Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Street Abuse

This happened yesterday afternoon. I was walking down Park Street after paying my mobile phone bill at the Airtel outlet, hoping to see my friendly fruit-wallah there with some good guavas. (In season he has excellent jamun, and often has rose apples and a beautiful, hollow yellow fruit that tastes of rose petals). Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man who wore filthy clothing and looked deranged crossing my path, and before I knew it he had spat upon me and continued on his way. It was obviously upsetting. I pulled out a handkerchief and wiped my neck, thankful that his spittle had not landed on my face.
Given the fact that he looked both filthy and crazy, I had no intention of confronting him. (Neither did anyone else, obviously). I wonder what triggered this unwarranted attack. I was wearing corduroy jeans and a top with three quarter length sleeves, and dangly earrings. Maybe I was looking happy- the weather was good- cloudy with a good breeze and wee driplets of drizzle.
Whatever the trigger, I hate to say that I am quite sure that despite my being in my mid-fifties, it was a gender based violation.

My fruit-wallah was on the far end of that stretch. He commented on my not being my normal self, and when I told him of this episode, he said that the number of crazies had greatly increased. I did buy some excellent guavas and the rose-petal fruit.

When I reached my car I sat and briefly messaged a friend about this event, was duly sympathized with and tried to forget about it. I obviously haven't succeeded in doing so.

32 comments:

Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?!? said...

OMG!!! But this is tremendously upsetting!

Yes, I understand about not wanting to confront the man, it might have been scary.

Please try and put it down to him being deranged and try to wipe the memory off you.

dipali said...

@M4: I was upset at the time, not any more. This guy happened to look deranged- there are so many lunatics who get by looking 'normal'. The world is a crazy place, I guess. Not that I won't march down Park Street again!

radha said...

There are instances when they do it from a moving vehicle and especially if you are wearing a white kurta! These are not deranged characters either. Their idea of some fun?? Either way, a horrible experience

Itchingtowrite said...

must be crzy
a woman once kicked me hard in the legs - below the knee. i felt so mad but people around said she is mad. no point in kicking her back

Itchingtowrite said...

and yes one drunk fellow kicked our car- made a big dent. came to husband's office to apologise next day. obviously we ended up paying forthe repair

dipali said...

@Radha:Yes, it is most disgusting:(
@Itchy: As Dryden says. 'There is a pleasure sure in being mad, which none but madmen know'.
At least that drunkard had the grace to apologise!

Indian Home Maker said...

I would have been upset too. I am sure he couldn't be normal - a normal person would fear the consequences I guess...

dipali said...

@IHM: He looked homeless and crazy, yet the action was very deliberate:(

Rohini said...

That's awful :(

*hugs*

dipali said...

@Rohini: It was:(
Thanks for the hugs:)

Gayatri said...

- ishhh! That's scary
- You just need to be cautious when you spot one of them...u never know what they will do
- I find alot of crazy ppl on the roads in Chennai...sad they r just let to be :(

dipali said...

@Gayatri: It took just the split second between my noticing him, and him spitting on me:(
It is sad to see such people out on the streets. God knows what all they have suffered in their lives:(

thiswaypliss said...

Oh dear!! This must defn be upsetting..This has happened to me twice...once when I was going to attend my friend's reception..The autowallah spit out pan on my saree...Most upsetting! I had to go home and change :(

Unmana said...

Something very similar happened to me a couple of years ago. But the guy was on a motorbike and it was past 9 p.m., so even though I was almost at the gate of my building complex it was scary. I agree with Mamma Mia: I hope it stops bothering you.

Just Like That said...

How awful, Dipali. HUGS!

starry eyed said...

Very upsetting. Yeah, there is no point taking to task someone who's probably out of their mind.

I had an unprovoked attack once, a man stopped his car where I had just parked and started screaming the place down that I had almost hit his car, he managed to get some rowdies on his side too...I had my little son with me, and chose to just walk into a nearby bank (where I am a customer) and ask for the security guard to accompany me :( It's very scary what these crazies are capable of, and the 'public' will not help mostly.

eve's lungs said...

ugh poor you - how very upsetting .Too many crazies in my neck of the woods too - give them a clear berth - 4 of them all on one stretch of road .
Please wipe off the memory and forget him.

dipali said...

