The SOUTH EXperience

SouthEx – one of the richest areas in the country. Cool. Advanced. Happening. Living in the NCR for past four years, I have heard a lot about SouthEx and its awesomeness. Everybody around me had been going gaga over it all these years. Every weekend people would flock to SouthEx and its adjoining areas to hang out and have a good time. The favoured destinations being its market and Select Citywalk, Saket. And of course the usual Qutab Minar and all that stuff. Surprisingly, I was never curious about it.

The reasons behind my lack of interest in SouthEx being – my general hatred of Delhi’s bus service (city buses being the only way to reach there for people like me), lack of interest in malls and markets (I suck at being social) and of course who wants to visit such a place with only hundred bucks in his pocket? (that being the zenith of the cash surplus in the credit based economy which I have built around myself).

However, I was bitten by a new bug at the start of this year – the Deutsch bug or for laymen, a sudden desire to learn the German language fuelled by my nine year old interest in the Second World War, repeated viewings of Inglourious Basterds, Schindler’s List & The Pianist, the seductive German accent of Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds and a pseudo-intellectual urge to read and understand Franz Kafka. So I ended up at the Inlingua centre in SouthEx Part I. There I was at a place about which I had never been curious and suddenly I was spending a large part of my weekend there.

As with most of my endeavours, I concentrated more on things around me than the task at hand. With all the hype about SouthEx, I had imagined it to be some sort of Indian Times Square or whatever. It was not. But yes, it was different. As I entered SouthEx, all I could see was flyovers, eight lane roads, shopping plazas, malls and corporate offices on either side of the road. Cars, from a Maruti 800 to the latest Audi and even a Hummer zipping by as if there was no tomorrow and the sheer indifference of people towards one another. Everybody running around stopping only to shop or wait for buses.

So, there was this insane pace of life, there were cool shopping outlets if you are loaded, there were cars and there were girls – all those things which make guys visit the place again and again. But again, everything was over hyped. Guys would go on and on and on about super hot girls on SouthEx roads, its high cool quotient, as if it was some super model contest venue. In reality, I could see auntyjis in figure hugging jeans trying to replace Priyanka Chopra on the Levi’s Diva billboards, college girls covered from head to toe to save themselves from ultraviolet rays of the noon summer sun, people waiting and abusing at the bus stop, a bunch of foreigners finding it exotic to roam about in Indian dresses which even we Indians don’t wear, atleast not in our daily hustle, the general chaos typical to any market, people desperately trying to converse in English (I went to a language centre), but yes, most of the people better dressed. But I am yet to see a girl in bra top and hot pants sipping nariyal paani as described by some of my over enthusiastic mates.

One thing which was conspicuous by its absence was the Hindi language – couldn’t see it anywhere except on sarkari bank boards and road signs. Another indicator that it is an advanced area. Even that Prince Refrigerated Cold Water wallah had its cart painted in English letters. No, wait, there was this Chandni Chowk Saaree Sale – Chandni Chowk ke daam ab SouthEx mein bhi, establishing once and for all that being in SouthEx means you have to be loaded and get ripped off if you don’t buy saarees there. Consumerism and the real face of globalisation come alive in SouthEx, with every major bank, restaurant chain, lifestyle store etc having its outlet there. In fact it is the face of our country which we like to project.

However, beneath all this, as with every city in the world, lies an underbelly. At SouthEx it is the underpass. There one can see where the firangs get their inspiration for making movies like Slumdog Millionaire and City Of Joy. I could see all the stereotypes there – a charasi/smackiya lying in a dark corner as if he was dead, women with small children gearing up for their daily shift of sympathy begging, two drunk men having a brawl, numerous shani baba spots(utensils full of mustard oil and iron) on Saturdays, various shades of babas shouting various chants, a tweenager lying stoned and people like us passing through all this murkiness with total nonchalance to manage the shit in our own lives. It’s all a part of life here, isn’t it? Or everywhere?

Thus, SouthEx, even though it is rich and vibrant, is no different from other parts of the country where everything co-exists with everything else. A Maruti & a Hummer, a blind beggar & a Ray Ban wearing 15 year old, a lower middle class behenji waiting for her bus to Shahadara & a 20-something pretty young thing flashing her newly gifted Hyundai Accent, a 14 year old navel baring wannabe supermodel & a middle aged saleswoman, swanky shopping malls selling water at 25 bucks a bottle & our very own Prince Refrigerated Cold Water doing the same for 1 buck a glass, a Volkswagen showroom & the parking commotion in front of it – everything works here.

Ultimately I was laughing at how people around me tend to create hype about things they experience for the first time and instead of enjoying every bit of it they concentrate on really mundane things. Anyways, my weekly visits there for two months were worth the time, energy and money I spent as they gave me a chance to observe and experience one of the best places in the country. Adios.

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6 Responses

  1. every unvisited place is over or under hyped!!! btw, a desi girl in bra top and hot pants sipping nariyal pani on city roads will take time. have patience 😉

  2. […] https://thickheadedmoviefreak.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/the-south-experience/A Maruti & a Hummer, a blind beggar & a Ray Ban wearing 15 year old, a lower middle class behenji waiting for her bus to Shahadara & a 20-something pretty young thing flashing her newly gifted Hyundai Accent, a 14 year old navel baring … […]

  3. Very well written post. The whole scene just flashed before my eyes. I loved it.

  4. बल्कि इस बार अजीब है, मैं सफलतापूर्वक इस साइट में प्रवेश किया

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