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This is my parking spot….!!!

I don’t know how it happens in other cities in India but then in Delhi where multiple cultures co-exist and collide, fighting over parking space was often heard and read about. And this was a first hand and hopefully one time unique experience that I had here in Delhi, that too in an upmarket locality such as GK 2.

The melee happened about a month or so back late in the night when at about 11 in the night our doorbell rang and surprised to have someone coming in at this hour my 11 year  daughter ran to open the door.

With the same speed she came back running in ”Pa, there is police at the door” WTF was the police doing at my door at this time of the night and while I was looking for my glasses my wife had already reached the door and I could hear her loud angry voice. She was upset with them….it was an issue of car parking and while she would normally park her car in the driveway this time she had left it parked outside the building where an extremely territorial neighbor had called the cops to have the car removed since as per him it was his parking slot for a fleet of his four cars.

Well, this was no reason for them to be ringing bells at that time of the night. Anyway, I had to make her move back in the bedroom and then I asked the cops to go down and that I would meet them there at the parking lot (read road) where the issue had erupted from. Changing into my tracks I went down to the road where our neighbour was standing arms crossed expecting me to get a showdown from the cops.

Me “What is all this about?”

Cop “Sir, we received a call at the station and hence we had to respond”

Me “Appreciate that, but before you ventured out of your police station did you not enquire about the nature of complaint”.

Cop ” Yes Sir….we received a complaint that your car is parked wrongly.”

Me “How? This is a building where I stay and while I stay on the 2nd floor this gentleman who has complained stays on the ground floor…..I have parked the car outside my own building on the road… is it parked wrongly…..this is not any persons personal property”.

Cop ” Yes Sir….but Gupta claims he has been parking his car here for many years and he is accustomed to it”.

Me “Well, that’s too bad….he has to get unaccustomed”.

The cop starts to smile at this stage as he does understand that this issue is trivial and not something that the police should be monitoring.

Me “ Sir, entire Delhi faces the issue of parking and we all adjust with each other and that is the only way it is going to work. But if every time a cop gets called for a parking issue then that is all what the Delhi Police would be doing all the time”.

Cop “What you are saying is right”!

Me “So you were aware that this call is not for a crime, no murder, no rape, no robbery….and still you coming ringing door bells at 11 in the night”!!

The cop did not reply and he knew that what I was saying was logical so he kept quiet which did not go well down with Gupta who was watching in disbelief as to how the cop who had been called to put a scare into me had actually turned hostile and was in fact in total agreement with what I said. Having settled the matter with the police I turned my attention to Gupta and at 11.30 in the night I vented my ire at him and all he could reply to me was “Dekh lenge”. This was the last shot….first he calls the cops to my house and now he has the audacity to threaten me that too in front of them…. “Ma dar chod, I am standing here only, what do you mean dekh lenge, abhi dekh na” I shouted. “And from now on, I will ensure that my wife’s car is parked here only” was my parting shot to him before I went back to my house.

As was promised since then I ensure that my wife parks her car in that slot only and not in the driveway…….it is rare that I lose my temper in such a fashion but this was something that I was not going to take lying down.

“You don’t know who I am. This is my parking spot.” A common refrain in the city, one that is most often heard in the gated communities that house South Delhi’s burgeoning middle class — places like Alaknanda, Kailash Colony etc. And surprisingly it seems to be very prominent in south Delhi and apparently not so much in other parts of Delhi. A study done by a daily a few years back reflected the situation very correctly and accurately. The Rajinder Nagar Police Station states, “We do get calls related to complaints regarding parking issues and consequent fights, but they are very few, negligible”. Janakpuri Police Station concurs, revealing that they receive around 15 or so registered calls related to parking issues in a month. But the Defence Colony Police station gets the same number of calls just in a week and Kalkaji Police station tops the chart by getting hundreds of these calls every month.

With 70 lakh vehicles and 900 more being added every day, parking space in Delhi is woefully limited. The city’s roads too have not kept up with traffic growth, adding to jams, gridlocks and frayed tempers.

A neighbor who stays couple of houses away in GK 2 has the same opinion and attitude as our Mr. Gupta over the parking space “Because I park my car there every night, so it’s my spot. If anyone else will park there, they will suffer the consequences.”

And his parking spot is not in his house…’s next to a public park, on the main road.

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