New Delhi, Like almost all metropolitan cities of the world, Delhi too has a very distinct flavour to it. The flavour of it’s immigrants. People who throng here from all parts of the country in search of livelihood and a better life than they have in their native places. Essentially a city of paradoxes, Delhi has many colours to it.
Delhi that was a city of Moguls turned into one of the capitals of Raj being ruled by none other than the queen Victoria of the England. And after partition and independence of India it turned over night into a hub of Punjabis and other immigrants including Seraikis, Multanis, Sindhi etc. from across the border and that changed the flavour of Delhi giving a very strong Punjabi tinge to it. But during the last part of twentieth century and the first decade of twenty first century, the flavour of Delhi has strongly taken a turn towards a heady strong Hindi flavour, sprinkled by natives of Bihar arriving in huge numbers in search of better opportunities and modern life.
The political scenario in Bihar has taken it’s toll on the safe environment, especially for women of the state. Parents of young women feel that their girls are safer in the national capital living on their own than in their home towns living under their patronage. That tells a lot about our rural India at large.
There are many reasons to it. The political scenario in Bihar has taken it’s toll on the safe environment, especially for women of the state. Parents of young women feel that their girls are safer in the national capital living on their own than in their home towns living under their patronage. That tells a lot about our rural India at large.
The novel ‘hum sab mahee’ (हम सब माही) written by Abhishek Kashyap is a landmark book written on the subject. In this book Abhishek talks about the escapades from perils of living in a land that is infested by politics and petty crimes in the worst possible way.
The novel begins with the mundane life a youth living in a rented apartment of south Delhi’s middle class society that is thriving with such immigrants, who are new to the metropolitan and are in the process of learning the ropes.
They get up in the mornings to bring milk in plastic packets from mother dairy booths rather than the milk delivered by the quintessential milkman at their doorstep early in the morning. A contrast from their homeland. They cook their eggs in small claustrophobic kitchenettes and sleep till late on Sundays and other holidays. Another contrast form their rural or semi-rural backgrounds. Their lives in the offices and colleges too are not easy ones.
But they survive and thrive with élan despite all odds. Life in metropolitan is easier than their native places. At least the discrimination at every level by the virtue of their caste is not prevalent here. You get what you deserve here.
The opportunities for jobs are aplenty. Your personal life is totally your personal life. Nobody peeps through your windows. But the loneliness of metropolitan life eats into these immigrants’ souls and hearts too like everywhere else. They form relationships like everywhere people do.
They get into open relationships. They indulge in live in relationships that turn ugly with the passage of time and there are unnamed beautiful relationships too that happen to be the strong footholds that carry them through the turbulence of modern lives that they are destined to live here amidst all the opportunities and possibilities.
And here comes the unsettling case of a girl Maahi, migrated from Chandigarh. And our protagonist falls in love with her. A strange relationship that starts from a physical encounter turns into a beautiful bond. Later the tragic murder of Maahi totally destroys our young man that makes him sit down and forces him to understand his adventures with life in a better light.
He knows he will never be able to overcome this trauma of his life. He is visiting his parents at the time and rushes back immediately. Gradually he is able to settle himself a little in way that he is able to return to the turmoil of his metropolitan life one more time in due course of time. Knowing well that this is the life he had chosen long back for himself. He knows now that there is no escape for anyone from their very own destinies of life.
A highly powerful book that makes you read it in a singe sitting the first time around and then after a few days it haunts you to open it again and read. This time digesting as you go along. Slowly and diligently.