Delhi Diary- The eye of the storm

„Read On“ they say, „come quickly.“ I wish I could run away faster. While entering the hallway I can hear screaming, shouting, crying and arguing. It is sticky and dusty inside and at the first glimpse I count more than thirty heads. One man argues louder than all the other men and women in the way too small hallway. I only can see his back, while he argues with both hands high up in the air. He is not too tall, not too old and not too handsome. His hair already starts to thin out. His shirt is glued to his back. Anger makes sweaty. He does not to seem to take notice of my two attempts to interrupt his outburst of swearwords and when I tip gently against his shoulders he does not feel bothered but rams his elbow into my side. I feel slightly nauseous and for a second I catch for breath before I step back. I open the door to my office and open the windows to street side till they are wide open, I open the two windows in the hallway, still unnoticed by the brawling audience, I open the big front door and then I take a seat and wait. I do not have to wait for long. A heavily breeze blows and with an enormous bang and an even louder shudder the door slams shut. The man, who knew how to use his elbow so very well get knocked down by the door and there he sits, now quite silent. The rest of those present in the hallway now is silent for the first time as well. I get up and ask the man on the ground, if I can be of any help. He mumbles something, something pretty unfriendly but I do not mind at all. „Would someone be so friendly“ ask I,“ to inform me, while I find the hallway in such a state?“ The man starts to bark again, but I interrupt him and a woman finally says: „Family business.“ Well, I say but this is not a living room but quite a public space and the tantrum in here looked not quite alike a happy family reunion. During the meantime two fractions have formed. One is circled around the elder man, who now sits on a plastic chair. The other party has gathered around a young girls that stands in the opposite corner of the hallway. She sobs heavily. Again the noises swell and before I get caught in another fist fight I scream: „Silentium“, as loud as I can. I feel horribly reminded of a most hated maths teacher, who had the habit to begin each class this way. After a good while I at least get to the core of the story. The man, lets call him just for reasons of simplicity  A., forty years old and a widower, wants to marry the fourteen year old girl, who stands in the corner, crying heavily. This is not too uncommon but uncommon is that the girl refuses and does so quite succcessfully. Long enough, the widower claims has he waited and now he wants to things settled, while the girl insists on her refusal. The families are deeply divided, some of the girl’s relatives claim, the death of his first wife was a suspicious affair, other family member claim the girl to be dishonest and refer to a break of an agreement. In the morning the situation escalated. The man arrived at the girls front door, surrounded by supporting family members to claim her as his. She ran away and fled into the hallway, where the argument described beforehand escalated quickly. I sigh. Well, say I, I think there is done enough damage for today and look sternly at the faces around me. I give all of you a good while to calm down and to get out of here. If I hear another brawling or arguing, I call in security and then things will get a nasty turn. Do you understand?I am not quite sure if they understand, but no one here wants to have to deal with the police. Twenty minutes later the hallway is empty and nothing beside of a broken chair reminds of the scene that took place here just half an hour ago.

In the afternoon, the girl comes by and shyly mumbles something that sounds of thank you. Acha, yes, for sure, say I and hope she and the young man, who waits outside on a motor-scooter understand that I only bought them a bit of time.

3 thoughts on “Delhi Diary- The eye of the storm

  1. Es ist so schwierig, Ehen so unkomfortabel sie auch sein mögen bieten gewisse monetäre als auch soziale Sicherheit. Wenn das Mädchen davonläuft, verliert sie Familie, Zugehörigkeit etc. auf ewig und auch wenn es inzwischen zumindest in Delhi, Programme für junge Paare gibt, die ohne familiären Konsens heiraten, bleibt es ein steiniger Weg. Aber, Sie haben Recht: Wer weiß, wer weiß.

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