An unpleasant day

Two things happened yesterday that made my day rather unpleasant (aside of my exam of course!), one was an encounter with a teacher and the other was an ugly fight between neighbours.

Like most students I was headed home post an indifferent performance at my examination, when three of us (I, me and myself… Kidding, two friends of mine and I) were called out to by a senior of ours (who is now doing her masters) for help. This particular senior of ours is very bright, happy and really nice. The thing is that she can’t walk without support, which is to say that her left leg is unusable and so she uses a crutch and needs a hand when she has to walk long distances.

My college of course does not have a ramp like most education institutions in DU and she was visibly struggling. We helped her walk to the gate, which is quite some distance away. She wanted to go to IIT gate, so my friend who was going that way offered to drop her in her car. Now since she could not walk all the way to parking lot I waited in front of the gate with her while my friend brought car. About five minutes later, my friend stopped her car bang in front of the gate, so that our friend could get in without having to walk much. A Maruti is a small car, so it is a bit of a struggle to get in.

From nowhere behind the car there came the awful sound of honking. A huge esteem with a lecturer from the political science department with a chauffer et al was trying to enter college and we were apparently blocking the way. We were blocking the way. I did the best thing I could, I went up to her, knocked on her window and explained to her that someone with a ‘disability’ was trying to get into the car– would she be kind enough to wait for five minutes. What followed was a barrage of cutting remarks– including the fact that she was a teacher and her time was precious, that she had an appointment with the principal and that how dare I request her to wait and honk, honk, honk, honk, honk and honk!

What I did then was to ask her why her appointment with the principal was so important that it couldn’t wait for even five minutes (the principal is in college till five in the evening, and it was only one in the afternoon!), not surprisingly she was offended– the conversation went from bad to worse. My friend however did manage to drop our senior to IIT.

I don’t quite understand the insensitivity of this teacher, her pride based on a misplaced conception of authority that she thought she could exercise on all students regardless of context.

My neighbours the same evening decided to throw verbal punches at each other, the same day. To understand why this bothers me, I must introduce my neighbours to you. Household of four. Mother– also known as Manju aunty, extremely masculine for a woman. The father– also known abusive husband with ugly bow-ties, daughter– twenty years old, in eleventh standard for the third consecutive year also known as Minnie (mouse!) and the son– PCO booth owner in Connaught Place more abusive than father also known as Micky (mouse!).

(Events on a Saturday, Minnie does not go to school on Saturdays)

04:00 a.m. : Prayer bell starts to ring, stops ringing at 08:00 a.m.

08:30 a.m. to 09:30 a.m. : Abuse session of the day 1:

Father asks Manju anunty for tea. Manju aunty asks Minnie for tea. Silence. Manju aunty “Arey naasbeeti, koi kaam ki nahi hai, teen baar fail hui hai, koi sharam nahi hai– bol rahi hoon kaam karo sunti nahin hai! Saara din TV dekhti rehti hai! Mein kya ghar ki naukrani lagti hoon? Saara kaam akele karna padhta hai. Apna mooh mat dikha mujhe”…. etc

Father takes of rubber chappals, sometimes formal shoes depending on the day and proceeds to hit Minnie. Minnie runs down stairs screaming on top of her voice “Bachao Bachao”… Father says: “*BC*, kutti, kameeni…”

10:00 a.m. Father leaves

10:30: Son leaves for office. Manju Aunty: “Beta khaana to khaake jaa….,accha mobile liya? Shirt liya? Paise liye? Paper le liye? arey sun naaaaaaaaaaa….” Son has left. Manju aunty: “Sob Sob…. mera to ghar mein koi khayal nahi karta, aaj kal bacche bhi kaise ho gaye hai… Sob…”

(NOTE: This happens at the loudest possible human pitch every single day, with mild variations that involve Minnie’s school routine)

06:00 p.m. : Loudspeakers blaring “Ganga meri, yamuna teri…..”
06:30 p.m. : Father returns, asks for tea [as above]
08:30: Brother returns, askes for tea [as above]
09:00: Kyu ki saas bhi kabhi bahu theeee…. kahani ghar ghar ki…..
10:30: Heated discussion about property. Men “Tu aurat hai, chup reh! *BC* saali…. *MC* [sounds of dishes being thrown, tears and women screeching]
10: 40: While fight continues, outside door is locked
11:30: Silence

Now for the fight yesterday. Enter: Vaishali. Young looks intelligent, finicky about clothes and has sour look on face. Rents one room opposite strange family. Appears unnecessarily unfriendly to me. Overtly friendly with strange family. Spends inordinately large amounts of time at their house. Relative?


Vaishali to Micky mouse: “Main tumse baat nahi karoongi, tumne jo mujhe aaj subah bola….” Micky: “Kya bola?”
Manju aunty (in role of arbitrator) “Kuch bola hoga tune beta….”…
Micky “Maine kya bola?”
Vaishali: “Aise cheezein mazaak me nahi bolte…”
Micky “Arey tu mazaak kar sakti hai, main nahi karsakta?”
Manju: “kisne kya bola?”
Micky: “Pehele mazaak lena seekh le, phir mazzak kiya kar” [suddenly yelling]
Vailshali: “Aawaaz unchi mat karo apni” [yelling]
Micky: “Tu badi battameez aurat hai…”
Manju: Randomly yelling irrelevant things
Vaishali: Complains to Manju
Micky: excerpt, “… main bataoo kya boli yeh, gandi ghar wali… mazzak aise nahi karte usne bola ki tujhe mere ghar se jo chaihiye lele. Toh maine poocha kuch bhi toh usne bola haan jism bhi…”

Manju: Shocked silence

Vaishali: “aur tune bola… dede— battameez hai tu”
Vailshali: Scream scream scream….

Manju tries to interfere: Micky hits Manju aunty
Vaishali: slaps Micky
Micky: slaps Vaishali

Maju to Micky: “Mere ghar se nikal jaa tu, mera beta nahin hai tu…”
Micky storms out and disappears down the stairs.

Vaishali is crying. Manju says: “Ab tujhe bhi samajh honi chahiye naa, aise mazzak thodi naa karte hai. Woh mard hai, uska toh haq banta hai naa…ab phir tujhe kuch karega toh main thodi naa kuch kar paaongi”

….. Random yells and sobs.

I am concerned. How am I supposed to study or work in such an environment? Secondly, how disgusting! What particularly upsets me is Manju’s saying that *men* have the right to be abusive, to hit or to behave with women as they please.

What upsets me more is that I did not hear Vaishali contradict Manju. What is most upsetting is that this is a middle class household in one of South Delhi’s posh residential areas, Green Park. What happened to civility?

PS: What was I doing while this drama unfolded? Trying to work, then sleep, playing loud music and still finding my ears filled with their loud voices. I realise this might be termed ‘voyeurism’ or even an invasion of privacy– but I will assert my right to a peaceful evening and ask everyone to take this in the right spirit! 😀