Monday, July 26, 2010

dined at almost Italian trattoria , got robbed, filed an FIR.

Most people know me as disaster queen. Such weird things happen to me. Touch wood. But I just have to have to document it here but before I get there I have to say it was just a sweet Sunday. 
Anyhow, I have discovered Flavours in Def Col. It is a lovely restaurant , with an outdoor section facing a park that really reminded me of Rome. 
The food was fairly authentic. C had pizza with goat cheese and grilled vegetables ,which was fabulous although they were a bit kunjoos with the goat cheese. I had Rigatone or whatever tube shaped pasta is called. Competent. 

Tragedy unfolded though when we decided to go to the Red Fort. Bright old me decides to take the metro. I haven't used the damn thing in like two months.I get on at Mandi House and before the inevitable security check, I zip my bag shut feeling so proud of how careful I am. As usual, the train is really crowded. Just before i was about to get off, I notice that my zip is a wee bit open. My heart freezes but I courageously walk out anyway. MY wallet , which is a fat 2 year old stuffed with silver earrings, thousands of business cards, cash , old bank receipts, kajal, store membership cards ,driving license, PAN card, photos, free movie tickets to a cinema in Noida, memories is gone. 

I have to gather myself. Just the previous day, I was admiring my lovely red wallet and marvelling at how long it had survived. Sufi slut dropped sambar on it  I just really love this allet so I was thinking about keeping it till it really falls to shreds. 

Now it was gone. I felt so sad and tried telling myself all sorts of LET GO , it is only material anyway lines but it didn't help. I called my dad and he asked me to go to the police station not because the Brilliant Delhi Police will find him but because the proof of loss will be one piece in the long Red Tape I have to sumbit to get a  new license/pan card. 

I vowed to do it later but I just needed a break from the crowds and since Red Fort was shut by this time, we made our way to Lodhi Gardens. I am continuously impressed by how SOME public parks are so well maintained in Delhi. It was great to see real wild life in abundance . Squirrels chasing each each other, parakeets at close quarters, parakeet pigeon wars for the perfect perch on that gorgeous mounument's window, the lush green and the picnic-ing families and making out couples. 

I had to of course finally confront my fear of the police station. We decided then to go to the Paharganj police station. My mind filled up with stories of custodial violence, and of an interview I did some years back with a dalit man ,Deliraj, who was randomly accussed of murder and beaten mercilessly and left with life long injuries. You know , how police stations are, they are stagnant , pregnant with ineffeciency, lethargy, the smell of urine, and Torture. 

I am instructed to write , with a pen , the details of my complaint.When I did so, I was escorted by the constable to meet the inspector. The constable asked me if the white boy with me was my companion(saathi), where I lived, what I was doing at Paharganj etc. 

When I reached the inspectors' office, he asked me to wait and I waited in all for about an hour. 

We were waiting in the waiting room which also doubled up as the office of fat , ununiformed constable,Parveen Chand, who in the whole duration of my stay there ( and I realise this in retrospect after C told me) didn't take his eyes off me. He kept asking me personal questions about where I live. I kept telling him that I live in South Delhi, not wanting to give details, obviously. 
In between, I got into a long conversation with him about the 'atankhwadis'' photos pasted on the bulletin board, Abu Salem etc. I asked him so many questions that he asked me if I was a journalist. 

He asked me again(in retrospect flirtatiously) where I live. I said that I live in South Delhi. He said "ok , ok , but here in Paharganj , where do you live? Which hotel?''

I was kind of exasperated now because none of this has anything to do with my FIR. I told him for the last time that I came to Paharganj to shop. 

During this whole process, the inspector walked in and out with very minor questions on my CLEARLY filled out application form, each time, promising that I will get my report copy in ten minutes. 

So this man , the fat constable, tells me that he will give me stories and that I should take his number. You never know when such a thing can be useful, so I agreed. This man, Parveen Chand,then told me a long elaborate story. " I found a coke bottle , sealed with flies in it." Confused look from me. " See , there was a seal , and there were two mosquitoes in it." Confused look. 

"Haan so , I had gone to the Videocon building and I told them about it, " Confused look. " You know, the Aaj Tak office is there?"

So , that was his idea of a news scoop. But it was all getting really surreal for me now, coated with the commonwealth of dust from the Paharganj market, the silent Hindi less C next to me. (Yey Russian hain?)

"Give me your number , he said., Parveen Chand." I lied about not having enough balance to give  a missed call. He insisted about 5 times that I give him my number anyway. I was so exhausted by this point that I had to will to fight. I said ok and read out number carefully like it was dictation at school . ( I don't remember my number, I have it saved as 'Me'. 

At this point, C , starts screaming at me asking me why I gave him my number in front of Parveen Chand. 

The Inspector finally walked in and asked me to write my address. I promptly wrote down my entire address, complete with landmarks , like for an invitation to tea. Half an hour passes and then the inspector walks in again to say that the computer isn't working so he cannot give me a FIR copy. 

I instead write down my whole complaint with pen on paper and get him to stamp it. 

Ultimately, the scariest thing, which C put in my head is this. The police know everything about me.  

Images from Getty Images


Punit said...

Police Station ... the place u r always scared off!..

I think the most scary thing is the baffling questions, which shudders ones trust & make us feel that we are at wrong place ...

But you prove out to be brave n smart ..

m sure this incident has changed your perception towards Police Stations ....

Y? said...

YA LIKE the time you almost got me arrested for something I did fine
by myself. travelling ticket less on first class. Anyway, I like your new photo pic blog soon please.

oof ya! said...

you are very brave to have gone to a police station. that is my opinion.