Disillusioned – “Kya Yeh Zamana Kharab Hai?”

Yesterday [7th May 2013], It was the 3rd Time in my life, that I was trending on Twitter, some saw it as creating panic, some saw it, that I was just trying to raise a ruckus for no rhyme or reason, and some saw this as a publicity stunt, but what happened, and why it happened, needed an introspection from my end, though I managed to break a finger, got into a fist fight, had my shirt torn open, and surrounded by 20 goons who were out for my blood, I look back at it, and wonder Kya Yeh Zamaana Kharaab hai (Is this world really bad?)

I live in South Delhi, to be Precise, on the Ring Road, in Lajpat Nagar 3, I was born here, started my first company here, and still live here, though over the years, the property prices on the Ring Road, have shot up, and vested interest for some land owners on the Ring Road, led to rampant commercialisation [Both legal and illegal] to happen on our road, the RWA over the years got split, some wanted that their property’s become worth 100’s of Crores so that they could call it a day, sell it off, put the money in the bank and put their feet up in the air at the beaches of Goa, while soem of us still recall the old days, where you could even play cricket on the roads, and this was a peaceful place to live, but those days are gone by.

My House on one side is surrounded by a Famous Eatery in Delhi, that has caused major headaches, and a bank on the other side, there is even a Clinic that my aunt runs at my house, and a clinic at the Adjacent house that my nephew runs, so I am not sure if we are also a part of the commercialisation, but that is not the debate to the things.

Commercialisation brings 2 things, (a) employees who come by various mode of transports, and some need parking (b) visitors that need parking, and parking at this time in Delhi is something that has managed to become a priced possession, and I don’t recall where I read it, but there have been a lot of RWA [Resident Welfare Association] battles fought over parking.

At My House we ensure that there is a driver to help you park, and there are people who would help you manage parking outside, though a parking operation runs outside my house, which we have never been able to find out, who runs it, or where is the licence, as the stretch for parking is reserved for just outside Haldiram, but you can find a parking attendant standing everywhere and ask for money, if you ask them to show an ID card, or their licence to manage parking, you are roughed up, even down to this, that now we have 2 Beat Officers sitting on a bench, making sure no one leaves the parking without paying their share, is this a part of the parking Mafia?

If One goes to the MCD website, and looks up the Parking, it shows that the Parking is unallocated, though I would leave that to web masters maybe not updating. Anyway, moving forward.. since that is not what is at Agenda.

So down 10 Houses from my house, is a Mahindra Dealership, called Koncept Auto, typically they park their cars outside their Dealership on a Road wide enough for a single car to pass by, and there is a squabble each day there, though Mahindra’s staff manages this, yesterday was a day where we were just taken by surprise, at roughly 3:00 PM while I was leaving for a meeting from my place, I saw a number of New Cars, without registration parked on both sides of the road, including outside the Gate to my house and the Adjacent house, a call to Koncept Auto on Phone Number 4678 7777 was answered by a pretty rude person, who in his not so kind words had to say

we are not removing these cars, if you have a problem, call the police

A following call to the Delhi Traffic Helpline at 258-44-44-44 at approximately 3:30 or so, which lasted 6 minutes had me explain to them what was happening, and I was told that they would send someone, but since the lane is really what is called a service lane, in Hindi “Colony ke andar ka rasta hai”, then they would not do anything about it, and the matter would have to be reported to the Local Police station by calling 100.

A follow up call by my Wife, had someone turn up from the Police department, and got about 5 odd cars removed out of the 20 – 30 that were parked initially and left…

2013-05-07 18.37.44

At around 6PM When I reached home, the Road was blocked, the Cars were still parked on both the sides of the Road, and I could not turn my car inside my house, a Beat Officer was on duty walking by and I requested him to intervene, and the answer came

Call Traffic Police, I can’t do anything

On a Number of Requests, he asked me to send someone to the Mahindra Dealership and request them to come, I did send my Driver, and he got along 2 People, to remove the cars, and this was the start of you said, I said.

