The Hysteria (and atrocity) of Mob Justice

A few days ago, India was shocked to hear the news of a mob of 200-odd people in UP beating to death a man who was rumored to be consuming beef. While there are many different serious issues involved in this situation, including why the beef ban makes no sense, and how the temple was used for entirely ‘un-temple-like’ matters, this post is about the mob and its mentality, and the reasons behind this mentality, if any.

India is no stranger to the concept of a mob. From the time of our struggle for independence from the British, mob demonstrations, protests, meetings, and rallies have been quite common. In fact, these mob gatherings played a very important role in gaining us our independence – Dandi Yatra and Bharat Chhodo Andolan, for instance. However, these were mostly peaceful gatherings, condoning non-violence as a principle. The violent part of our freedom struggle, albeit very important as well, was commandeered by individuals rather than groups.

Thus, it is really strange to see that the mobs of today are far from peaceful. Just a few months ago, an angry mob lynched a rape suspect after breaking him out of a prison in Dimapur. Companies and companies of police forces could not control the mob. The matter lies under investigation while even the guilt of the murdered suspect is not yet established. However, the cruelty with which this suspect was murdered remains for all to be seen.

It saddens me deeply to see how people have stopped believing in the criminal justice system or law enforcement, in general. The humongous number of cases of rape, assault, and abduction; and the general lethargy in prosecuting them has triggered a long-due avalanche of public outrage in our country. People want justice, and they want it right now! But wait! Is any of it really true?

Yes, there is public outrage. But is it over matters that really concern the public? How was it any of those 200 people’s business to prevent the unfortunate man from eating beef? They had a right of opinion, yes; but who in the world gave them the right to enforce their opinion on someone, let alone physically confront them over it? If they had a problem with him eating beef, the most they should have done is filed a report at a police station, if at all that were possible. (I know, the anti-beef law is ridiculous and denying people their staple food while proudly wearing leather shoes and belts is as hypocritical as it can get,  but that merits a different blog post altogether. ) What gives them the right to kill someone? If the cow is sacred, isn’t a human life so too?

We have established that this killing makes no sense logically. Some people said to me that it is not a logical but a moral and sentimental issue. Educated people said this, no less. Again, the issue of how educated people fall prey to herd mentality or pandering merits another blog post. (And here I thought I had no topics to write about!) But for now, let’s see how this is (not) a moral and sentimental issue.

If we as a nation were that moral and sentimental, we would have stood up to the many issues that we face today. Take rape, for example. The Dimapur mob did kill a rape suspect when the outrage over numerous unsolved rape investigations was at its peak; but how many people from that mob regularly protest against inappropriate behavior in public places – the eves-teasing, the molestation, and overall unlawful intimidation? Oh and let’s not even open the can of worms called inappropriate behavior of domestic nature!

Don’t these so-called torch-bearers of moral conduct turn a blind eye towards countless “immoral” incidents that happen everyday around them, even when they are in groups?

I myself have been verbally abused in a crowded public bus, when a man whom I told not to lean on me launched a full-fledged  filthy-worded sledging attack on me. He even threatened me of dire consequences – while the many men and women around me just watched. Verbal abuse is bad enough, but how many of us even actually interfere in what we can clearly see is a physical or sexual attack? Where does this “moral mob” dissolve then?

When Government officials ask hundreds of people for a bribe, why don’t they unite and use the power of the mob to make the officials see the error in their ways? I remember when I was in Engineering college, public buses routinely refused to let us board until all the seats were filled because we, as students, paid concession fares. Hundreds of students hence traveled standing, but none, including me, had the will to collectively negotiate or reason with the individual buses or with the public transport authorities. This same universal set of students was however more than eager to stage a protest at the university against the rule of introducing uniform attire in colleges. The situations I have mentioned are nothing compared to the heinous crimes that are being committed by mobs, but the underlying problems are the same.

Do mobs only act when it is absolutely illegal to do so? Why is it that a large group of people will shut down an entire market on the day of a strike, but they will not be “moral” or “sentimental” about a poor lonesome fruit vendor who can only have enough money for dinner if he sells enough fruit in the day?

Clearly, a different type of sentiment is at play here.  Is it all politically motivated – someone actually pulls the strings and controls the mob after brainwashing them, while letting them believe that they are all in control? Do we as a society need to vent our frustration about the many problems of the world and take any easy route offered to us? Those easy routes mostly happen to be the wrong ones; but we have put out ourselves so much that we cannot retreat? Don’t at least some of us have a crisis of conscience while watching a fellow human being mercilessly beaten and back-off, or try to get others in our ‘united’ group to back off? Do none of these mob members take a moment to think about the consequences of their actions, both short and long term?

