More than 50 years back my grandparents bought an agricultural land on the College Road – an area that was on the outskirts of the walled city. They christened this farmland as Durga Nursery named after our family’s ruling deity Durga Mata. This farm eventually turned out to be our family’s permanent abode and also a place for my grandmother to test her agricultural acumen by growing varied crops such as sugarcane, wheat, corn, cotton and grapes.
This farmland was the very place where my grandfather was cremated and where a memorial stands in his name and over time even my grandmother was cremated here and here lies her Samadhi Sthal.
A quaint lane with minimum thoroughfare: on one side was our home besides 2-3 others and on the other University’s residential quarters. As children we were not allowed to venture outside our homes after sunset as there were jackals in the vicinity that would scare us late at nights with their cry. Monsoon was a season where we had company of the reptiles: घर के अन्दर, घर के बाहर. इतनी आदत सी हो गयी थी की जब कोई गेस्ट से सापों का वाबस्ता होता तो brag करते की यह हमारा पालतू है और कुछ नाम भी दे दिया करते थे.
I think it was in the early nineties that this road was no longer being called ‘College Road’ but started being addressed as ‘Durga Nursery Road’. I do not know was it the commercialization of the road that bought about the name change or it was the other way round. It had seized to be a quite anymore.
This road not only faced the ire of rampant commercialization but also the fact that it’s one of the major roads that connects the sectors with the city. We no longer see peacocks dancing on rooftops during the rains, snakes rarely give us company and the temperatures too do not dip as you turn towards this road.
We have buildings with basement but no parking facility in them; high rises with absolute zero compliance with the norms. Coaching Institutes with no parking provision, for their students in their premises.
Last nail in the coffin has been the recent decision by the administration to have a divider running the length of the road. A 60 ft road now gets divided into two, with footpaths and cars being parked on either side of the road and Voila!! We have a road with a pliable width of only 20 ft on each side. This has actually made it a single lane road now.
Looking at the condition of the area and over-commercialization over the past few years, some of my well-wishers have been suggesting that it is no more a livable option and we move out to a quieter neighborhood but have always negated this option क्यूंकि अब जीना यहाँ और मरना यहाँ!!
Or maybe I am saying it too soon!!