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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My brush with a group of eunuchs

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Have you dealt with a group of eunuchs hell bent on extorting money from you? I had to deal with a group of them few days back. I am narrating my experiences.

Hijda, as they are commonly called in Hindi, move around in groups, looking for victims which they can extort on the pretext of some auspicious occasion, like birth of a child or buying a house. This is very common in North India. I had seen that in Dehradun, but not in Delhi. As soon I had move to my newly acquired flat at Kaushambi, which is just across the Delhi border, I had realized that they have free reign in UP as well.

The group had come in search of me thrice. When they finally met me last Sunday, I first tried to dissuade them. There were three of them, accompanied by two fellows with dholak or drum. Two were quite aged and were well behaved. There was a young one who was threatening to take off cloths every now and then. This frightened my wife and little daughter. I told them to get inside the inner room and not to come out. It becomes clear that they will not go away or creating a ruckus. Thus I had to pay. I sat on the floor, face to face with one of the aged Hijda. They started their bargaining from 11000. I was told that people in the society had cough upto 5001. They think big. I started with 100. The bargaining went on for at least an hour. Many a times I lost temper, specially at the antics of the young Hijda who were threatening to take off cloths. I just stopped sort of saying him to dance naked if he/she wants. Despite that I kept my cool. The demand had come down to 3001 by then. It has almost been an hour. Finally I felt that it had gone too long and got rid of them by paying 2001. One of the aged Hijda told me before leaving that ‘tune mujhse bahut bulwaiya’ (You made me speak for a long time).

Most people pay fearing the curse of Hijdas. I do not believe in the curse. Other pays to avoid the ruckus they create. I paid thinking about safety of my family as I would not be there all the time to defend them. It is a new place and my wife will have to pick the kid when the school bus drops. Thus I become a helpless victim of Hijda extortion.

When confronted later, the guards say they are helpless as the Hijdas would not heed to their words. But what surprises me is that how they can pinpoint the exact flat where a new tenant has come. The most likely informer has to be the guard/s. I will have to take it up when the Residents Welfare Society meets next time. But we had fully understood our entry into a lawless place, though barely 1 KM from Delhi. Living here will be certainly a different experience then in Patparganj.

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posted by Rupankar Mahanta at 6:05 PM

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