First of all let me clarify the idea behind USA (Upper Shimla Area). Almost in all residential schools and hostels across the state and even in Chandigarh, students of especially Shimla district are being addressed as USA people (khadus) . When I first heard my friend addressing me as USA inhabitant it appeared bit racial and derogatory but I took it as challenge and the USA tag appeared to be more sophisticated and polished and we got along with use of USA. Thereafter it’s been common word of our discourse whether it comes to discuss the apple season or the upcoming flicks of sole Bollywood beauty from USA.
Now about the welcome change, the developing civic sense among USA people. In present day Shimla City the areas of Sanjauli, Dhalli and Bhattakufar are occupied by a mix of Himachalis but we USA people are more prominent and easily stand out in our physical appearance and the language tones. On my recent visit to Shimla I was surprise to know that the road stretch from Sanjauli Chowk to Dhalli Tunnel is converted as vehicle free zone from 9 to 10 am and from 5 to 7 pm respectively. I was happy that for first time we USA people have realised the importance of being humans and thus this step towards humanizing streets during the peak hour, creating pedestrians only zones is a welcome change for residents of Sanjauli.
On Sunday evening on my return journey I took a voluntary walk from Dhalli Tunnel to Sanjauli Chowk. It was a peaceful walk. I was no more bothered about the speeding monstrous HRTC busses on this already cramped road, no cars no honks and no more breaking shrieks to pin you to the side shops. It was the most peaceful walk I ever took on this stretch. Near Dhingu mandir bifurcation I could take some time to stand in middle of the road to gaze at the setting sun and admire the beauty of the rolling building rooftops down the hill. All I could hear was soothing murmurs and the unexpected laughers of people moving past me. Perhaps it is one to most sensible move taken by the authorities and definitely is backed by the public support of Shimlaites and especially the Sanjauli and Dhalli ones. In a way we people are developing a civic sense and responsibility towards our urban environment, about the air we want to walk and breathe in. Our children and our elders for sure will feel safer and would love to take the meandering course of this 800 meter stretch
Well it’s a welcome change for humanizing the urban spaces and making our city a livable one. God hails the Shimlaites and I hope that there will be such more civic changes to make us more civilized and evolved humans and perhaps that will be the best response to all those calling us USA. The message is clear to all of them. When in Shimla and especially Sanjauli walk with Shimlaites or else take the Bypass.
In support of humanizing Urban (Spaces) Streets!!
This is a guest post by Bonjour