So many questions, I know! I am really baffled by all this ominous stuff. The truth is, I refuse to believe that human beings are inherently evil creatures. A few may lose their way, but as a society, we are bound by conscience to behave rationally, compassionately, and justly. At least I hope so. Wake up, fellow human beings! Social interaction or forming groups is what makes us human beings special. It is time to give a good, long thought to how we, as a group, should make each other better, and not worse. Let’s be a solid community,and not just a mob.

My first snowy accident!

Yeah, so I have never before driven in snow.

Yeah, so I should not be over-smart and offer to drive my husband to places…

Yeah, so I should not try to swerve the car as soon as I see the turn for the destination.

Yeah, so I should not brake hard when there is significant snow accumulation on the road…

Yeah, so I should not panic and start screaming and crying when the car hits the curb and climbs on to the walkway.

Yeah, so I should not be over-smart (again) and insist to walk back home, while the poor husband parks the car safely…

Yeah, so I also shouldn’t start walking quickly in order to escape the heavy snow shower…

Yeah, so…. <thuddd>


Yeah, so after all this I should know whether to laugh or to cry, and I don’t because it was all pretty funny and sad! 😐

Crazy Dreams!

Got a really, really crazy dream last night!

A boy says to Stewie (from Family Guy): “main tumhe markar tumhare tukde tukde kar dunga” (I will kill u and scramble u into pieces).

Stewie replies:  “You can’t… I am already in millions of pieces! In fact you are actually UNscrambling me right now…  That’s how you can see me on your TV.  Bwahahahahahahaha (Stewie’s evil laugh)

And then the camera panned out and showed the boy watching TV.

Crazy, huh! 😀

Some questions about horoscopes….

One day, aise hi, a thought crossed my mind..Someone around was discussing horoscopes according to the Hindu calendar. According to the Hindu horoscope, a person’s zodiac sign depends on the janmatithi (birthdate according to the Hindu Calendar), and the positions of the stars in the sky at the time of birth. Could someone please tell me, that if an expecting woman, travels like 100-200 miles, just before her delivery, and the position of the stars at her destination is different, will the future of her child change? In a matter of 5-6 hours?????

And in case of the English horoscope, the birthdate decides the zodiac sign of a person. So, can being born just a few hours before or after the deadline of 21st of every month (On 21st, the zodiac sign you are born into changes, it seems), change your characteristics and behavioral traits??

And if a few hours here and there change the behavior or future of a person yet to be born, can’t years and years on the earth  immensely change these of a living person too? What would you call this phenomenon then???

A sadly funny situation?

A friend narrated to me an incident he happened to witness. He was approaching a red-light on his bike, and the signal had just turned yellow. When it did, a small boy, with crutches in his hands(mind it, he carried the crutches, and not the other way round…), ran as fast as he could towards the signal, and as he neared it, he slouched and leaned on the crutches, and limped away into the stopped traffic, begging and gathering sympathy!!

What would you call this situation? Funny or sad?

How would you feel for this boy? Sympathetic or disgusted?


The answer, my friends, is very difficult!

When I heard this story, I misunderstood it first. I thought the boy was actually limping hard on his crutches to reach upto the signal by the time it turned red. And I was almost filled with pity…

Then my friend retold the story, and I found it somewhat amusing, but I mulled over it for quite some time. Later when I told it to my sister, both of us actually laughed!!

 It is funny, but at the same time it’s sad because it’s so un-natural for children to let go of their innocence and play such tricks for begging. Or is it just an improvization of the tricks normal kids play, without understanding the seriousness of it? yeah, isn’t what this boy did, something like a kid falling and not getting so hurt; but when his mom sees it, crying away to get the attention and care??

Is life totally circumstantial? Is the way we look at things purely subjective?


Dream #2

And once I was walking on the road, and casually turned to look back. A monkey, one of the small kinds, with a dangerous red face was following me!! I panicked!!! Seriously!! As I kept walking I realized that the monkey was still persistently following me… I didn’t even realize when I began running… The monkey, ran harder!! Oh my God!!! “Oh!! My!! God!!! What should I do?? Why is a stupid but still dangerous monkey attacking me??”  Common sense and patience both betrayed me at that time. I kept running… The monkey wouldn’t budge… I entered a narrow lane, the monkey followed. I entered a proper “Patli Gali”, could still see the monkey right behind me! I turned, traversed, dodged, but no luck!! Terrified, I ran harder, but started getting out of breath soon!! As I started losing speed, the gap between the monkey and me narrowed… And there…he was…right next to me!! I closed my eyes… but opened them, when  I heard the monkey talk. THE MONKEY TALKED!!!! 

