Asha was angry. She was angry with us and she was angry with God. She hated Delhi and missed her Mussoorie friends and family. Of course Zoe was still her bestie and she was always available but Ash was struggling to believe she could ever be happy again. Our house in the forest in Mussoorie was beautiful and spacious. Our new flat in Kalkaji was noisy and small and it didn’t take us long to find out that Delhi wasn’t safe for young girls.
One afternoon while I was resting, some teenage schoolboys knocked on our door. They had noticed that our Gypsy (jeep) wasn’t parked outside so assumed that the girls were alone. Fortunately the chain was on, so the door only partially opened. When Zoe opened it, one of the boys put his foot into the door and said, “We want friendship.” Another one asked for water. Asha and Zoe shouted and pushed the door closed on them. Their shouts woke me up. They were shaken and upset. The boys went away but kept their eyes open for another opportunity. When Tony heard about it, he was mad.
Tony’s study door opened onto our narrow stairwell right next to the front door. I was out in the Gypsy and the boys once again assumed the girls were alone. They had no idea what was waiting for them.
They knocked on the door and the girls open it. They tried to force their way in and the girls shouted. Tony flung his study door open and shouted. The boys panicked and started pushing and pulling each other down the narrow stairwell. Tony scrambled after them and grabbed two of them by their collars. He knocked them together and dragged them up the stairs giving them “Charlies” all the way. (Knees in thighs). The others escaped.
The shaken up boys were presented to our landlord who proceeded to hit them all over with his chappal; the mother of all Indian insults. The higher the swing the more humiliation is involved. His swings were high. They were then dragged off to their principal who proceeded to do the same with his chappal. The parents were called in and they got some more.
Tony came home dusting his hands and chuckling in triumph. No-one was going to touch his girls and every boy in the neighbourhood knew to stay away from the girls who lived in K66.
This experience shook us all up and Ash was even more upset about having to live in Delhi. We prayed with her and talked about how there would soon be new friends and a whole new community in Delhi- just like the one in Mussoorie. She struggled to believe it.
“But how do you know anyone is going to come?”
All we could say was, “You’ll see Ash.”