Lying on the grass, he is looking up at the sky. There are no stars to be seen yet. The evening’s gathering darkness, however, is bringing the surrounding skyscrapers into closer focus. Nimish Singh, 23, is searching for a job. I met him on the park above Palika Bazaar in Connaught Place.
“Delhiites are rascals,” says Singh. “Everyone is selfish. If you ask for directions, they won’t tell you.” A native of Moga, a town in Punjab, Singh has been living in the city for two months. He is looking for work, but not finding it. “Last year I finished my engineering from Jalandhar. But in Delhi they are offering me positions in call centers. I don’t want to work in them.”
Just then the phone rings. “My girlfriend,” Singh says. “Haan, Monika. Are we meeting? OK… No, first I will go home, freshen up and then let’s meet. Come to my place… See you then.”
Singh is living in an apartment in Pandav Nagar, a neighbourhood near Akshardham Mandir. His girlfriend lives in the same locality. She, too, is from outside Delhi and had bumped into him two weeks ago while looking for an apartment. They exchanged phone numbers. Later, she visited him at his place, had sex and got the relationship going.
“Before coming to Delhi, I stayed in Chandigarh for few months,” says Singh. Chandigarh is the administrative capital of Punjab. “There are so many pubs there. Girls are frank and broad-minded and people live their individual lives. You earn on your own, you live on your own... not possible in Moga. But Delhi is even more fast than Chandigarh.”
As of now, Singh’s father is funding his sojourn in the Capital. “Dad calls me up once a week. He asks me if I’m eating well and things like those. I tell him to send money and that’s that.”
In school, Singh wanted to be a boxer. “It all changed when I left home to do my engineering. College life is different. You lose focus. I made friends. We would drink beer, watch movies and chase girls. The dream of being a boxer was forgotten. Now I want to be rich. I want to have a job. But you need to know somebody influential.”
Earlier in the day, Singh went to a bar in Karol Bagh and ordered tandoori chicken and beer. After finishing the meal, he went out, telling the steward that he was going for a smoke since cigarette smoking was banned in the bar. He then took an auto and came to Connaught Place, without paying the bill.
“There are ways of making money in Delhi. If you have brains, you can do things here.”