And he said,”Gotcha… Raced you!!!!!!I’m first!!Yipppeee!!” And he ran way!!

And I stood there open-mouthed, gaping at my predator (who turned out to be my competitor!!)…

That’s the dream I had! Any clues why I get dreams like that??? Please let me know!! 🙂 😀 😦

Dream #1

And there! The world was coming to an end! Well, if not the world, at least my city. My city was totally flooded! People were running (nah, swimming) helter-skelter to save their lives. The water levels were rising fast and furiously. And the water – it was not the usual colorless liquid, it was dirty, yellow… It was the color of the evil! It looked as though the Almighty was washing away all evil from the city. Despite the commotion all around, a few of us had managed to catch hold of a canoe. If we could somehow get out of the city safely, maybe we could avert the danger. Maybe, just maybe, we could be the only survivors of the Doomsday!

And so we proceeded, rowing the boat ferociously amidst the deafening chaos of nature, whilst trying to battle the devil’s fury!

And oh so suddenly appeared the Devil, himself! All of us shuddered, cringed, drew back. As he stood right in front of us, the devil began yelling, “I will kill all of you! You humans don’t deserve to live! I WILL KILL YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU…”

All of us were stunned. We didn’t know what to do! Just a while ago, we were evenly spread around the boat, rowing it to safety. But now, without even realizing that we had moved, we were a collective mass of people at one end of the boat, looking fearfully at the devil on the other side.

Suddenly, I don’t know how and from where, an idea struck me. I whispered to the mass I was a part of, “Let’s all jump really hard – the devil on the other side of the boat will be thrown off. Spread the word…”  The word spread.

We all looked at one another. 1, 2, 3!!!! And we jumped.

The devil was thrown up in the sky. We rushed to our original places and started rowing the boat as fast as we could, so that he would not fall back into the canoe. The canoe began moving. The gargantuan body of the devil was being pulled downwards by gravity… “Come on, a little harder!”, “Oh God, he’s coming!”, “Row, row, row!” Screams were erupting from everywhere and then, Splash! The devil fell, and not in our canoe! He fell a little away from the canoe, in the dirty, evil water and began drowning in his own vice.

We all rejoiced, and started rowing our way towards safety, and towards the creation of a good, new world! As we began crossing the city limits, “Thud!” We hit a large wooden barrier.

“Ugh! What was that!” I woke up with a start!

I had crashed into my closed bedroom door. As I turned to look back, I realized that my entire bedroom was filled with more than 2 feet of water. The apartment upstairs was leaking in the middle of the night. I was dripping wet…

Dreams I didn’t even dream I would dream!! :-))

“Dreams are the stepping stones to success, so what should you do to be successful??”, asked a senior at college… As we all looked at him, unsure whether to attempt this one or not, he exclaimed, “Go to Sleep!!!”, and went on laughing like he thoroughly enjoyed his own piece of humour!! I grinned and asked him, “But these are dreams seen at night or during the day??” Still basking in the glory of his joke, he replied, “It could be anything!!” Jumping (actually!!) at the opportunity, I shrieked, “Why do you have to sleep while day-dreaming??” 🙂  😀 Game, Set , Match!!! LOL!

Ok Ok, getting a li’l more serious… How many of you have vivid dreams? And by dreams I don’t mean ambitions or yearnings…actual dreams that you see while you are asleep at night (or in class, or at work, or someplace else…being asleep is the only real criterion here…LOL!) Nightmares also qualify ok!! 🙂 Hmm I guess most of you do! Now, How many of you remember the dreams that you had after waking up? Go on… think hard!! However lucidly you may see your dreams, when back into the real world, and most of the times you don’t remember anything of it… even when you wake up in the middle of it!! Strange, isn’t it!!

Well a lot can be said about dreams…including two of my really funny dreams…..will describe them in the next post 😉

My driving!! (not other people mad…am talking about the real stuff here!!hehe)

I love driving!! Though not from the start, I must admit…. I first of all started driving a little later than allowed, at the age of 21, and it was quite a shaky start.

My younger sister had already learned driving, and she was indeed a verry good driver. So adding to it my own lack of confidence, my driving adventure had been quite a matter of discussion (sometimes read as mockery) at home.

First of all, there’s this rule that you cannot answer a driving test before one month of obtaining a learner’s license. And I had got the bright idea of doing a crash course in driving by learning it in 15 days, and I did so (despite the number of reprimands I got from my instructor though… hehehe). So I had to cool my heals for 15 days, and then my college started na…when would I get the time to answer a test?? (By now readers must’ve already got an idea that I was just looking for excuses 🙂 ) Basically ever since I had 2 very comically tragic incidents, my confidence with my driving had taken a total beating!

