(written by Richa RIhani)
a very usual morning. a normal school drop. lost in my thoughts of planning the morning ahead, i received a massive jolt as my driver forced the brakes bringing the car to a jolting halt on one of the small roads parallel to the school. this lane was as usual dotted by cars parked on either side, forcing any other passing vehicle to move at a speed no more than 20 kph. It was a rushed father climbing out of his basement in his massive Terracan which crashed into my almost ambling vehicle from the left. he made two mistakes. one was to accelerate a wee bit too much to haul his motor from the slope. and the other was perhaps not to have someone man the road as he sped out of his basement. to make matters worse, his vision of the road was completely blocked by his second car, conveniently parked parallel on the side of the road. fair enough…he rushed off muttering to his family on the first floor to tick us off by furnishing his mobile no. and almost dangerously over ran a bewildered me in his hurry. it was only then that i noticed my wrist had a swelling and was fast changing color at some parts to pirple.
nothing much i could have done….with thoughts of whether to disturb my husband’s working day in Dubai, where he is settled, or how to contact any insurance people, i decided to wait quietly for the “gentle man” to return and to see if i could somehow salvage this personally. i was confident of my conversational skills, if not of my negotiating ones.
he did return….steeped in anger at the whole episode. glaring into my eyes, he rattled off in Kannada incoherently, perhaps what would be a complete antidote to an apology. i understood what was happening till this point and spoke back politely saying please calm down, i just wanted to talk it out. to which the response that was showered upon me took me not by surprise, but by immense hurt. not only did he continue pointing a finger in my face, but continued to abuse me and accuse me of not learning Kannada whilst residing in Bangalore. How can you stand on the soil of Karnataka without being able to speak our language. You shameful infiltrators, aliens, he went on…you come here to wash our dishes and then try to conquer our city!
did he for one moment realize, he was talking to a helpless woman? No! did the rest of the neighbours, all seemingly men, young and old, savvy and well dressed, understand or even let me raise my voice against this unprotected banter and barrage of ugly abuse? NO! they chimed in , alienating me on that road, continuously abusing me and then physically pushing me to get off that road.
i could do nothing better than break down and cry in front of them, running away in the shelter of my tears to a spot where i might be safe. my mind had quickly processed the futility of retaliating in any which manner possible to “get back” or “get even”.
I am not seeking any vindication out of this matter. i probably join the hordes and masses of womenfolk and sometimes menfolk who experience this roughshodding most of the time. i was personally not surprised, being a Delhite for 26 years, born n brought up, derogatory treatment of women doesn’t come as a surprise.
i just felt i could share my pain and hurt in a public forum. i am not concerned about the few thousand bucks i might have to spend on my car repair, or my aching wrist. but my heart is saddened to understand that in my country and in my land, literacy and even education has not made men civilized. perhaps they will never be.
so, can this be helped. i guess not.
i would like to thank all those who read this through.
that’s all that matters.
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