“Tu Bahar Mil”: Ashish Pandey’s Gun-Waving is Utterly Unsurprising for Delhi, India’s Rage Capital

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“Tu Bahar Mil”: Ashish Pandey’s Gun-Waving is Utterly Unsurprising for Delhi, India’s Rage Capital

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

I

watched the video of Ashish Pandey, an ex-BSP MP’s son, hurling abuses and waving a pistol outside a posh Delhi hotel, smack in the middle of an edit meeting. My colleagues were shocked to see the brazenness and the gall of the man who was brandishing a gun so fearlessly – some swore that stuff like this happens in Delhi every second. Others couldn’t fathom why on earth he was wearing pink pants. But to me, there was nothing shocking about this scene at all. Rather, I was filled with a weird sense of nostalgia, as this incident reminded me of all the Ashish Pandeys I’ve grown up around Delhi.

I grew up in Rajouri Garden, the beating heart of the predominantly Punjabi West Delhi, and the first Pandey I met was the most feared and respected person in our school – “Toto”. In the ninth standard, he had coloured his hair brown and tattooed his arm with his father’s name, in Arabic, for some reason. He had flunked ninth grade twice and had no inclination toward wasting his time with extracurricular activities or sports. School legend had it that Toto had the strongest “back” in all of Delhi.

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