Delhi, a city that has been my makaan for the past 5 years now. I say makaan and not ghar because there are times when I don’t take pride in the fact that I live in Delhi. When some random relative or distance acquaintance says – ‘So you have settled in Delhi?’, I am quick to defend -‘No, no. I just work there.’ Ah.
And then there are times when I find this city so beautiful and inviting. Its lush gardens, tree-lined boulevards, the history, the monuments, its aesthetic sense, it’s affinity to culture. So in a sense, there’s always this turmoil going on inside – live in Delhi, or not? What paradox, isn’t it?
If given a chance, what would I change in Delhi, I sit back and reflect.
Quite rhetoric this is. But yes, like every Indian, I want to push for a safer Delhi. Like every Indian, I want to take pride in the capital of my country. And if that has to happen, there’s a need to ensure that it’s big and small streets are safe – not just for women, but for every common citizen. Much has been written about Nirbhaya and her unfortunate death. But there are so many Nirbhayaas that go unreported, there are so many girls who live in perpetual fear of becoming another Nirbhaya. We need to change this. And yes, the onus is on us too. We too have to become more aware, more self-reliant rather than always expecting the government to ensure our safety.
South Delhi is beautiful. Tree lined boulevards, spaced out roads, well planned housing societies, lush gardens and greenery everywhere. Why can’t the rest of Delhi be as green, or may be even more, why not. My manifesto for the city would push for a greener Delhi, not just on paper, but on the grounds too. Tree plantation drives, big and small parks depending on the area available and awareness campaigns to make people more tree friendly.
Roads or Spittoons?
This one tops the list of the my pet peeves. No matter how many instructions you put up saying ‘Yahaan thookna mana hai’, your average dilliwaallah will not budge. Not at all. Drive in an auto, and at every traffic stop, the first thing he is likely to do is spit his paan out, or probably cough out a deluge of snot. People please the roads are us to walk/drive on, it’s not your spittoon! How unsightly (oh, of course, obviously)!
Pissing in Public! Why?
‘Yahaan peshaab karna mana hai’. Walls lined with tiles of sundry gods and goddess. Lines full of profanity, warning you to not to piss on a particular wall. But nothing works. Nothing really works for the Delhi man. If he wants to relieve himself, he will do it wherever he wants. Despite the many sulabh shochalayas, his favourite haunt is a wall. The wall is his bathroom. No amount of admonishing can refrain him from spraying his bladder out on a wall. My manifesto for Delhi will push for strict fines and punishments for those found pissing in public. Unless and until there’s no strict stand taken on this, bringing a change in this attitude of everything goes would remain a challenge.
Beggars and Buggers
Stop at a traffic signal and you will be accosted by not just beggars asking for alms, but also buggers bugging you to buy anything from a pirated copy of a best seller novel to a cheap perfume bottle. Then there would be those perpetually pregnant women asking for money to help with the delivery expenses, little kids doing random entertainments acts, and those amputees with fake blood oozing out of their wounds. I am afraid I might be sounding insensitive here, but these scenes experienced on a daily basis have stubbed out my sensitive nerve. Most of the beggars are a part of gangs – they do not want paltry amount of 10 bucks, and moreover if you refuse to offer help, they are quick to hurl abuses. Yes sir. My Delhi manifesto will ensure that they go off the roads soon. Enough of this menace.
This is just the first draft of my manifesto, a basic outline of the changes I would love to bring about. There are many other issues too – honour killings, encroachment, littering, neglect of many a historical monuments, traffic violations – let me delve into these issues some other time. For now, I will be happy if these basic grouses are dealt with and addressed in an effective manner.