The Delhi police force is an amazing entity. An average Delhi policeman can surprise the unsuspecting expat with his cavalier attitude in general, and the brutish treatment he is capable of delivering to perceived errant members of our society. He can at once behave like an illiterate goon and then smoothly change to smiles and suave menace next, maybe to extract a bribe!
To supplement such an exemplary sample of a police force, we have the hordes of pretty criminals on the streets. Delhi does not have its criminals running amok on the streets like maybe Mumbai. Criminals here lurk in the corners invisible to the naked eye. Only when you give a free run to your suspicions, that you notice the petty criminals teeming around you, like termites eating at way the chief of the city.
In this smorgasbord of law and order elements is the hapless expat. Some expats come here – already wise in the ways. Others get wise fast, having been thrust into this swirling mass of disorganized laws and the confused implementers of these laws. Most of them however either insulate themselves completely by paying enormous amounts for premium travel and stay, or get completely fleeced as they try to pit their intellect against the termites. And while they get cheated by the local hustler, the police enjoy the fun from a distance, engaging only if called upon! That is because unlike other places on Earth – the police here are always “called” by someone with a need. They have seemingly never done any proactive upholding of the law.
So advice for expats coming here during the Commonwealth Games 2010.
- At first do not trust anyone (and I average anyone). Except those that you know before or get to interact closely with, treat everyone as a hustler or smooth talker out to get your money fair method or foul.
- Do not trust the police either. They may be in “their pockets”! Many areas have cartels powerful enough to bend the law to meet their needs
- Keep phone numbers of embassy officials handy. Have a trusted friend or acquaintance ready, to provide you with tips in dealing with predicaments.
- Keep important belongings in safe places! Do not keep stuff strewn around you like in a beach party.
- Move fast in crowded areas and stay alert. Do not follow the “shopkeepers” into their “warehouses” at the back of the building! Be conscious of the circumstances around you at all times.
- Approach policemen only if absolutely necessary. They can be more a problem than a solution, so be careful about what you say when you approach them.
- Do not go for the “real cheap” deals. India is complete of frauds who pass of extremely low quality goods at prices which are marginally below normal. If the seller is giving a discount in excess of 50% on the MRP, the warning bells should start ringing!
- Avoid using public transport after ten in the night. At night only trust radio taxis and taxis provided by your hotel or place of accommodation.
There is a whole range of useful advice for the expats coming here during the games. I have outlined some of the noticeable ones above. For more information about how to conduct yourself while you are here, seek out a trustworthy person either in the embassy or in the organizing committee.