Faceless Fear in the Underbelly of Delhi

The other day when my husband was coming out of a parking spot, in spite of being an extremely careful driver, was getting almost hit by a speeding motorcycle which had decided to throw caution in the winds. I agree, even after being careful, sometimes we are caught unaware when a speeding vehicle almost hurls itself on you. This happens in Delhi a lot of times. That by itself is not strange. What’s strange, and almost scary, is what happened after that.

The man on the bike made a rude signal for us to pull over. At the end of the day, we were all tired, and wisely, my husband ignored his signal and drove on. And then how followed us for next ten kilometres, scaring us, especially my daughter, very badly. We just drove back, ignoring him, and I was once more back to thinking, this is Delhi!!

Yes, in spite of being one of my favourite cities, this city is filled with people who are rude, and brash, and aggressive. Some time back a toll booth operator got shot at for refusing to allow a man a free pass; a guy got killed for fighting with another so as to who should be served first in a restaurant; and an army officer got run over by a speeding vehicle and left to die bleeding on the streets, waiting for an ambulance or a police van to arrive. My domestic help got threatened with life for refusing to accept a low pay on completing a job; and my neighbour would have happily killed his low IQ daughter with a brick, had I not intervened, and at the gym I used to visit, an instructor raped a female instructor. Yes, this is Delhi, the capital of my country, with a notoriously high rate of reported crime.

Reported crime? Yes, you heard me correct, apparently for every one reported, five goes unreported. Why? May be because of the total apathy of the police force for anything which is not a major crime, such as murder, rape, or assault, etc, people are scared to report any incident. Threats are never taken seriously, and if a woman gets molested or sexually harassed, then she must be asking for it! That’s what the authorities believe in. So if you are caught in a lawless situation, bad luck. If you report the incident, then you are on your own, without any person supporting you.

This Delhi, which seats my country’s democracy, scares me. I know, as a woman, I am not safe. And yet I feel happy to be here. I guess therein lies the dichotomy of this huge city. You can dislike staying in Delhi, but in India, this is not a city to be ignored. So stay safe, and have fun.

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