A few days back, I was headed to the BDP Khandekar-designed Nirlon Knowledge Park in Goregoan, located adjacent to Western Express Highway, for a business meeting. It is usual for me to be accompanied by anxiety when I am on the roads in Mumbai. There is a certain amount of apprehension that it comes with it and the reasons are multiple: unregulated traffic; no lanes system; no explicitly marked exits and entries; potholes; and ambiguous signage.
Having said that, I was joyous to not hit any traffic jams yet. I had covered my usual ride of 40 minutes in 20 minutes. Just as I was about to get optimistic of Mumbai road travel, I had to step back and reconsider my judgement. To begin with, there is no clear indication on where to exit from the highway, so as luck would have it, I had missed Nirlon Knowledge Park. I was worried but the driver said not to worry. He slowed down and looked right and gingerly moved on to service road by going over the broken curb. So with few bumps, I was headed towards my destination.
Entering the campus was easy. I had to go to building number B-2 and there were no signage to point me in the right direction. So I took the usual path of human intervention and asked the security guards. They just lift their arm perpendicular to their legs and guide you left and right, whichever direction you should be headed towards. I had to turn left.
Just as I had moved 3 or 4 meters, I was stopped by different set of security guards. He made some irrelevant queries and handed me a receipt to get a signature from the person I was going to meet. As I moved ahead, I could see clearly marked building B-3 and logic suggested me B-2 next to it. But in Mumbai you should just keep your logic aside. So I looked for human intervention again and a guard pointed to that building.
Once you are inside any Mumbai building you soon realize each is guarded like a fortress. The security clearance formalities make you feel like less than human. I handed my card over to the lanky guy behind the desk who sent a security code to my cell phone which I had to produce back. One step cleared. Next, he took my picture. Another one. Lastly he issued a visitor’s pass which would allow me to enter the lobby which was again guarded by security personnel. I finally made it to the office where a guard made me enter my details in his roster. Sigh.
While returning, I missed giving the signed receipt to the security guard but I got out of the campus alright. Once I was out on the road again it made me think about the abundant disagreeable redundancy of security enforcements. I wondered about the ceaseless amount of human intervention for way-finding and signage and its inefficiencies.
I still have that duly signed receipt in my bag and if it meant anything sincere, I must have breached the security of Nirlon Knowledge Park, Goregaon, Mumbai.