Economic development and its dependencies: different lifestyles

Visiting any large city,and observing the different worlds that co-exist, is always a thought-provoking experience. Gurgaon is no different.

Here’s the view of one of the thousands of high-rise apartments that have come up in this was-a-sleepy-village:

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To me, however, what gives character to this photograph is not the high-rise..but that cluster of buildings nestling below it, with the spire of a temple as well.

In those homes live the people who make life convenient for the occupants of the high-rises; the faceless people who provide so many services: maids, ironing-wallahs, drivers, security guards, gardeners, the innumerable tasks that the relatively cheap labour in India takes on.T The prosperous middle-class would collapse without these services that take away some of the strife of daily living in this country, rendered by people who do not have other people to take away their own strife.

Motorized fossil-fuel transport, of course, is the backbone of this kind of residential area, but right next to the motorized transport in this photo, is a greener option: the cycle rickshaw, which does not depend on electricity or fossil fuel. I was happy to see many plying everywhere.

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Here’s someone delivering large PVC pipes somewhere by cycle rickshaw, this one modified for cargo:

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In fact, I was tickled to see some motorized transportation being consigned to a dusty oblivion:

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Here’s someone who fills mattresses with cotton (or is it some artificial filler, I wonder) and then sells them:

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Some provide services by carting away the deteritus of a consumer lifestyle:

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Some get excellent exercise while commuting:

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Here’s a “chik” (bamboo-slat blind) maker, whose blinds will add to the ambience of so many “ethnically” decorated apartments:

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Other people provide services for those who provide services. Everywhere, mobile carts catered to the needs of those less financially well-endowed than their high-rise brethren:

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Here are the people who tend to the the little greenery that surrounds each high-rise:

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Here, a mobile cycle-rickshaw, so ingeniously fitted with a pressure pump,that allows car, van and truck tyres to be inflated:

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This is Indian

jugaad

at its best…no more waiting at petrol pumps to inflate one’s tyres!

The urban scenario is not a pretty one for the lower economic strata:

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Pollution and litter seem to be part of their lot, and yet they manage to exist…and thrive, and have a blue-eyed vision of their future:

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Here’s a night view, with the building (in the first photograph) to the left:

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Fascinating to see how, in the same space, so many different lifestyles go on!

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