Top 5 Long Gone Geri Routes of Punjab

Anyone who has lived or studied in urban Punjab, is probably aware of a unique travel attraction which is still to be listed on Tripadvisor - the Geri Routes of Punjab. The Geri is a Punjabi slang with no real English translation, meaning to drive around slowly on a particular stretch, an activity linked to Punjab’s youth. Though no one can really point out how and when it actually started, there have been Geri Routes in most urban centers of Punjab. The following list the top five Geri Routes of pre-mall era in Punjab.

1. Sector 9 to Sector 11, Chandigarh

Photo credits : Chandigarh Geri Route Sec 9

The mother of all Geri Routes, Chandigarh’s Sector 9 -11 Geri Route can be associated with the colleges in Sector 11 and 10 where thousands of girls and boys come to spend large amount of their parents' hard earned/earned as bribe/earned via selling to builders moolah. The GCG-11 (Government College for Girls, Sector 11) and the Home Science College (for girls in Sector 10) were the main attractions for young boys to move around in their motor vehicles. Thus the great Sector 9 Geri was born. Youth would move around mostly on flashy and boisterous (Royal Enfield) Bullets, but some boys had open jeeps and cars. Many used to just walk around and still be part of the Geri, imagining the days they would drive a Bullet/Jeep/Car, and be officially part of Geri-proper.

2. Lawrence Road, Amritsar

Photo credits : Chandigarh Geri Route Sec 9

Believe it or not, there was a time when Lawrence Road was known less for its proximity to mental hospital and more as a mecca of the youth of the Majha area day-dreaming of "living the dream", Gaddi with a Naddi (Owning a car - nothing unique there, and a girlfriend to own the car for - thats unique Majha flavour). Any evening, one could see long queues of Enfield bullets and cars beginning at after-college hours of BBK DAV College for women. Lines of Bhoond Aashiqs(vagabond casanovas) would be seen right outside Novelty restaurant, just wandering about in groups. The common experience for most ended up eating a softy (a soft ice-cream on a cone) from a local vendor, or ending up at a burger joint further down the road for a bite before heading home to talk tall tales of having talked to yet another beautiful girl on the geri route.

3. Phatak No 22, Patiala

Photo credits : Chandigarh Geri Route Sec 9

Patiala has always held a royal vanity connection to it. Probable reasons include being the home-base of Maharaja of Patiala, a large number of people nicknamed Chahal in the city or maybe just due to the Phulkaaris sold in its markets.

However, what earned the nick name of Geri route of Patiala, was No. 22 crossing (22 number Phatak), a railway crossing near Yadwindra Public School.
Starting at Gopal Sweets, a local McDonalds of sorts, selling devilishly delicious and dare-you-to-heart-attack rich delicacies and stretching all the way to Sahni's bakery - another fast food joint, each evening and especially on saturdays, one would see a flood of Patiala-shahi suits and urban turbans in flashy colors. The fatak(railroad crossing) having met the fate of its cousin in Kotpaura is now below the flyover, but the geri route still retains some of its charm.

4. Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana

Photo Credits: Mohit Hambiria Photography & Chandigarh Geri Route Sec 9

The commercial hub of Punjab, and go to city on the fringes of Malwa had its own version of the geri-route, Sarabha Nagar. The eating joints as Kipps market exhibited the flashy Mercs and BMWs far more than the other Geri Routes of Punjab. When not swearing at the pollution in Ludhiana, blaming migrant workers and not night-before parties for flunking second semester exams, one could see hoardes of GNE colleges graduates, trying to prove Chandigarh shehris(city-dwellers) don't have it better when it comes to meandering aimlessly trying as a way to impress their Juliets.

5. Model Town, Jalandhar

Photo credits : Mohit Photography & Chandigarh Geri Route Sec 9

The center hub of Doaba was once also referred to as the NRIs(Non Reliable Indians) hub, having whole villages from Kapurthala and Jalandhar of Punjabi diaspora migrating back each winter like Canadian geese. The Geri Routes of the pre-mall Jalandhar was the model town. Starting at Nikku Park - where a series of convex-concave mirrors amusingly attracted a large gathering of people looking at their weird self-reflections, you would see a sea of cars, bikes and scooters catching the glimpse of youthfulness (possibly Canadian) in the air each evening. The Archies gallery served as a quick meeting point, before getting a nibble to eat at the Parkash Bakery. The ones defending the bad boy reputation could be seen at Nibble beer bar.

How have Geri Routes in your towns change since then? Know of a hot-spot in Punjab we missed? Let us know in the comments below and we may do another feature. Maybe. Just maybe. Well darn! We'll do it.

Baba BlackSheep

Baba BlackSheep

A charlatan of the highest order,Baba wears all sorts of religions claims of a godly man up on his sleeve. His love for geri and scotch on rocks barely exceeds his constant need to feed his ego. He dreams of one day owning a dera/temple/gurudwara/mosque/church, and has started a website to recruit followers of his cult.

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