By Priyanka Khot
Traditionally Delhiites have never ranked too high when scored on the civic sense parameters. However, I would like to come forth in their defence. During the recent rains in the city I concluded that they are the most considerate of the bunch and found the aphorism “Dilli Dilwalon Ki” absolutely true. The rains helped me see the fellow Delhiites at their benevolent best.
The recent unexpected rains caught me, like most others, unprepared to battle the wrath of thunderstorms on my way to office. The auto-rickshaw driver, an integral part of the hierarchy that defines Delhi, was in a good mood and gracious enough, after a mere 10 minutes of haggling, to charge me only 100 rupees to take me to a distance that would by metre charge just 60 rupees. It was when he finally said "chaliye madam" that I was confident that the good karmas of my last birth were paying off. Once inside the auto-rickshaw I was off to la la land and started planning an Ayurvedic spa treat for myself during the coming weekend. At that moment my heart was filled with gratitude for the auto-rickshaw driver and my mind was busy focusing on the weekend.
My reverie was shattered as a speeding white Honda Civic zoomed adjacent to my royal ride soaking me completely with the loudest splash ever. Initially, I almost felt that I had committed a crime by having a bath before leaving for office and wasting so much of water. After sense prevailed it dawned on me that I should have anticipated the magnanimity of the fast car drivers to give me a mud-bath that would be better than the spa treat I was planning. It turned out to be the one that I would never forget. At the risk of repeating myself - Delhiites are a considerate lot and this particular one did not want me to spend a fortune on mud-packs or similar luxuries. The mud bath that soaked me from the tip of my hair to the toes, boasted of ingredients that no Ayurvedic spa could promise. This oh-so-unique mud-bath included the rain water, a mixture of cement + red sand + silt + animal and human excreta, and roadside liquid donations made by the male species inhabiting the city. The considerate Delhiite decided that when all the raw materials were abundantly available on the roads why not treat me, the Delhi darling, to an innovative mud-bath.
By this time my faith had been reinstated in the theory that a heart of gold is set in the anatomy of all Delhiites. Just then the auto-rickshaw driver also decided not to leave any stone unturned to cement my faith. Just at the confluence of rain-water, gutter effluence and public urination booth discharge he declared that he would go no further. Following a ten-minute bout of formal talks, I conceded defeat. Thanked him for bringing me close to the office and braved the floods with the residue of the mud-bath still clinging on my clothes, a smile on my face and admiration for Delhiites in my heart.