Committing a Crime is bad, but tolerating or ignoring a Crime as it is being committed is worse !
Krishna in Geeta !
After the events that lead to my previous post, I have tried my best to remain cool in most of the provocative situations. I have succeeded in many and failed partly in some. But this incident deserves a narration as a follow up to my story of my own evolution.
Thanks to unexpected illnesses and unforeseen circumstances, there is a sudden shortage of Doctors in our small Hospital. In a small institution, this means only one thing; those around will have to work overtime. So here I am, forced to slog and then write about my travails on my blog !
After a hectic nearly 36 hours schedule, I was going home on my little Santro last Thursday. The roads are so bad, some parts have only half the road. Can't really blame drivers if they behave rudely. Anyone can run out of sanity on these crater filled apologies of roads.
I was about half way to home. Through a particularly bad stretch, I was sticking to extreme left of the road because there was some semblance of tar over there. Then I saw an Auto Rickshaw appearing from the opposite side crisscrossing the potholes. And then it was there right in front of my car, both face to face.
I stopped and waited for the Auto Rickshaw driver to take his vehicle off. But he was not budging. Instead, he was honking and insinuating towards me to get going. I was surprised. I was on the extreme left, that is the right side to be, on our roads. Now, some vehicles had gathered behind me and some behind him too. There was a huge crater to my right and I was in no mood to jump into it as it was not my side.
I saw the Driver, a thirty-something chap come out and scream at me. I slid down my glass and asked him what was all the drama about. And this conversation ensued. He was talking in Malayalam and I had to respond in the same tongue. Here is a loose translation of what transpired.
He: Don't you have eyes ? Did you not see my light flashing ?
Me: Really ? But what lights ? Am I not on the correct side ? It is you who is on the wrong side.
He: There is no side. I can't take my vehicle through the gutter.
Me: Well, do you expect me to do that ? Neither am I going to do that.
He: You go whichever way you want. Right, left or up, but get lost from here.
Wow, this was a situation to explode with expletives. But my mastery over Malayalam isn't something to crow about. So I decided to act pigeon.
Me: But Brother, here I am to the extreme left of the road. Can't go any further left. There is the compound over there. Neither can I go to right because you can see a crater there. Going up is out of question, because I am not Rajnikant !
He: #@*%#&;$#@. Are you joking ? I can bash you up and throw you into the gutter.
Me: Well, that is violence. You probably are capable of that. But we live in Kochi, not Afghanistan. So you can't go Scott-free. There is Police and Law.
He: %#*&+;@~#*&+;% Police can't touch me. Will you get lost or should I smash you ?
Me: Brother, can't you be a little decent ? Have I used any bad language ? Why don't you talk with some respect ?
He: Respect, you son of a #$%&=;*, creating a block here and talking smart ?
By this time some people from either side had tried to overtake and there was a holy mess. Some people came out of their vehicles to find out what was going on.
Our man was explaining to them in loud voice how atrociously I had blocked him. So I just told a couple of people who peeped into my car, "Just look at who is on the wrong side and then you people can decide who is on the right side".
People were murmuring. Some of them asked him to move. He was not ready to budge. Some of them wanted me to sacrifice because he was too crass. "Don't you have some shame, fighting a guy like him ?" asked one of them. So finally I had to make the move.
And so I said, "See, this man is wrong from the beginning. But if my moving could help to diffuse the situation and solve this logjam, I could definitely do it. But as you people can see, I am stuck here. His language and rudeness has been beyond tolerance. I don't have any more work today. I have AC in my Car and will switch on the AC and rest right here. I can't fight him at his level. But neither am going to move from here. Let the Police come and decide how to solve this problem. I have enough access to fight a case if such a scenario occurs. I know enough Advocates who will fight my case even till the Supreme Court. But I am not going to move from here".
With this, I raised my glass, increased my AC to full blast and leaned back in my seat to listen to Jagjeet Singh. I could see the people move towards him and could see a lot of argument. He had expected to win by being foul. I had from the beginning decided not to lose my balance at any cost.
It really pays to stay cool. The crowd had become irate. I was enjoying a heavy duty verbal attack on him. One of the guys even called up Police from his mobile. This perhaps worked. Because our man immediately jumped inside his vehicle, pulled back a little and waded through the pothole on his side. He glared at me as he was going past and blurted, "I will see you #$%&@^. I will smash you one day when I get the chance".
I smiled at him and declared firmly but with a very low volume audible only to him, "You better watch out. You have declared this openly with so many people around. Now even if someone else even as much as scratches my car, YOU will be held responsible. I can assure you there will be enough people to vouch for me against you. And I will have any number of Advocates to fight my case to the logical conclusion. And I don't forget faces or number plates. Thanks for giving way and take Care !"
We both knew who won. I realized the importance of retaining the composure during situations of extreme provocation. If I were to pick up a fight with him on his own terms, he would have dictated terms. Fighting a swine is really tough. He will enjoy all the time as he keeps pulling you down and before you know you are in deep shit. I had decided not to end up in a pool of fecal matter. So I stayed out and actually enjoyed.
Managing to remain calm and not getting into a free for all brawl made me feel good. But what made me feel better is the fact that I did not allow the scumbag to escape with such deplorable behavior. I don't really know how I could have reacted in a similar situation if I had to rush for an emergency. I managed to come out better because I was not in a hurry. Hope I'll be able to retain my equanimity even when I am running against a deadline.
The best thing about the whole episode was that I had real fun through all this simply because I was determined to win without shouting or ranting. Victories taste sweetest, when the fights are won without violence !