Delhi from the eyes of a ‘Kolkatar Rosogolla’
It’s a cloudy Saturday morning of August. As my driver bhaiya ( literal translation of ‘driver dada’) takes me through the wide lanes of the capital, the stereo blares the Punjabi number ,” Oh Gud Naal Ishq Mitha hai hai……” while the back of my head automatically plays..“Basti hai mastaano ki dilli dilli, Gali hai deewano ki dilli..”
It really is a different experience ,believe me, when you come all the way from the East to the Capital ( Please don’t judge me as a frog who just leaped out of her well. I’ve travelled places around the world)
The first thing that drew my attention was the steady presence of the Indian tricolour across the city and instantly my heart swelled with pride. Yes, I’m a proud Indian and I become emotional when I see my flag.
The next thing that I notice are the unusually clean roads. Do I credit some particular movement by the administration as the cause or are the people of the Capitol in general aware of their surroundings? Well Rajeshji, my driver bhaiya, easily clears my doubts. ” When you are travelling through Central Delhi, you’ll find it very clean. But as you move towards the older parts of the city, it gets more crowded and less cleaner”, he comments.
My eyes now automatically waver to the car number plates and I start to screen the digits. Almost all of them are even. The sudden emergence of an odd numbered vehicle gets me confused. Sensing my gaze, Rajeshji smiles and says,” No we don’t follow that infamous rule anymore. It was prevalent for 15 days after which the Government had to scrape it due to public inconvenience.”
While there is a certain disregard for rules, ( it is an Indian disposition) drivers nevertheless show some amount of respect to each other while on the road. No matter how much adrenaline urge is there to rush ahead of each other, drivers also show some chivalry by not toeing the line more than it should. Bikers, however, can be eliminated from this judgement.
So if people are so well mannered, disciplined and aware of their surroundings, why is New Delhi regarded as the most unsafe city for men and women alike? Rajeshji again speaks out his mind and answers my question; ” Dilli being a cosmopolitan city, there are people from literally everywhere. You cannot simply trust everyone! But New Delhi in general is safe and crowded. It is actually the outskirts that are more dangerous”
Then for a Kolkatan girl like me would Delhi be safe to roam about on a Saturday evening? Quick comes the reply, ” People of Kolkata are very ‘bhole-bhale’ (naive) and hence easy targets. But I think it is safe as long as you have a local guide like me”.
We both chuckle.