Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mugged in Bengaluru

First be informed that Bangalore from today on is Bengaluru, the original name before the British changed it to their convenience. I like the new name. It sounds better to me and sweeter. I wrote about this last year. Check the post ' I am proud to be a Bengalooru-ian'. But this milestone day also turned out as a very disheartening day for me.

I was driving home through fair amount of traffic when suddenly this guys on bike, really larger than normal, asked me to stop my car. And when I walked out to check whats the problem, I see one of them approaching me violently. The best I could do was keep my eye contact and muscles tensed, ready to protect myself. He starts by asking me if I can speak Kannada, the native language of the state. I have been in Bangalore 20 years and I can understand it, but I am still not comfortable talking it. Its a funny learning problem and nothing to do with my lack of sensitivity like many think. Before coming to Bangalore I have been all over the country, 3 years each in one place, thanks to my parents being in the army. This meant that I picked up a few regional languages, but I actually never picked up my mother tongue ( and thats not Kannada) - which I can understand but can never speak!! Its really very hard for me to explain this.

It is harder to explain this to someone approaching you with fire in his eyes. Anyways, luckily I started conversing through sentences which included 2 words each! So, whats the guys problem?

It seems somewhere earlier in the road I swerved to the left and knocked his bike over. It seems that my manouvere had his right foot nudged and he lost control and he fell over. Now, I look at my car and there is no revealing marks anywhere and I have no clue. The guy shows me swelling in his arm and sure it seems so. And then he shows me his bike and sure it has cracked glass, body and headlight.

And now the guys became more aggresive and angry and I tried to cool them down, but each attempt got them even further angered. I looked around and the people were either zipping past or were at a dis-interested distance.

The guy wanted me to give him money for the damage. He estimated that it would be Rs. 4k and if I liked we could go to a showroom to check.

The problem was not the money. If it was my fault I would gladly help, but I had no clue what happened!

Anyways, there were two problems about which I cannot depict the intensity in words. One was that the guys were really really agressive and the way they had potrayed the matter no bystander was going to support me. Actually, stupid me was rather proud to stand up to them singlehandedly. I thought of calling the traffic police, but frankly I have little hope in their fairness. The second problem was that I had an urgent meeting in place and I was getting really tired of all this.

I deliberated if I should argue with these guys - huge, angry and hurt? And I decided better not to.

Eventually, with a bit of bargain I paid up and left.

This has left a very lousy taste in mind all through and really hurt my ego. Wish I had fought it out even if I was going to get hurt.

The problem is that I think these guys purely faked the entire scene and fooled me into thinking it was my mistake.

Now, I got hold of their vehicle registration and I can easily contact the police top guys. But I am wondering whether I should or not? Or will that just confuse matters further? Police business is no straight forward stuff mostly.

Anyways, for records, maybe I have the position of being the first person to get mugged since Bangalore was renamed Bengaluru?

Some consolation?