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Feeling like a worm...

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Several incidents in my life have made me feel like a worm. They were the occasions when I was expected to act as a man but I did not. In fact whenever I see a movie in which the hero makes mincemeat of anyone who perpetrates a ghastly crime in the center of a market place, I am engulfed by shame and self pity. My mind immediately goes back to such incidents in my own life when thugs had a free run and I had watched helplessly. I could perhaps draw consolation from the fact that I was not alone in not rising up to the occasion in such cases but there were several others who preferred to be mute witness at scenes of crime.

    A colleague of mine had a brother in law who was in the Army. He was coming home from Meerut to Chennai on holiday and was traveling in a train. As the train was passing through some dacoit-infested area, a few armed thugs boarded the train midway and demanded that the passengers surrender all their valuables. While everyone meekly handed over what they had, this Army Officer showed resistance and picked up a fight. One of the thugs whipped out his revolver and shot him dead at point blank. This news was a hot topic of debate for several days whether what he did was sensible and should he not have meekly surrendered too. Some were even critical of his action unmindful of his responsibility towards his young wife and a one year old son.

    It is difficult to pass a judgment unless we knew what exactly provoked the slain officer to engage the thugs in combat. When he lost his life, he was just 34. But this incident brought to end what little urge I had for heroics of any kind and I became an alter ego of RK Lakshman’s Common Man.

    But one incident remains green in my memory though it took place more than a decade back at the busy traffic junction at Adyar. It was a busy morning hour and a number of pretty women and guys who were desperate to impress them were waiting at the bus stop. I had stopped to buy a few things at a nearby super market and was returning to my car parked at quite a distance. I saw an old man seeking alms from the people at the bus stop. He made very little progress and was looking hungry and pathetic.

    Suddenly, one of the young men offered the old man a ten rupee note if the old man would sit in the middle of the road for 15 minutes. The old man accepted the offer and went to the middle of the road to fulfill his end of the bargain. The snarling traffic zoomed past him unmindful of the presence of a live human being sitting in the middle of the road. Some of the girls giggled at this spectacle and the man who made the old man risk his life threw a triumphant look around. Minutes ticked by and I stood rooted to my spot in horror and disbelief. I was appalled that there could be people including girls who looked upon such a sordid episode as a great joke.

    At the end of the period, the old man rose and came to the youth to collect his money. By that time, a bus came and the crowd rushed to it. The youth showed his middle finger to the old man in a vulgar gesture and ran to catch the bus laughing like mad. I could feel a lump in my throat as I looked around and saw a few more agonized faces in the crowd. No one did anything to question the young man and he was allowed to go Scot free.

    I cursed myself for being such a coward. I cursed my highly protected upbringing as a pet child of the family. I took the old man to a nearby shop and bought him a packet of biscuits and some fruits. I thrust a tenner in his sweaty palm and walked slowly back to my car. I knew that I was just trying to soothe my troubled conscience by this act of generosity. I told myself that if I had acted tough with the boy and prevented the whole episode, I would have saved the old man from taking such a great risk. But the old man would surely have blamed me for coming in the way of his earning some money. He at least had what he wanted and his grateful face did allay my feeling of being a worm. But just for a while. I was soon engulfed by a feeling of shame and self pity. I wondered if the lesson that was taught to me at a young age, "Dushtanai kandal thoora vilagu" (Stay clear of bad people) was really the cause for my being weak-kneed...
     
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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    Your post made interesting reading because you have accepted that you are the alter ego of R K Laxman's common man. I think, by that term, R K L has genaralised what almost every man is.

    In the movies, the hero makes mincemeat of the doers of ghastly crime because they "act", not "do". Everybody is not a M G R or Rajni, to be able to powerfully tackle an opponent (knowing it is "make-believe"), I mean, physically.

    Our general attitude is "namakku en vambu? Othungi porathu than nallathu". We are more scared of getting into a hassel, call it controversy, by interfering in a common problem.
    Well, one can go ahead if one is prepared to face the consequences, even if they are unfavourable. This happened, as you say, to the military officer.

    By helping the old man, in the incident you have mentioned, I think you have proved to yourself that you are just not a worm, but a compassionate human being. That is more important, anyday, I feel.

