?I shifted to Gurgaon in 1988, just married, into a big house, with only the two of us. There were not many house helps available back then, so the first week after getting married with all the fanfare, passed in cleaning and setting up the house. It was the end of June, the weather really bad.

The only water available was through a modified version of the ancient hand pump. Electricity was less there and more not there.There was only one fan and since there was no power, most nights were out on the terrace. One would think, how romantic, but, believe me, only mosquitoes romanced us.

Life was a challenge for me, a Delhi born and brought up girl. Nothing of the stuff that I was used to was available.

I had to remove my jewelry while traveling on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road even at six in the evening. The entire length was devoid of any humans or any construction. There were just open fields all along the way.

I felt that I had come to a land of no tomorrow. The pain of leaving my family was there, but, the pain of starting to live in such a place was beyond comprehension.

Small things which I was used to like Mother Dairy’s milk, a normal red bindi of my brand, Vanson footwear, to the extent, even my kind of hair clips were not to be seen. People had not even heard of an air conditioner, let alone have one. Coolers were for the uber rich.

The main Sadar bazaar market was out of a history book. People would stare at me as if I had come from some alien land because I could converse in English. The people walking through the little-twisted lanes were from the nearby villages. I had always stayed in the Delhi University area and the neighborhood, so such a sight was an eye-opener for me.

How I completed my first month in the huge house was like learning a lifetime of lessons.

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