Fear, anger and “What will people think”?

by aditimittal

This might be more emotional than I would like it to be.

I followed the Keenan-Reuben case as it broke in The Mumbai Mirror.

It happened very close to my house, outside a restaurant I have visited several times with family. Every time I bring it up with someone, I end up meeting a friend of a friend of a friend of Kennan’s or Reuben’s or one of the girls who was present at the time.

I’m angry. What gives those goondas with their unbridled libido and tempers the right to steal our sense of security? What sort of lawless land are we living in where a man feels no fear when stabbing someone in public? The politicians who are harboring and nurturing these men will run for election in the coming months and win, and things will go back to the way they were.  Hand over the bastards to the public, I think. In 10 minutes, you’ll be lucky if you have more than a puddle of blood and a couple of torn rags where they once stood. With the same brutality let us make it clear to these uncivilized hooligans who the boss is.  Will it achieve anything, stooping to their level?  No, because we will have become the very thing that we are fighting.

I’m scared. The accused are still at large, some arrested and claiming that they’re going to be out in a few months. Some are still roaming the streets, claiming no knowledge of the incident.  In a street full of people not one person is willing to testify against the killers. It’s depressing. But then I put myself in the shoes of someone who stood there that night while the horrific incident unfolded. What would I have done? I don’t know and for everything that I can spout enthusiastically, it means nothing.  When I’m the only witness in 300 for a situation like this, no amount of idealism and justice will come to my rescue when they show up at my doorstep and attack my family with sickles and lathis.

It’s with sickening ambiguity that we live in a world where we’re being constantly reminded “What will people think?” every time we do something awry- why should we care, when no one will spare us a second thought when we’re being attacked in public?

The outrage has begun.  A Facebook group is seeking help from anyone who can give it, corporates, lawyers any institutions that might come forward. The news channels are in full swing. For all the rubbish that we have come to expect from the media, it is heartening to see them take up this cause with the same fervor as we are feeling.

Today, the two smiling faces of Keenan and Reuben bring tears to my eyes. I am proud to belong to the same city as these boys and in spite of the fear and the anger, I want to make sure that this sacrifice does not go unheeded.

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