Delhi Underbelly

The thirty minute auto ride from Nehru Place to Tughlaqabad Institutional Area was something that over the previous couple of weeks, I had learned to approach with caution, if not apprehension. In that relatively short period of time, I had rubbed shoulders with prostitutes, eunuchs and hordes of drug addicts drooling on my shoulder, all within the confines of the rickety three wheeled contraption.
The eunuch affair was particularly disturbing or downright hilarious, depending on your school of thought. They had trooped in, six of them, had grinned at me and had started bawling merrily, accompanied by cymbals and an occasional gesture in my direction, asking me to join the party. Maybe they were singing about their castration, but I did not ask. Somehow it didn't seem prudent.

Anyway, I digress. My apologies.

The chief reason for experiencing such delightful co-passengers was the fact that the route happens to pass through Govindpuri. For the uninitiated, let me put it this way. If Delhi is Middle Earth, Govindpuri is Mordor. If you still don't get it, here's another fun fact. More than half of the city's felons are extracted from the slums of Govindpuri, if and when the police feel like arresting them. That place is as seedy as they come.

If you are still interested, then you would probably ask why I went through the grind everyday and still cribbed about it. No no, I have no alpha male illusions about myself; it takes me multiple swats to kill a half dead mosquito, so holding my own against a bunch of antisocial toughs would be my forte in a parallel universe, never in this. The metro was a more sensible option, but the nearest station was pretty far from my office, and apart from being a wimp of the highest order, I am also very lazy. Do remind me to highlight these points in my CV.

So, once again on a drizzly morning I was sitting inside an auto, waiting for it to fill up so we could begin the bumpy sojourn. Presently two men entered and stretched themselves.Lets call them Red Shirt and Check Shirt. It was one of those rare occasions when blessed normal souls cared to join the travelling party. 

Ah, the irony of it all.

The driver seemed to know these two, and had started his metallic bag of bones without waiting to fill it up with passengers right up to its last inch, as was the routine. That should have been my first clue. My second clue was a visual treat; Red Shirt had pulled out a black revolver from his pocket and was twirling it thoughtfully in his hand. He noticed me staring at his gun, pointed it at me, made a sudden 'bang' noise, and sniggered along with his partner. For obvious reasons, I failed to see the humour in it. Nothing is ever funny when you're at point blank range.

"Loaded, country made," he declared. He seemed happy about that, so sacrificing my happiness for my own sake, I converted my expression into what I hoped was an admiring one.

"Where to?" he went on. So  the day had finally come when I had started engaging myself in banal morning chitchat with a possible murderer.

"Tughlaqabad. Job....internship." I wished he'd put that revolver away.

He laughed as though watching a Jim Carrey movie. "Money in your pockets, a possible laptop in that bag of yours, and you still.....?" he continued laughing, "See this?" he said, indicating his gun. "This, is a magic wand; I point this at you, you automatically hand over your stuff to me. Magic, see?" He banged the seat, overflowing with mirth.

If fairy tale dialogues included death threats, they wouldn't be much different from the way Red Shirt put it.

"Anyway," Check Shirt piped in, "You're unlucky, Bakshi's the one going to take the hit today," he stubbed out his cigarette, took the gun out of his friend's hand and rapped its butt sharply on the metallic grill, indicating the driver to stop. They got out, leaving me slightly befuddled. The driver behaved as though nothing had happened, perhaps this was nothing new to him; the mere sight of these two men had instigated him to start his half empty vehicle from the auto stand, clearly indicating that mob bosses ruled the roost in these places.

I reached office and worked furiously on my pointless project all day. Before leaving, I caught hold of the security guard. 

I had a vital question for him. "Sirjee, how do you reach the Saket metro?"

PS- The conversation included in the above account has been extensively censored. Apart from that, I have attempted to record everything as they actually happened.


  1. oooohhhh!!! This was the only sound which escaped my lips, rest died in my tongue! I would have gone unconscious with my eyes open if I were you that day!! Oooooh my!!
    And nice to see you blogging again. :)
    Witty and a lovely read.
    and I was half-wishing you would write a 'bazinga' at the end of your post ;)

  2. Even I wish I could have followed it up with a Bazinga, but alas :P

  3. Samwise Gamgee: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon, and the orchards will be in blossom.....
    Rivendell- an apt title for a follower like you!:)
    And for the blog, Wit has always been ur forte!
    and so has been fiction(i want to believe that point blank range scene actually din happen!)
    made for a hilarious read!
    and even m back to blogging!tadaa!!:D

  4. Unfortunately, it did happen, Aditi :P

  5. Thank you, Miss Blahblaholic, that was kind :) Any suggestions?

  6. Your sense of humor I love already. ♥

    The user info, the dialogues...