    "Aneethiyai kandal pongi ezu" is not always, physically feasible for an individual, however strongly he may feel about it.

    Love,
    Chithra.
     
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  3. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    I liked the way you elaborated on this beggar's act , and also the fact that if you had put a stop to itthen, surely the beggar would have cursed you for not getting the tenner.....it is true isn't it? Sometimes we try to do things thinking it will ease out someone'e life....but it sure backfires! so you don't have to feel like a worm...it is the young chap who treated the beggar so poorly and all the others who were enjoying the spectacle....they are the ones who should feel like a worm! Sometimes i wonder how can anyone be so heartless to trat another human being so ruthlessly.......and heartlessly?
    anyway , this is the world and tis is life , so have to larn to live with it, maybe to a certain limit trying to be true to oneself?
    You ahve a way with words and you can expalin well....so its a pleasure to read your ramblings no doubt!:2thumbsup:
     
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  4. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    I am glad you agree with me that most of us remain passive just because we neither have the brain or brawn to deal with such contingencies! I remember how honestly Dharmendra explains to Jayabadhuri in Guddi how all the heroism displayed by the heroes in movies is just make believe.

    Let alone the kind of incidents that I have narrated but think of how many of us turn away from the scene of an accident merely because we may be summoned to Police Station and the Court if we report about it!

    I remember vividly how a colleague of mine lost his brother and his family in a gruesome accident near Melmaruvathur. A TV crew happened to be passing by and the whole episode of the young daughter of the family struggling for life and breathing her last was recorded and shown on TV as a news item.
    Sri
     
  5. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sudha
    There is a word for describing these do-gooders whose acts invariably land others in greater difficulty.They are called Anukoola Satrus!

    It is true that it is life and we must learn to carry on but that doesn't help one feeling guilty when he becomes a witness of an atrocity being committed. When such things happen , we remember the promise made by the Lord "Sambavami yuge yuge' So I always look up on such situations if He would descend on the scene and believe me He did once!

    It happened years back in Lattice Bridge Road opposite the then Eros Theatre. It was Diwali eve and the road was crawling with people and vehicles. Suddenly from one of the moving buses, two young men jumped out and engaged a simple looking scooterist in a heated argument. The scooterist was muttering some apology or something when one of the two men slapped the scooterist hard. The scooterist panicked and pleaded with folded hands not to assault him. He pleaded that he was from a decent family and he was not used to getting beaten. This did not move the two and they rained blows on the scooterist. We were all standing there paralysed and I looked up as usual.

    And lo! Two highly mascular chaps who were going that way on a bullet, stopped the vehicle and asked us what the commotion was all about. We explained to them the incident as we observed it. The two man dragged the two thugs out and gave them such a thrashing that would have resulted in an instant death for most of us! There was so much glee among the spectators at this turn of the events!

    I went home feeling satisfied that the Lord did keep up his promise of Sambavami yuge yuge!
    Sri
     
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  6. shreyasri

    shreyasri New IL'ite

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    dear sir,

    another very cheeniya-like post,isn't it? i agree with chitra,"...... that every man is".
    true, there is a fighter in everybody, and all of us become meek when situation warrants "pongi ezhu". you have already discussed the pros and cons, there are many justifications that mellow our boiling blood in such situations, as you have said.

    like little drops of water make an ocean, this submissiveness in everybodu, ultimately makes the whole society meek. one recent example: the nominee for presidential election in turkey vs. nominees for a counterpart in India - compare and contrast! a million marchers trying to influence and protesting the nomination in turkey. if we sat down to talk of what the former Presidents in india did for the country, what would be the conclusion?

    have we misunderstood nehru's principle of "pecaeful co-existence"? is it time to take a look at bharathi's poems? ..................................................