 

Now in an Incident, leading to a Heated Argument, there are enough things said, that don’t have to be said, the Gentleman [A sales person from Koncept, I am to understand], was abusive, and Said, we have paid for this parking, we will not move, the Police man requested them to move the cars, and the people were on First Name basis, which surprised me, but the cars did not move, on a request, that My driver and I could move the cars, abusiveness of the gentleman man from the Dealership started, and he flung to grab Harpreet [You know her as @meangeekchick on twitter], and I stepped him and held him back, my shirt tore open, and a fist fight started, suddenly out of nowhere, I was surrounded by 20 odd people, from the Dealership, trying to beat us up, someone called the Police station about the Squabble, and we had police suddenly all around

2013-05-07 18.50.10

 

The Police arrived on the Scene, and I was asked to move in, as the goons were looking for my blood, since the Police inaction was there for the last 2+ Hours, I went on twitter and was tweeting side by side, with @anandmahindra’s twitter id in tow, who was to know what was to happen, as an average citizen, all I wanted was to protect myself.

 

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A Few minutes later, the Crowd became bigger, and bigger, tweets were running in all directions, and people were reaching out to Mr. Mahindra to do something, and suddenly we are told, that we are to be Arrested, and Harpreet and I were to goto the police station, at the Police station, we were given two options

 

1. We lock you and your Wife Up inside the lockup, with these guys and you settle it amongst you

2. You settle it outside the police station and give us a compromise statement, as we are very busy

My Brother reached the station, and I got a few calls from my family members to compromise, after all that was the sane thing to do, knowing that the POLICE is not on your Side, but on the DEALERS side, after all they were on first name basis, knowing that you don’t want to spend a night inside the cell because you have responsibilities that you need to attend to, and not with people thirsty for your blood.

Roughly at about 7:30 PM The matter was settled as a compromise, my look back at twitter had people calling me a Gossip, to Hungry for News, to people asking Mr. Mahindra to step in. Tweets from friends and well wishers went out saying, we live in a Country run by goons, and I should not give up the fight, after all I was asking for my rights only, and reminding a Dealership that they can’t do this.

Around 8PM I got an SMS saying, that someone from Mahindra Corporate should be in touch with me, roughly at 2PM when I finish this blog post, I have not heard from them. Though around 8 PM I did get a call from Someone called Mr. Toophan that he is the Group CEO and he was not aware of what happened, and would like to come and see me in the morning.

Right now, I believe I have 2 of my fingers broken, typing is a Pain, and writing this with assistance and voice over text, the day looks lousy and traumatic, I did get a visit by Mr. Toophan saying how he loved us as neighbours and I had his unconditional apology, and an underlying statement, that let us know what we can do.

When I reminded him that this was not done out of publicity, or for any other reason, there was a smirk on the phone, sharing some pictures that I took of the Dealership last night, using the Footpaths, and Bus Stops as their Parking spots, taking away right of way of a Pedestrian, he assured me this will not happen in the future.

 

Lessons Learnt: 

1. Make sure you involve people on Social Media, to get a sense of direction and help

2. Don’t loose faith, try to avoid any arguments on the road, as you may just get injured

3. Try to turn a blind eye, and be forgiving, or you will not be able to forget the incident

4. The Police is not on your side, they will first fight on jurisdiction, then fight on who’s side they are on, and then tell you that they are busy, and have better things to do

5. IF your neighbourhood is becoming commercial, try to move away, and don’t live in the old world, that you have lived here all your life

6. Remember, that you are the fool in all this, not the brand that is breaking the law, or the officials who run civil services

 

At the end of the day I am disillusioned, spending all my life trying to give back to society, both in my social responsibility  and by creating jobs as an entrepreneur, making sure I spread love, and peace to the people I touch [not saying, I don’t loose my temper ever, I do, I am human], I feel disillusioned, if India is really the country where I want to live, the law seems to have disappeared. But then running away is easy, fighting it and having it resolve is tougher, and I am for now, choosing to fight it, give it my best, and help solve a problem, whether that is something that Directly impacts me today or will in the future, or something that won’t impact me at all.

