Monday, October 22, 2007

Bad boys 2.1

It's surprising how the toughest-looking people could be the most insecure inside. After all, it's not easy with an image to maintain. Keeping a menacing look, snarling at weaklings and showing them who's the boss, beating up anyone who points out you are wrong, beating up anyone who points out you are right (you could have done without their help); the list goes on. There's so much of attitude to be thrown around it's amazing how we get time for everything else.

This evening, a couple of buildings away from my residence, a red Maruti car screeched to a halt blocking an autorickshaw's way. Four guys aged about eighteen and looking none the wiser got out of their respective doors and rushed to the rick. One glance at them and you'd know that united they bark, divided they scamper. It was all about the aggression, I guess. One of them went directly for the driver's money pouch while the other guy heckled him. The third, a little smaller, didn't know what to do but wanted a piece of the pie. So he sat in the back seat and began shouting loudly. I think it's that old Indian mentality - the louder you are, the more convincing you sound.

It then seemed to die down so my mom and me, who were walking home on the other side of the road, thought it was time to leave. That's when the fourth guy remembered he'd have nothing to boast about the next day. He pulled the driver out of the vehicle and went through his pockets, all the while shouting louder than the third chap. Everyone gathered around had had enough. They separated the five of them. That's when I saw the rickshaw driver; he was about my built (five and a half feet high and fifty kilos heavy) and was native to either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. The damage was done to the car when both of the vehicles were trying to negotiate the same bend in a narrow road two lanes away. It was more of the minute type; but a dent is a dent, however small; and nobody likes one on their vehicle.

I don't know which of the following made the boys go for him: the dent that was genuine though small; he was a rickshaw driver and a 'Bhaiyya' at the same time; he didn't seem capable of even killing a mosquito (unless it was biting him). Whatever the reason, it wasn't convincing or worth all the hype.

Just then, an old couple on their evening walk came and pointed out the real mistake; they had seen what had happened. It was the youth to blame because they were the ones overtaking the rickshaw; the dent was on the left of the car to prove it. Still, the rickshaw driver apologised, saying he didn't get out of the way in time.

That brings me to the issue. What is it with all this attitude? Why is everyone so taken up by being rude and illogical in the simplest of matters? Agreed, it's human tendency. Or weakness, depending on how you look at it, but now it's becoming something of a trend. Those on motor bikes hold cyclists at fault. Car owners look down upon two wheelers, six wheelers upon anything lesser than five, the peon upon the sweeper.... Not cool.

More than anything, it spoils everybody's peace of mind. And to top it all, they will blame it on hectic schedules, bad traffic, irritating children and once in a while, the 'kaamwali bai'. For heaven's sake, take responsibility for your own actions and admit you are acting like a stupid arrogant donkey. That? No, that they won't do. Hurts the ego, you see. Once the fight has begun and both parties have put forth their arguments and badwords, how can either be expected to step back? They'd look like those dogs with the tails tucked between their legs. Try to understand, there's too much at stake.

And then, what will others think of them? Losers. Because whoever has a valid point would let the world know. So might as well shout and yell till people get fed up and move on than be at the receiving end. I don't know how long it will take for the public to let go of its ego. Maybe that's too much to hope for.

It was really angering and frustrating to see rash young drivers trying to cover up their fault. It further spoils the already sensitive image people have of youth behind wheels. Small incidents like these make a lasting impression on the minds of witnesses. One can only hope those four boys took something positive out of that incident.


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