    (oh! i had resolved to be brief !)

    a request: sir, why not try your autobigraphy. i am sure, there will be many takers here. of course, if it is not trouble for you...)

    regards
     
  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Shreyasri
    That's a very significant example you have provided! Yes it is true that the individual cowardice has collectively made this nation a very meek one. We have left all the fighting to the Army jawans!
    It is not an uncommon sight anymore to watch someone brutally murdered in broad daylight in a crowded market place even in Chennai. We all stay mute spectators in such cases. The irony is that even the Police stand rooted to their spot when such an incident takes place as it happened when a group of thugs destroyed the Dina Malar office with petrol bombs in Madurai recently. Three very young and aspiring software professionals were killed in the incident. TV replays of the incident showed how the Police stood there helpless. Imagine how they get trained and paid for dealing with such lawlessness! If such trained people remain mute spectators what can an ordinary man like me do?
    I remember a great Hindi movie, 'Ardh Satya' in which a honest Police Officer, beautifully portrayed by Om Puri, getting extremely frustrated at not being able to deal with a vicious thug because of the support he enjoyed from some Senior Police Officers and Ministers, gives vent to his ire and frustration by beating the life out of a simple pick-pocket!
    Very sordid it was!
    I have many incidents in my life to share with you but I dont think my life has been so great as to be penned as a biography! Thank you shreya for your great affection and respect for me that has come out in that suggestion of yours!
    sri
     
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  8. lalithasai

    lalithasai Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,

    It is indeed becoming a trend in our society where in the bullies get away with their demeaning acts. All of us come across so many such helpless situations. But I really adore your act of providing the old man some food and moral consolation. I guess even if you had taken an action against these Young Crooks, they would not stop. But yes if we could make them feel "the shame" in their act, we surely can ensure that justice is served.

    But you have definitely done what the old man needed.

    I'd love to read more of your experiences to keep my spirit up. It's always the good environment that nourishes the good thoughts.

    Good day.
     
  9. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    It is very disturbing to find the attitudes of people especially at the time of accidents. There have been many incidents when I was in Mumbai when victims of accidents have been left to bleed to death. Unfortunately, I have not come across one such accident and I am not saying here to impress but I would have certainly done my best under the circumstances. On this topic, one incident comes to my mind. This happend in Madurai and I read about it in a magazine. It seems one boy had fallen into a nallah and was drowning. A large crowd had gathered and no one volunteered to save the boy. The boy's mother was crying and pleading to some one to save him. Right at that moment a foreigner came on a motor bike there and upon hearing about the boy he removed his shoes, dress, valuables etc. and jumped into the nallah and saved the boy. When he came to the shores with the boy he found his bike, shoes, dress and valuables have been missing. But, he was happy that he could save a life. This is not to say all foreigners are like him and all of us are like the persons who took away the bike etc.

    Even in London I have seen people totally not concerned about accident victims when I myself was involved in an accident and fractured my leg. I had to drag my leg and reach home before I could be taken to nearby hospital. It was shocking to me more than the accident that no one bothered to help me.

    I think one or two years ago there was a Patti Manram by Solomon Paapiah on this topic, 'To help others is a pleasure or pain'. Although we all may agree that helping accident victims may be a pleasure, the pain of unnecessary hassles detract us.

    Regards,

    TDU
     
  10. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    By mentioning RKL's common man, you have included all of us! The fact is most of us will react like you under such circumstances. At least you made time to buy food and give a tenner to that unfortunate old man. I wonder if most would have done even that as the rush to reach the next appointment may not allow them to! Such is today's life. I have seen many a 'candid camera' shows on TV where they have captured such studied negligence on roads of England, America and even Europe, not just India.
    As for the army officer's valiant act, like you say, we really don't know what provoked him to resist the thugs. I feel there is no sense in opposing such brutal thugs and give up on life. It is better to lie low and maybe take action to at least curb further such assaults.
    Many incidents come to mind which makes one's blood boil at the insensitive assaults. But when police stand helpless in face of anarchy, is not something really really wrong with the society?
    Sometime back , a model was murdered in a pub in front of all and now there is no one to come forth to be a witness and put the cuprits behind bars! Because they are sons of some ministers! Now, those are the worms Cheeniya. Real big and nasty worms.
    It is futile to compare ourselves to the fictional Indian film heroes. The two muscular guys who bashed up the wrong doers, they are the heroes:) Perhaps body building is the way to go?:)
    Maybe because of these thwarted emotions, I enjoy films like Kamalahasan's Indian. Oh, what a weak reference...now I do feel like a worm:(

    L, Kamla
     
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