A dodgy character dressed in ill-fitting designer jeans and a garish velvet jacket brushed past me at a nightclub and before I could regain my balance, another Safari suit-clad man with a walkie-talkie trailing the dodgy guy totally sent me off balance, spilling my first drink. Welcome to the menace of ‘not-so-VIPs’ and their rogue bodyguards. In the Delhi trait of showing-off, one practice that is seeing a rise is to hire bodyguards to farcically project that he/she is some big shot. If a Delhi dude’s family has political link, they’ll try their best to get Personal Security Officers (PSOs) allotted from the Delhi Police. If not, they just hire private bodyguards and ensure they look very much the SPG-types or Black Cat commandos.
The fad for hiring bodyguards is a dangerous one. I am sure you will agree that these hired bodyguards are more serving the purpose as hired goons. However, for the rich brats, they come with multiple benefits. First, it instantly paints the picture that the man trailed by PSOs must be a ‘VIP’. Second, it helps throw weight around to the managers and stewards at restaurants and nightclubs.
There is a distinct difference in attitude of genuine VIPs who are provided security by the administration and the not-so-VIPs who hire private ones. I have often spotted couple of young MPs visiting a lounge to chill out. They have security provided by the state as they have genuine threats to their lives and yet they request the security personnel to stay outside the premises. Contrary to this, the dudes who have private security behave brashly. The most infamous among them is the son of the owner of one of India’s largest export house. This dude travels with a cavalcade of PSOs, and insists that his bodyguards accompany him till the inside of a club. Another gentleman is the son-in-law of a top meat exporter who in wildest of imaginations doesn’t have any threat perception endangering him. But then pop-in-law’s mega moolah can provide him this luxury of pretending to be a VIP.
I have seen a gentleman who runs some regional TV channels, bunch of property dealers-turned-builders and aspiring politicians tagging along bodyguards to shaadis, anniversaries and clubbing. At least one good thing comes out of this: hurly-burly guys are getting employment by fulfilling the fantasies of rich kids and some male models who get peanuts for walking the ramp are turning bodyguards with the recent demand for ‘good-looking’ bodyguards touching the sky.