[caption id="attachment_33200" align="aligncenter" width="700"]
(File Image: PTI)[/caption]
'An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.' True that. Well, I am not a great fan of non-violence but it makes perfect sense to me that a blind world will be terrible place to live in. But I also wonder about the first victim who lost the eye. Where is the justice for him? You cannot just walk away saying, 'Sorry mate, I really sympathise but you have to let it go.' Taking a high road may sound noble, but it is not so easy always. Specially when it comes to dealing with people who don't give a damn about anybody else's 'eye'.
Just yesterday I was travelling in the Delhi Metro with a colleague. It was rush hour so obviously the train was full. We were squeezed into whatever standing room we could find and chatting about work and other things. People around us were busy- most of them with their smartphones. Some hardened metro commuters were even enjoying a sweet little nap. In short it was business as usual.
I was a couple of stops away from my destination when a man's voice caught my attention. He was asking a fellow woman passenger to make way from him so he could reach the door. Nothing wrong with that. But it was the tone of his voice that has caught my attention. It was (for the lack of a harsher word)- rude. The lady moved away but not before protesting about his behaviour. The answer she received in return would have made anyone's blood boil. She managed to stay calm. Respect.
ALSO READ: Prithee, Mind Your Language!
The man now moved to his next target- my colleague. It was the same order (no one in their right mind will call it a request) in the same tone and with same the rudeness, but this time he received a different answer. My colleague did not move and simply asked him to ''mind his language''. The man's reply was even worse, ''Chupchap se hato warna...'' It was enough for my colleague - he dared the man to cross. It looked like blows were inevitable. The lady - the first victim of the idiot - was almost holding my friend back.
I intervened and asked the man his destination. It was same as mine and still a couple of stops away. I politely told the man that there was enough time and most of us will get down there only. There was no reason to behave like a bull. (I didn't say the last part aloud.)
This kind advise earned me charming 'ch*t**a' from him. Now, my first instinct was to grab his neck and hit his head on the metro door with all the force I could muster. But something stopped me from doing so- I now call it my ''decency disorder''. Meanwhile, he managed to squeeze past my colleague to get to the door. He was still mumbling obscenities- targeted mostly at the ‘idiots’ travelling in the Metro. I asked him to shut up. So did several others.
Catching my eye, the lady pleaded, 'Please don't talk to him. He is not worth it. Do not stoop to his level.'
5 minutes later, I was at my destination. The man also got off with me. But I would not let him get away so easily. As I walked past him, I spoke into my phone (which incidentally was out of battery at the moment) and asked an imaginary friend, 'Please meet me at the metro exit. I have to teach someone a lesson.' The man stopped in his tracks. As I glanced at his face for a second, I think I saw a little glimmer of fear. That was enough for me.
However, I was kept thinking about the incident and specially my behaviour. At some points in my retrospection I cursed myself for not following my first instinct to give him a taste of his own medicine, at others I was happy that I didn't stoop to his level. However, I really wondered how many of his kind currently live amongst us, travel and work with us. Men (and women) with no regard for others, who mistake common decency as fear and courtesy as stupidity. People who think rudeness is their right, without any fear of retribution.
Would it really have been indecent to hit such a man or at least give him a reply in his own language? Was I wrong to derive a little pleasure from his fear? Is decency so precious that it should make us weak? Is silently bearing insults a sign of humility or stupidity? Or have I totally missed the point here?