@thiswaypliss: I wish such nasty things never happened:(
@Unmana: This was on a busy street at about five-fifteen or so. I can imagine how scary your experience later at night must have been.
It isn't bothering me- just posted to state how even being of my venerable years you are not necessarily safe:(
@JustLikeThat: Thanks, hugs are always welcome!
@Starry: There's crazy and then there is crazy. What a nut case you encountered. I'm glad the guard escorted you to your car.
@eve's lungs: Since my life is usually so sheltered, this was shocking:( But only momentarily. I'm my merry self again!

Sands said...

I can so understand you not being able to let it go. I would be the same. It is the helplessness of the situation that bothers me more than anything else. Hugs!

Bong Mom said...

Ugghh...in Park Street ? Park Circus usually has a bunch of them, we had to be on alert always.
Very, very disgusting. Hugs.

Passionate Goof said...

How terrible.I am sure you feel violated. Its really upsetting to have people cross into our space, physically or mentally abuse us in anyway. Good thing it ended there.... hope you forget about the incident soon enough. Next time carry pepper spray and just spray vehemently at anyone who even tries to misbehave.

R's Mom said...

OMG! I was in Park Street yesterday and did notice a mad like fellow moving around looking really filthy...Hugs to you..hope you are fine now

dipali said...

@Sands: I'm okay, thanks. But you do wonder why the crazy man chose to spit on you of all people:(
@Bong Mom: Thanks! Several months ago while driving towards the Park Circus end of Park Street, spotted a totally nude man walking along the road, in the middle of fairly heavy traffic. Unnerving, to say the least.
Passionate Goof: I'm fine, thanks. I don't see myself carrying pepper spray either- do we get it in India?
R's Mom: Sounds like the same guy. Are you still in Kolkata- mail me and we'll meet up? (Mail id is on the blog)

Neera said...

OMG! Thats awful!! I can see how upsetting that must have been! Hugs Dipali!

Pepper said...

I've been spat upon too. Al though in my case, we were at the station platform, and that man was in the train. He spat out at me just as the train started leaving. I wasn't calm and zen like you, I screamed loud enough for the station master to come out. But there was little that could be done. The train had left.

I wish I figured out the motive behind such things. It would make it easier to cope with them.

yasmeen sait said...

I experienced the same thing.A cyclist spat Paan over me,I was helpless.This was many years ago though ,in Delhi.Luckily I was close to home so I could rush and change. Felt awful .

Indian in NZ said...

OMG! How awful! ((((hugs)))

dipali said...

@Neera: Thanks for the hugs:)
@Pepper: I wasn't calm and zen at all for a while. The man was too filthy and crazy looking to confront:(
@Yasmeen: An spitting accident would be disgusting enough, but deliberate
violation is really horrid. Why do these guys do these things- what did we ever do to them?
@Indian in NZ: Hugs to you too! I'm absolutely fine now.

R's Mom said...

Sorry, just saw your comment response today. Back to mumbai and I couldnt find the email id on the blog. Thoda eye problem hai shayad. Can you give point out where it is? I will email you for sure :)

dipali said...

@R's mom: It's right on top, over the header: anyway, here it is:
dipali.taneja@gmail.com

Do you visit Kolkata often? We must catc up if/when you do!

Lekhni said...

I don't think what you were wearing had anything to do with it.

Whatever the reason, it must have been a very unpleasant experience for you. It's sad that the mentally ill are mostly neglected and especially if they are poor, turned out on the streets. They become a danger to themselves and worse, to others. What's to prevent this guy from throwing sharp objects or hurting others?

dipali said...

@Lekhni: I wonder, you know- maybe a saree-clad woman would not have evoked such a response! Perhaps he could decipher my split second change of path... Endless perhaps!