    Hit the follow button. =D

    Come visit me often. =)

  7. Haha thank you Ezazi, and yes I'm following you, and I do stop by your blog very often :) :)

  8. Now, i dunno wat to say man.... you should have done this way before...

  9. "If Delhi is Middle Earth, Govindpuri is Mordor" LOL I like the comparison..

  10. Kudos for your Blog description ;)
    I have toothpix at my place, though lol :D
    And luckily enough I never had such experience, I've been to delhi like thousand times,well, I go by metro for that matter!
    Write more, it was a great read!

    Love, Risha :)

  11. Joy-There are plenty of things we should have done before :D
    Mayank-Ah,I intended to pay my respects to Tolkien on my maiden literary voyage :)
    Risha- Thanks :D
    Well, it was (hopefully) a one-off incident,and yes,do stick to the metro and stay away from that place in all your future visits :)

    As Sheldon would say, live long and prosper :)

  12. Joy promised me a read that won't bore me when he directed me to this new blog. I might trust him more now. You've got yourself another reader. Keep them coming. Cheers!!

    you had me laughing at your plight. I am so sorry!

    Metros are the safest way to travel in Delhi. During my last internship thr, this is what i have learned.You write exceptionally well.

  14. That was so creepyyyyy.
    I travel in sharing autos too, but in Hyderabad.
    And they don't even have metros here :S

    Anyway, I like the way it ended, was funny. :P

  15. I am sad. No shooting. A story with a revolver and no shooting is worthless. Period.

    Haa. Kidding. Awesome post. And really scary if you havent exaggerated the bits.

    Andandand. I absolutely love your about me. Citizens of townville. Hahah. Nice.

  16. @Ark- Haha thanks, please do keep visiting and well, Joy should be trusted, even his bullshit is invaluable :)

    @Red Handed- Yes, metros are the best, especially now that they have six coach ones too,it might be funny, but nothing beats "Don't lie to your amma" four times in a row :D

    @Nia- Okay, the only place I exaggerated was "He stubbed out his cigarette"....thought it sounded slightly slick on his part. And yes I am a fan of those absolutely good for nothing Townsville citizens. Do keep visiting and thanks a lot :D

  17. @Ananya- yes, I mentioned I'm a wimp :P, thanks a lot for stopping by :)
    And isn't construction supposed to be on for the Hyderabad metro?

  18. Hahaha, I totally adore your sense of humor!

    Following your blog now!

  19. @HBL- Thanks a lot :D Do keep visiting, and I was reading yours too; you've got a new fan in me :D

  20. Duuuuuude awesome blog name! :P Great post, and awesometastic read :D

  21. holy shit. Creepy stuff. I don't hope to sound insensitive to the situation, but the description was really funny. Good stuff. :D

  22. Well, that was my intention :) It could have turned out to be much much worse :D

  23. Your narration was so gripping that I felt as if I watching some thriller and I kept hoping that it was fiction. Happy to know that they left you untouched but with a story to blog about :)
    Enjoyed reading it.

  24. Sh@s,I've tried to keep it funny but it was anything but humorous at that time. Maybe they did realise that I was nothing more than your usual financially broke check-shirted guy. And btw, there was no laptop in my bag, I was merely carrying a laptop bag :P Do keep visiting and thanks a lot for stopping by :D

  25. Hahahaha! This was epic LOL! :P

    I can relate, but I've only come across creeps who stare, and some who *seem* to take pictures in their phones, but you can never really tell. There was once a WOMAN who was staring at a friend and me CONSTANTLY! It was horrifying! All the best mate!

  26. Dark days, my friend .... Kya aadmi kya aurat :D Indeed,camera phones can be a nuisance, as are the Road Romeos. And the biggest problem in any city is that its very difficult for women to avoid those certified gits who seem to park themselves almost everywhere. Anyway, stay safe and thanks for the follow :) :)