Jishnu Roy (17) goes to a school in Delhi. He returns home, which is in Ghaziabad, does his homework and goes out again to play cricket in Delhi.
Neither Jishnu nor thousands of people living in areas like Ramprastha and Surya Nagar in Ghaziabad find this arrangement odd. They are all dependent on Delhi for their day-to-day needs.
For most people living in Ramprastha, Chander Nagar, Surya Nagar, Brij Vihar and Rampuri, their only link to Ghaziabad and Uttar Pradesh is perhaps the pin code. Cut off from the hinterland of Ghaziabad by two Northern Railway lines, these five colonies almost form a delta. The colonies are located so close to Delhi — the Gazipur Road divides them from Delhi at places — that the colony gates open in Delhi, literally.
“The water we get here is so hard that we have to bring drinking water from Delhi. We all have Reverse Osmosis systems at home but with 18-hour-long power cuts, they don't work,” said Suman Jindal (38), a resident of Ramprastha. The residents have employed rickshaw pullers who bring them cans of water from taps in Delhi at Rs 120 a month.
“My daughter is studying in Class X in a school located in Delhi and plans to study in a Delhi University college two years later,” she said. “There are no colleges closeby. Thankfully, there are tuition classes available in the neighbourhood,” said Jindal.
Her husband Vipin Jindal owns a stationary shop in Delhi's Chawri Bazar and is dependent on the Delhi Metro to reach his workplace.
There is also a distinct disconnect with Uttar Pradesh.
“All I know is that Mayawati is the Chief Minister of UP and that's where my political knowledge and interest ends," said Ashutosh Sharma, a Brij Vihar resident. Perhaps even the politicians understand this. There has been almost no campaigning in these areas and no candidate has turned up asking for votes.
“My contact with Ghaziabad ended the day I registered my property here,” Suman Jindal said. “The power situation is horrible, sanitation is bad, roads are broken and street lights don't work," she said. "We have to hire sweepers to get the sewers cleaned and we dump our garbage at the nearest empty plot available," she said.
There are no government hospitals nearby and the nearest one — Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital — is in Delhi. From ambulances to hearse vans, everything has to be called from Delhi. The nearest cremation ground too is in Delhi's Jhilmil area as the ones in Ghaziabad are near Hindon, which is too far away.
Though he would earn his voting rights next year, Jishnu couldn't care less. He is more excited about the IPL matches. He is rooting for the Delhi Daredevils and you can bet he will not change his loyalties even if a new team joins in the next season — the Ghaziabad Gladiators!