Monday, January 28, 2008

Bus conductor abuse - Chennai

At 7 am after 8 hrs of night shift on a Sunday, I stand waiting for the bus on Mount Road, Chennai, India. I get in after 20 mins of waiting and say, "Gemini", the place where I ought to get down. Two people next to me said the same place name. I understand my voice is a bit low but I was sure the conductor heard what I said. He grunted, "Hm?" I repeated, "Gemini." Again he grunted. Again I repeated, this time a wave of anger making itself felt in my veins, a suspicion of ill-will bouncing harder in my mind. He made me repeat it three times.

He looked dirty and grimy, I was well dressed. He was probably at the beginning of his day, I was at the end. He was all pumped up with reserves of energy, I was drained. He was probably stress-free, I was sleep-deprived. He was earning not more than me, of that I could be sure. He was older than me, maybe 10 years or so, that was pretty obvious too. He was probably jealous, but I was clueless.

He deliberately made me repeat it thrice, a sadistic satisfaction from it he derived; the conductor exercising his authority or pacifying himself that he could treat people more prosperous than himself as he pleased and consequently dousing his own fires of jealousy... I was confused.

My stop came. A bunch of people got out. He blew the whistle before I could get out. And then looked at me after I hastened a risky exit from the speeding bus onto the road. I stared at him from the road, the extent of ill-will I faced from a stranger becoming utterly incomprehensible.

And it was all subtle. Cleverly done in a manner that could not put the perpetrator to justice. Cunning ways of projecting one's own insecurities onto others. In this city, Chennai, I have met many such people. People who delight in getting the better of people who are better off than they are.

Why? The usual question. Why?
Answer: People are what they are. Their choice. But when in authority one ought not to abuse it. I have made a post about this before. You have the right to be who you are. Like or dislike. Anyone or anything. But no one should have the power to hurt a person or alter someones life, because it would lead to abuse of power such as the one I just experienced.

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