DelhiThere is something about Delhi, they say, that makes you fall in love with it. Especially for someone who has been born and brought up the dilwaalon ki dilli, thinking of settling down anyplace else, sends shivers down my spine. All those friends of mine who have had to leave this city as they got a comfortable job in other, equally flourishing metros, a month away from home has been enough to set the manly men crying and brave women pining. Undoubtedly, the city has more than just India Gate and Khan Market to make you love it.

When my sister from Mumbai asks me, “What is so great about your Delhi? Bombay is just as good enough!” I can give her an hour long lecture. Basically it boils down to “Any other place will not make me as comfortable as I am here!”

I might be biased to a great extent, but let me point out some solid reasons

1. No language problem. My mother tongue is not Hindi, but I am quite fluent in the language (by my standards). Even those who have come from non hindi speaking states find little to no difficulty in adjusting here. Shopkeepers generally smile and make you laugh too when you point out to something and name it in your language. Even the rickshaw wallah is happy to blabber out a few words in English and make you at ease.

2. I don’t love the weather, but I also don’t hate it. The erratic and unpredictable weather suits me and my temperament. Summers are like dry deserts, winters are like the North Pole, and rainy season is just as muddy and dirty as could be.

3. The variety and the fondness is unimaginable. At every corner you will find a Punjabi, a Bihari, a Bengali and Madrasi huddled together, enjoying a cup of chai. The variedness of religions and ethnicities is impressive and awe inspiring. In no other place can you find unity in diversity so well exemplified. And there is something for everyone. Delhi is not partial to any one language or religion or taste. It is like a mini India in itself.

4. The hub and heart of all things, Delhi. For someone who likes to have some quiet evening but more of happening ideas and action all around, the idea of an overly peaceful city is not tempting. Delhi is where the action is. From politics to business, technology to philosophy. You will never miss out on anything in this city.

….. And that is where things have been going wrong.

Lately, the only thing my Dilwalon ki Dilli has been in news is for the mind numbing, heinous, brutal rape cases. Damini, the 23 year old girl who had had a beautiful evening with her friend met with those monsters on the bus to hell. How can anyone do such a thing to a living being, be it a man or a woman, I shuddered to think. I avoid buses anyhow for the unhappy incidents I have been through on them previously. But this one incident has almost made bus travel a taboo for me. Delhi Metro is the only public transport I use. And now, the five year old girl who has met with a monster at such a tender age.

Then there are those debates and discussions I hear over coffee – What about those men who feel “provoked” by a woman’s clothes or her being alone at night? How can someone cure them and their thinking?

As I raise my voice to say that there is but only one cure, and that is to educate these young men when their minds are tender, my mind recalls those cases where well educated men, of sound mind and honorable jobs have fallen to the levels to commit equally heinous crimes against women.

This little girl, who we are calling Gudiya, was she dressed provocatively, I ask? Did she roam around with a “boyfriend” that is so against your moral and cultural beliefs sir? No, her only crime was she was born as a girl, in this country.

With each day as the rape cases being reported in the NCR region, Delhi is slowly crowned the “crime capital”, and I, a citizen of this country can but only agree to the dishonor and shame.

The fear among family, friends and well wishers rise each day. “Is a girl safe in this forbidden city of shame?” they ask? And I have, but no answer for them.

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