move 10 odd cars and take 20-30 minutes to do so. Also, if you are one of the unfortunate ones who did not park at the back row, you will have to leave the keys with the attendants and god help you! These guys obviously have absolutely no idea how to treat a car and screech their way across the 6 foot of driving space that they get. And the cherry on the cake? For this wonderful service, I have to pay three times the legally allowed amount. Their boards clearly state that the government has allowed them to charge Rs.10 per car per day. I am bulldozed into paying thrice that amount everyday.

So net result, how has this affected my life? I go to office half an hour earlier to try to get the back row so that I don’t need to leave my keys. I then have to beg the attendant to let me park my car as they like to only get luxury sedans parked in their lots (and my humble Hyundai Santro doesn’t fit the bill). I also spend half an hour extra in the evening trying to weave my car out of this mess…and I leave making him richer by Rs.30.

Where does this leave me? Very frustrated to say the least. What is it that you said? Go to the police? The cop on duty is usually sitting right next to my attendant having tea, so you can imagine the response I will get. My plan of action? It is to meekly bow to their arrogant demands and pray very hard that the metro starts service in my area soon!

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