As the sun sets and the city gets ready to call it a day, the street outside Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in east Delhi comes alive with touts, drug pushers and pimps. You can buy blood and hashish or/and pick up a prostitute.
First, blood. If a relative needs blood and you’ve run out of volunteers, just step out of the hospital, go to Gate No 7 and ask for a gentleman who goes by the name of Chand. He is easy to find.
Chand’s motives are, of course, very noble, just in case you thought he was some two-bit criminal living off patients needing blood. “Hamara kaam logon ki jaan bachana hai (I am here to save lives),” he says. Then he pushes the business end of the deal as an afterthought.
“… 22 rupaiye lagen ge — for one unit.” That must be for the papers? Wrong: Rs 22 is actually Rs 2,200. The blood will be with you by evening.
True to his word, Chand arranged a donor, got the papers approved by the blood bank with minimum hassle and zero involvement and the commercial donation was completed within 2 hours. (Donation Number 2336).
Chand is just the front man apparently. He works for a gentleman who is endearingly called Vinod bhai. He works at a south Delhi blood lab. He has an endless stream of people coming from his village to sell blood.
“Boys come from his village,” says Chand, “donate blood, collect anything between Rs 300 and Rs 500 and go home.” If that source dries up, Bhai simply borrows from his blood bank.
Ever the good samaritan, he has often donated blood himself — but only after he had had a couple of drinks.
The hospital authorities are not aware of it. “I have taken over only recently. I have not received any complaint yet but we’ll look into the matter,” says Dr PC Dikshit, MS, GTB Hospital.
The area's deputy commissioner of police, Jaspal Singh, says: "So far, we have not received a single compliant from anyone in the area. But I will look into the case and will clean up the mess."
Here’s more on that mess.
At Gate Number 3, sits a woman whose business is women. She is generally called Panditani. And she arranges prostitutes for those willing to pay. Even Chand claims he can do this. Seems it’s quite a business here.
And further down from here is the drug stop. While charas (hashish) is sold only to regulars, ganja (marijuana) is easily available for as little as Rs 10. "Par aap jaoge toh nahin dega. Hum dila denge (He won't give it to you. But I can get it for you)," offers a rickshaw puller.