I am no activist, neither am I an idealist, but what I will not accept is being told, that Sab Chalta hai bhai, Yeh Zamaana Kharab Hai!

 

Reference [1] : Parking Site at Haldiram that seems to be allocated by MCD 

Reference [2]: Lookup Parking Sites on MCD website

 

Is this all, well no, there were a lot of things said and unsaid, but then that is for another day

 

Post Script: Reference Images from Last Night, where Mahindra Cars were parked on The Footpath, and the Bus Shelter. I have an assurance from Mr. Toophan that this will not be done, the assurances include

1. No cars will be parked outside their own designated area

2. No Cars will be washed using Hoses and water wasted

3. Bus Stop will not be used for parking cars, selling accessories, and fit outs

4. Footpath will not be used to park cars

 

2013-05-08 00.04.43 2013-05-08 00.04.24 2013-05-08 00.04.13 2013-05-08 00.03.56 2013-05-08 00.03.42

 

Comments

  1. You are a brave man, Gagan.

    I live on another Ring Road, the outer one, in Panchshila Park. We, too, have been fighting the evils of unplanned commercialisation. In this case, we have a Max Clinic next to us. I, too, have lost my shirt with them several times, though not as literally as you!

    It took several years of persistence, meetings with their Admin Manager, etc, and now – by and large – the parking is quite civil.

    However, there is a clear nexus between those who need parking for commercial purposes and the government, and the businessman – large or small – will tell you he has ‘paid for it’.

    When a Member of the Railway Board is willing to pay for a post and the Railway Minister’s proxy collects, what do you expect of ‘thanedars’.

  2. You are brave & were pro-active. I can abso understand this increasing commercialisation in residential areas. I live in the lane wd is B’bay’s auto-spare parts mkt. My journalism is of zero value in my life & lane. Haftas of lakhs of rs arr sent on weekly basis. Mu childhood friend & I are the lone voices demanding discipline. Me without a car so treated much worse.

    Pt is why should we leave? Why can’t there be civil &decent behaviour respecting 1st right of the residents? It is a tough battle

  3. So as long as the dealership doesn’t shut down I’m not sure which of your points can be addressed. To run a dealership in South Del the guy has to keep dozens of cars in stock. While he could rent a yard on the outskirts of delhi or noida unless he has maybe a dozen outlets in delhi the investment required will not match his margins. Especially when he can muscle his way through.

    And if he has to keep those cars nearby he has to park in whatever public area, wash them etc.

    And to believe that Mr. M doesn’t understand or know this is to insult his intellect.

    Given that an eatery runs next door, and two clinics run that you are party to we all are probably sinners to the society. Each sins to his need and to his ability to muscle. And each acts holier than thou. You will fight for your right of space and your right to do business as will the lala who runs K cars and the bigger chap Mr. M

    So like all most of my “pointless” ramblings…I summarize with…This is the Law of the Jungle…

    Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell were men who understood the future much better than we do today.

  4. Definitely not surprised to hear this as this is not the first and i am sure this will also not be the last. Its on occasions such as these that you actually realise that at time no matter what you do with the best of you intentions, there will always be a bunch of people waiting to act as cynical lunatics.

    Its a fake consolation under the pretext of hope and optimism that administration will change with our persistent efforts in a country where only two things work – money or power. I am keen to know if the so active Mr. Mahindra did take some serious action or was it just the side kicks who got more anxious to see his name get involved and decided to step in.

  5. well I believe that we do not have a choice but to live with all this and much more ….
    Anyways as I have been made to believe that we are headed to a situation ( rather almost there ) where water and space would be the only reasons for fights in Delhi ……..