delhi heroes

We all divide cities into safe and unsafe zones in our heads. Meher Chand market has been a safe zone for me, until someone broken the rear window of the car, stole a bag and walked away right in front of many people who saw nothing. What’s more brazen was that the car was parked right across the Café Coffee Day, on the main square in a well lit and crowded area.

Anyway, after twenty minutes of going around and clueless asking around by local cops, we got a call that we could come and pick the bag from Peeragarhi. Never been to that part of Delhi, the place and the call seemed suspicious. But then the caller clarified that he is a civil defence officer stationed on the DTC buses and the bag was found unattended on the bus.

A ninety minutes drive later, part of which could form the opening sequence of a noir movie, we found ourselves at the West Enclave police station. A young police officer had the bag in his hand with the small, old, silver haired bus conductor by his side. They inspected the car, ooh aahed, asked us to check the bag and were too sweet to be real strangers that we are trained to suspect.

To complete the formalities, we went to another local police station where complaint could be filed. Seems there is a process under which such luggage have to be handed over at a police station, statements have to be noted and the conductor gets a stamped receipt that he has to submit at the DTC.

Everyone was super polite, the cops were soft spoken, the civil defence officer was visibly excited to be part of a good deed and we talked and joked. The cop took us into a dark corner, talked in hushed tones and inquired if I had any complaints against the conductor. I involuntarily burst out laughing and pointed out how absurd the question was. Seems that was the process. For the first time, the old conductor opened up, smiled and was probably relieved.

The cops at the earlier station had suggested that I write about the two good souls and that’s what I am doing now. As we were dropping them back to the bus depot for the last ride of the day, it was 10.30 in the night already, I suggested, as politely as I could, if I could buy some sweets, do something to help, anything at all; they were vehement in their denial, said ‘yeh hamara kartavya tha’ in very earnest tones and the old conductor touched our heads to bless, saying he has children as old as us.

There are good deeds, good people and we all have stories to share, then why this post? First, because I must share the good as readily as I share the bad. Second, I am really impressed and reassured by this civil defence staff on every bus policy which I never knew about and third, some people had mentioned that if I can write about them, may be, the govt will reward them for their rare honesty and effort. This is the little that I can do to pay back.

The conductor – Suresh Chand, Village: Mangeshpur, operates on the 970 4AC route.
The civil defence staff – Vijay Kumar.

I also have their phone numbers but would not share those so openly.