It’s been a week of firsts.
Caution: Might have triggers and be disturbing to a few.
So, on my way back from a friend’s place this Sunday night, around 11.30, something that has not happened in 36 years of living in Mumbai happened to me.
Here is how it played out.
Having had a few beers, I was traveling home by my favorite mode of transport: An autorickshaw.
The rickshaw guy took a right, unintentionally cutting in front of a Car.
Unprovoked, the car purposely crashed into the rickshaw I was in.
I look at the driver and gesture,” 5-minute ruk jaate yaar” which in English translates to politely saying “please just wait 5 minutes”.
Suddenly, before I know it, the driver of that car is at the rickshaw hurling abuses and yelling. He punches the rickshaw guy. Who btw must’ve been at least 60 and then comes to me and grabbed my collar.
As is instinctive I got off the rick, grabbed the guy’s collar, and pushed him off.
By then I had figured out that the guy was extremely high, most probably on Meth or Coke and I could smell the alcohol on his breath.
With the way he was dressed and was talking, I could tell he was one of those guys from the underbelly of Mumbai, who had had his ego hurt and clearly felt invincible.
I once again tried to de-escalate the situation by saying, I am sorry, but you probably have misunderstood what I said.
But before I could complete that sentence, all the other passengers from that car were out as well.
There were 8 fucking guys in that one car…I still can’t understand how that’s possible, but it was.
Anyway, they surrounded us, and then what happened was the most unreasonable and horrible experience I have ever suffered…they started pounding away at the rickshaw guy from all sides, this is a 60+-year-old man, and impulsively, I got into it to try and stop them, which is when they ganged up on me.
The rickshaw guy, completely shaken and badly beaten, drove off, and I was left with them.
This is me the following day.
I cannot begin to fathom, how in a city that I have called home all my life, this could ever happen.
This however had its own set of learning for me, it being a first, I have never experienced this type of rage toward me before. Here is what I learned:
We might think we are safe and distance ourselves from all these things and people, but inadvertently, situations like these make you realize the very real possibility, that people are fragile, with fragile egos and temperaments, that can make them do things they will regret later, and you share the place you call home with them.
Here is where all the walks, workouts, and boxing training over the years pay off. I had 8 guys pounding away at me for 10 minutes straight, 2 with bamboos they found at the side of the street, and they could do fuck-all to get me off my feet.
Irrespective of the number of hits I took, I landed a few as well, and I know the impact I had on the 2 people I managed to land on when they fell one after another and had to roll over to get back up. Grateful for my strength once again.
It is best to maintain composure however hard the situation is. Yes I hit back, but in self defense, not as my aggressive self. Had I done that, I could've come across a knife or probably worse. Working toward de-escalating a situation is better than escalating it, hoping they would eventually give up and run.
People are always ready to help, most just take some time to process the situation and muster up the courage. It took 10 minutes for them to respond, sure, but when they did, the thugs and shitmongers took 30 seconds to start running. There is power in sticking together and helping others.
It does not matter how well we live or how much we distance ourselves from all this, we always should be cognizant to the reality that we can go from being safe to unsafe with the blink of an eye. It is better not to engage in this way with people on the street, you can never know what will come out of the woodwork.
I knew this from my boxing days, but never blow your nose too hard for a few days if you have taken some hits to your face.
As I write this, I do feel grateful as well, I took the best that they could hit me with and was still standing, they couldn’t really do much to break me.
The reason for sharing this here? I needed to let it out, I probably needed to express. With the beating I took, I did not only walk away with a bruised body, I walked away with a bruised ego as well.
I always grew up thinking there wasnt a man born to his mother, who could do that to me and get away with it, and this happened.
I will pursue this and find those responsible. Maybe that is my ego talking, but I have the means and the connects with the authorities to get footage and get those bastards to book and I am praying for the time that we meet again.
I am sorry this sounds more like a rant, but I am hoping what I learned is useful to you as well.