His name was Jasbeer. He was from Gurgaon.
We had gone to a Sardarji's shop to figure out the cheapest place for getting a haircut. We were chatting about the fallen bridge at the Metro construction site in Delhi when he entered. The Sardarji pointed out to him and said, "Yeh lafanga le jayega tum ko". We left for a coiffure.
I told him I had been in Gurgaon for the last two years. That got him started:
"Where in Gurgaon were you living?"
"DLF Phase V"
"That's the one near the malls, or is it DLF Phase III"
He asked me the usual stuff around girlfriends, had I had any action, how the city had changed and so on.
"Tujhe pata, hai, aane se pehle main teen mahine tak roz Convergys ke paas mein jo dhaba hai wahan jaya karta tha. Jo ladkiyan aati thi, unhe chhedta tha, nahi aati thi to doston ke saath maggi khaake wapas aa jaya karta tha. Maa bhi kuch nahi kehti thi, kehti thi bas abhi to bahar jaa hi raha hai, thodi masti kar le"
And, what happened then?
"Main study visa pe aane ke chakkar mein tha. England jaana tha mujhko. Visa pe UKraine likha tha, mujhe laga UK ja rahe hain, wahan pe raine kar ke koi shahar hoga. Woh to jab Russia mein goron ki jutiyan padi to mujhe samajh mein aaya"
He was in a Ukraine prison for a year, and then slipped over to Poland, then to Germany and Netherlands. He had spent almost a year in a Dutch prison before slipping over to here.
"Jail walon ne pahadi pe le jake chhod diya, aur kaha bhag. Maine do din tak bin kuch khaye piye do pahadiyan chad kar Ukraine paar kiya"
He was working on a construction site here, work he had seen labourers do when he rode his scooter on the Gurgaon streets. Says, he knows the in and out of construction work now, would be very useful in Gurgaon, once he is able to get back.
And when is that, I asked.
"Yaar, abhi to do saal lagenge. Kaafi karza hai sardaarji ka. Woh chukaunga aur plane ki ticket lunga. Phir jaunga. UNO/Red Cross papers ka intezaam kar dete hain"
There were tears in his eyes,
"Yaar, main 21 ka tha jab main nikla tha, ab 26 ka ho gaya hoon. Ek saal tak ghar walon se phone pe baat bhi nahi ho payi thi. Main to zyada ke chakkar mein bilkul diwaliya ho gaya. Ab bas ghar wapas jaana hai, aur aaram se apne bistar pe sona hai."
"Yeh desh apne liye theek nahi hai. Apan to wahin pe achhe hain"