A place is a network. A continuous network of pathways was ruptured by the road, breaking Pratap Nagar into two. The heavy traffic now makes it difficult to cross from one side to the other. Moreover, the speed of traffic on JVLR is made possible by its light slope in undulating terrain.
The most important common spaces of the community lay on the JVLR alignment and were consumed by the road. In a conversation, an old woman traced the size of the largest maidan in the air over the road near the Buddha Vihar, recalling with joy and regret the splendour of Navratri and Ganapati celebrations that would be held there every year.
This ‘flattening’ required a lot of ‘cut and fill’ in the landscape. As a result, at places the road is a high retaining wall blocking the path, and at others a sheer drop. Occasional flights of steps and a single pedestrian underpass are poor compensation.
One woman who visits her married daughter daily by crossing the easier afternoon traffic said with a fearful gesture of gathering herself in her fist: ‘I hold my life close every time I have to cross’. Not only friends and families, even neighbourhood schools and students from the ‘other’ side lost each other.