By LB THAPA, lately in Delhi, FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM

‘Watch out, there are pickpocketers everywhere in Delhi. They can steal your shoes from your feet and you don’t know’, said our tour guide on Delhi Darshan bus

Without doubt, over the years Delhi has made impressive advancements. Modern colleges and universities have produced many skilled manpower for the country.

However, I am speaking about one kind of highly skilled manpower that Delhi has today are not produced by any college or university of Delhi.

Want to know them? Well, they are the great PICKPOCKETERS of Delhi. The world should respect their skill. They say it ‘haat ki safai’ (skill of hands). These self-proclaimed pickpocketers say they are the best in the world.    

The story below you are about to read is what I experienced myself during my recent Delhi tour.

MY RECENT DELHI VISIT

Photo: millenniumpost.in

Recently I was on a tour to India with different purposes. My first destination was Delhi. The bus I had boarded from Pokhara to Delhi, reached Delhi at 9 o’clock night—three hours late than its scheduled time 5-6 pm. The bus service provided by Modern Era Torus & Travel was disgusting and I swore never to travel by it next time.

The bus left the passengers at Jahangirpuri, not a recognized bus park. I took a tempo and reached to Dhaula kuwa and from there I was picked up to home. Monica, my sister-in-law in Delhi, did arrange an e-ticket for Delhi Darshan (Delhi sightseeing).

During my stay in Delhi, I saw many people using mobile and laptops for day-to-day transactions. May be the effort of Modi ji’s demonetization to digitization the young India seems to have already jumped on the bandwagon.

DELHI DARSHAN BY A GUIDED TOUR BUS

This bus had taken us for Delhi sightseeing. Photo: LB Thapa

It was 10 o’clock in the morning and our bus was getting ready for the Delhi Sightseeing from Delhi Metro Station. The term ‘Delhi Darshan’ is more common among the people than Delhi Sightseeing. Before the driver sets out for the tour, an old man, the tour guide, entered the bus and gave briefing about the tour.

‘Take care of your wallets, bags, watches and other belongings. There are pickpocters everywhere in Delhi. These notorious people are so skilled in their trade that they will steal shoes from your feet and you don’t know. Listen carefully, if your wallets are gone then I will not stop the bus to find the pickpocketer”, he abruptly stopped speaking, perhaps he wanted to speak more but he started coughing hard.

I saw the effect of his warning speech was imminent. Many men and women began transporting their wallets in more secured places. On that very day, I happened to leave my wallet at home but I had a five hundred rupee note and that was enough for the day. I drank a bottle of water and relaxed in my seat.

The bus stopped nearby India Gate. The tour guide shouted at the top his voice “30 minutes only”. The passengers began walking briskly towards the India Gate. The India Gate is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath.

IN MANY HISTORIC PLACES IN DELHI HAVE NO PUBLIC WASHROOMS

Many of them took out their mobiles and began capturing the image of the monument. However, I was not looking at India Gate at that moment of time. I was desperate to find washroom because I wanted to pee. I looked everywhere but could not find a washroom.

Then I turned to the driver and asked him if he could tell me where was washroom. “No washroom. Go behind the parking lot, hide yourself behind the bus and fire”, he said and continued chatting with his friends. I had no options but to follow his instruction. Every passing second the pressure was mounting and I was becoming more restless. I had no choice but to do it anyway.

I did not feel good but anyway it was nature’s call and no power on earth can stop such things. Later, I found there was really no washroom around the India gate. There was not a single mobile washroom either at least when I was there. Same was the story at Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi who was cremated there.

Without doubt, lovely places but where is washroom? No washroom! I saw some people by stealing the eyes of the policemen, directing their tools on the outside walls of Raj Ghat…disgusting but true!

It was Monday and Red Fort and Lotus temple were closed. We had to satisfy by taking their pictures from the outside boundary of the fort. The bus left us at the main gate of the Red Fort. The departing advice of our tour guide was ‘take care of your wallet’ and the next moment the bus disappeared into the dense smoke of Delhi’s pollution.

I was instructed to take bus number 729 to go to Dhaula Kunwa. From Dhaula Kunwa I would be taken to home. In the meantime, I saw a man stood nearby me. I immediately recognized him, because he was on the same bus, which took us for Delhi Darshan (Delhi Sightseeing).

He was also going to Dhaula Kunwa. He advised me to sit for a while, as it would take some time for the bus to come. ‘There are a few buses on this route to Dhaula Kunwa’, he said confidently. His name was Raj Shekhar who came to Delhi from Lucknow some five years ago. He was working in an IT company in Noida.

We had nearly spent half an hour chatting with each other and soon became good friends. When I told him that I came from Nepal, he was even more kind to me. We reciprocated our emails and facebook IDs.

He also reminded me to take care of my wallet. ‘Keep your wallet inside the front jacket, to be on the safe side’, he advised. However, I saw he kept his wallet on his back pocket. I told him that I did not have wallet as I had forgotten at home. However, I asked him why he did not keep his wallet inside the front jacket.

Upon this he said, ‘I have spent five years in Delhi and now I’m much experienced. No hands can reach up to my pocket. I will catch them before their hands reaching to my pocket.’ I really appreciated his self-confidence and alertness.

HIS WALLET WAS PICKED UP IN LESS THAN 10 SECONDS

The bus came and we got on the bus. We were continuously chatting on the bus as well. Then all of a sudden, my friend stopped talking. I felt little awkward at his silence. Anyway, I thought to carry on the chat. I started talking with him but every time his response was unenthusiastic. In the meantime, the bus reached Dhaula Kunwa and we got down from the bus.

‘I have noticed that your mood is bit off and you don’t look very comfortable as you were before getting on the bus. Is there anything wrong?’ I asked him inquisitively. He still looked uncomfortable and with much hesitation, he broke the silence. He asked me some money.

‘I just want three hundred rupees; I have still some money. I promise you tomorrow morning I will come to your residence to return your money’ he said nervously. I had no problem to give him money but I wanted to know why his mood changed all of a sudden. 

When I persisted he said, ‘Actually someone picked my pocket while I was talking with you on the bus and now I don’t have enough money to go to Noida’. I was so surprised by knowing that his pocket had been picked while we were talking on the bus…amazing!

I gave him money but he asked me my address so that he could return the money the following day. I politely refused to give him my address because I had morning flight to Kathmandu. In the meantime, Virat, my brother’s son, gave me a horn from the other side of the road and asked me to get in the car.

‘Money is not a matter as I have made a nice person as my friend in Delhi. Next time when I come to Delhi then we will have lunch together at your apartment for sure’ I said with a broad smile on my face.

He smiled back at me and we departed.

LB Thapa, the blogger

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