If Delhi is the heart of India, Lal Chowk is well the heart of Kashmir. It is the commercial as well as the administrative centre of the State (in summers). Spread over a span of a few square kilometers only, it has all you would like a small city to offer you—cafes, restaurants, shops, malls , offices , parks, street vendors, weighing machines, beggars and what not. There is an untold axiom in valley—If you cant find it in Lal Chowk, you cant find it anywhere else in state. Everyday thousands, may be even 100`s of thousands visit this place for various purposes , coming from all different places and backgrounds. And Lal Chowk (literally meaning red square) doesn’t discriminate. Although it is tiring, noisy and trying at times, it is rejuvenating and purposeful at times as well. Considering the large number of people that visit Lal Chowk every day, any categorization or generalization will hold its flaws. Nevertheless, having been working in this place for quite some time and roaming around enough, I welcome you to Lal Chowk to meet these 6 type of people you are more likely to meet there.
1. The Mediocre guy
Identify him by his tucked out shirt and a sports shoe worn over a formal pant. This is the guy you are most likely to meet in Lal Chowk, for the very reason that mediocrity is the average. These are dullest of all, palest of all and unmotivated in their very looks. Incapable of holding a higher thought or a value, their conversations will never transgress the limits of “How to”. They seek every interaction as a mean to fetch valuable information that can help them to achieve their lowly goals. Obviously, you will find them focused towards their self interests. They don’t waste time, they don’t waste money. They are a running factory where output-input ratio calculation is always going on. They seek to fetch value out of every penny and every second. And if they are talking to you, it is very likely that they want something from you.
You can also call them ranters or protestors. They complain about everything and all the time. Nothing escapes their whines, not even God. They just cant take that world isn’t the way they would have liked it to be. The roads are bad, power is erratic, girlfriends are fussy, dads are too strict, exams are at wrong time of year and when nothing is left—Weather is messy. Jerome in his book Idle thoughts of an idle fellow rightly compares weather to governments when he writes “Weather is like government, always in wrong”. These people are tough to talk to because they want you to be on the listening side all the time. If you don’t want to be suicidal, I would prefer you to stay away from this kind of folk.
3. “Own the world” guys
These guys believe that they missed being Anil Ambani by just one wrong decision somewhere. But this doesn’t stop them from having an air around them like they own the whole city and can get anything done with a single phone call. Conversations with them will make you feel safe (although wrongly so) from any financial or administrative trouble as these people will assure you that even the Chief Minister has to counsel them before making any decision. They own the Porsche but cant pronounce it. They have high end phones but have no idea of their gmail passwords. They would somehow make sure that you know that they are very brand conscious and wont ever touch a thing that doesn’t come from Italy.
4. Park poopers
Yup, they can be found in any park and Lal Chowk has lots of them. They kill time in parks and love to call it their Lal Chowk time. They just love the idea of being in Lal Chowk and if they don’t really need to be there, they can sit in parks and smoke cigarettes. These people however are better at conversing and a lively conversation is just a “Hi” away always. Stories of retired government employees who didn’t want to be known as retired abounding these parks during office times are also heard of and known.
5. The Scandal Guy
“The floods are already there”,”An earthquake will come next month”,” The world would meet its doom this Friday”, “The government is taping everyones phone”, “Facebook is a Zionist agenda to spoil muslims”, ”Geelani works for Indian agencies” and what not. Think of any stupidity and see it coming out of his foolish mouth. This guy likes creating panic in himself and his likes. Somehow he gets fun out of it. And expects that they can star in real word “Jurrasic Park” or “2012”. Obviously conversations with this kind of guy can be pretty interesting, Just ensure, you make him believe that you trust him.
6. The Lost Ones
Lalchowk is an intimidating place. There is lot to see and observe but this kind of guy feels lost there no matter how many times they have been there. Their eyes will be like that of a kid in a city for a first time, observing and getting lost again and again. Pass them by and they wont know even if they are your best friends. They will be lost. Getting their attention in first place is a big deal and if you hold them in a conversation for more than a minute, I say you deserve a nobel.
So what type are you?