If you are a confirmed Delhiite, you probably cringe every time the 'big-bad-boorish' image of the city is mentioned. But a Delhi University (DU) study lends credence to what has been said about the Capital's citizens for a long time: when it comes to decent public behaviour, they have a lot to learn.
For three years, the DU's anthropology department has been sending out its researchers to 20 localities to record how people behave in public.
The answer: despicably. Delhiites hawk, spit, abuse, drive dangerously - and the men misbehave with women. At Chandni Chowk, for instance, a surveyor found 88 people deliberately annoying women in a time span of 30 minutes.
"The people either used abusive language, passed lewd comments, whistled or made vulgar gestures at women," said PC Joshi, professor, anthropology, DU. "We observed the localities for a week to check instances of spitting, littering, misbehaviour and traffic-rules violation. Civic sense is poor across the city, whether at Chandni Chowk or Shahdara - the worst areas - or at upmarket Vasant Vihar. The difference is marginal."
Another surveyor found 19 people who spat on the road within a span of 30 minutes at Meher Chand Market on Lodhi Road. "Of the 19 persons who spat, 18 were men," said Joshi.
The only exception to the rule was Shekhawati Lines in Delhi Cantonment. No instance of civic unruliness was reported from the area. "Maybe because it is largely populated by armed forces personnel," says Joshi.