Journalists often have something they call Reporterglück, which translates into reporter’s luck.
Something like when a tram was stuck forever in Hamburg – and my former Chief Editor, Wolfgang Büchner, was inside and able to email a picture of people in the dimly lit wagon to us, so we could sent in on the wire (here).
But sometimes reporter are not lucky at all. Like I was today. Here’s the story.
There is a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh called Ramnagar, in the District of Mainpuri. A man who is accused of raping a women in Delhi in his taxi, booked via Uber, grew up in this place.
Indian newspapers reported that everyone in the village knew that the man was roaming around, harassing and raping women, but no one did anything, except of telling the women to stay indoors when he was visiting. (here)
It was also written that a women who claims was raped by him had to leave college and was married off because of the crime against her. Another of his victims apparently wanted to report him to the police, but they told her not to file the case. (here)
In a frenzy, I decided I had to go there. So I looked it up on googlemaps, (and was pleased to see a river close to the place pointed out, as I had seen a river bank in one of the video interviews with the parents of the accused), booked a cab, roped in an interpreter, and off we went.
According to google, it would take us 3 hours and 49 minutes to get there. According to the taxi company, it would take 5 hours. It took us 8 hours.
When we reached the pin on my map, it was pouring. We hopped from one tea stall to the other, where villagers were waiting for a spell in the rain, but only got vague answers. Finally we made out a direction, and continued on the ever narrowing road, between fields full of blooming mustard, cow chips, and hay stacks.
After asking around at more tea stalls, and families gathering on the veranda next to their buffalos, and women at a school, and a man with a tractor, we found Ramnagar. But there, no one knew the man we were looking for.
It dawned on us we were in the wrong place. “Is there another Ramnagar?” we asked. “Many,” we learned.
One, we were told, was close to Chhachha, where we drove next. There we heart it should be more like towards Fatepur. Or back to where we came from?
By that time, my colleague in Delhi had figured out that the Ramnagar we were looking for falls under the Elaau police station. So we called the officers up, and were directed somewhere.
Which turned out to be false again.
Even though we had started at 7.30 am, it had gotten dark by the time we were sent from one point to the other – just to locate the police station. Let alone the village.
So we called it a day.
Needless to say googlemaps failed again when we tried to get to our hotel in Agra. It gave the wrong place, and navigated us in such a back lane, that the car grounded and could move neither forwards nor backwards.
Let’s see what tomorrow has in store for us.