Expense Account, Mint
Almost at the time I was risking my neck, pushing it to the limit, trying to get the entire 508m of Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest building, into the camera frame, my home city (New Delhi) got its tallest building. The 112m, 28-storey Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre, headquarters of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, is now the tallest building that the 73m Qutub Minar-benchmarked Delhiites can now look up to. Built at a cost of Rs650 crore, the centre was inaugurated on 22 April. Of course, Mumbai has the 249m Imperial Towers I and II, near completion, and with scores of buildings that top out well over 112m, this is nothing to write columns about.
Tall buildings, as I discovered in Taipei, are just as important for nations and cities as the next cellphone model or the sports utility vehicle is for their upwardly mobile citizens. And having the tallest building or a tall building in the top 10 is another way that a nation makes a statement. Taking over where victory towers left off and in a world that was awed by the American statement of conquering nature with its skyscrapers, to construct the world’s tallest building has become a way of declaring “I am” for a nation—the most perceptible way of showcasing the domestic growth story. Much better than what the dull per capita income number will ever mean to somebody who lives across the world.