Incident no 1: This happened before I learnt to drive a car, and when I was trying my hands on a Kawasaki 4S motorcycle. (Those readers who are wondering why I was attempting a 4S, instead of a simple auto-geared bike don’t probably know my dad, whose opinion is: “Scooty..what kind of a bike is that!! The real bike is only a geared one…Only one that is worth riding!!”) So anyway, after I learnt the preliminaries of bike riding like kick-start, press clutch, slightly pull accelerator, and slowly release clutch; and took a couple of rounds in a time span of 15 days (wow…I am such a fast learner!! lol!), I told my dad to ride pillion with me, so that he could give me some real bike tips….So there we go…

I mounted the bike, kick-started it (hey mind you, I was very good at this :-), very good, only at this..:-(  ), and pressed the clutch. Somehow, I pulled the accelerator a little too hard, and released the clutch a little too quick….no no…much too quick, with the accelerator still pulled tight!!

Have you ever seen a horse jumping up on his 2 hind legs and neighing ferociously??

You must be wondering why I suddenly went off at a tangent after moving in the unending circle of my adventures for such a long time…Well my state was exactly like the horse, except that the hind legs in that case were replaced by the rear tire of the bike here!!!

Cut two – A roaring noise, my dad down on the road (that’s the only part I regret about the whole incident, rest all was still amusing!!), me up in the air along with my bike, except for an arc of the rear tire, and not for long!! 😐

Then me on the ground, the bike on the ground (thankfully…a much better situation than the bike on me!!), the rearview mirror, the footstep, and the side stand in their respective coffins, and my hands scraped!!

Incident no 2: Immediately after learning driving a car, I happen to go to my Mama’s place. They know I’ve learnt to drive, so ask me to take the car out.

While taking out our car from the garage, I forget to release the handbrake!! The car starts moving very slowly in spite of me stomping on the accelerator, which is when I realize my mistake!! Well some people correct their mistakes by making more mistakes, and I did exactly that!! With my foot firmly on the accelerator, I release the handbrake!!

The car sped out of the garage, right onto the road!! (Needless to say, that gathered a lot of applause for me, with my Mama telling me, “Wow you are driving a jet airplane!!” heehee ).

Now I have to correct my mistake of speeding, so I apply brakes, and the road is uphill!! After coming to  a stop, I change into the 1st gear, and start, only to go backwards!!!!! 😀

“Honk Honk”, “Beep Peep”, “Oye hello!!” , and lots of such certificates come my way from poor unassuming drivers behind me!! I seemingly haven’t learnt how to start the car on half clutch… Overwhelmed by the applause I nervously try again …

After 10 seconds of failing, I climb out from the driver’s seat, get into the passenger, and my younger sister exchanges places with me and takes the car out of the way, and eventually to our destination, safely!

And all this with my entire Khandaan watching me!! :-((

From then on, I  avoided driving the car like plague!! I mean come on guys… You can imagine what wonders the incident did to my confidence and my ego!!! :-))

OK , so then, I did not drive the car or ride the bike for a loooong time….almost a whole year!!

Then I answered my final semester computer engineering examination, and had nothing to do for four full months, thanks to my beloved employers who gave me date of joining so much in far future!

And plus, I was too ashamed of myself!! My younger sister had become an expert driver by then, and poor me elder sister still depended on her or my dad to drop me to places…

So the day I answered my last paper, I re-enrolled myself in a revision session of the driving school. Well SURPRISINGLY, after taking to the wheel after such a long time and after such a huge fiasco, I was good at it (driving, not fiasco)!! Seriously!! Even my instructor, who in my first innings was so irritated with me, and never once said a kind word to me, was surprised!! This time around, everything went on smoothly, including the driving test, which had a strict examiner, and strict questions; and yet, I passed with flying colors!!! Yipppee!!!!! I myself didn’t know what got over me, or rather what had gotten over me the last time round!! 🙂

So then on, I became my family’s chauffeur! 4 months at home, I didn’t have anything else to do!! Good for me for my practice of course!!

Then on, I tried my driving skills at every opportunity!! I really got addicted to it!!

My longest continuous driving stints have been from Goa to Kankavli , and Pune to Mumbai!!! (both a little over 200 kms), and I have thankfully completed them successfully!! Then of course, driving in Pune city without any untoward incident also added to my confidence! In fact this was the lone fact that finally convinced my mom that I could drive! LOL!!

Is this too long a blog? hmmm may be! more about this, sometime later!! 🙂

Is life really so sad?

{Note: This was my first blog post ever. I wrote it on my birthday, 9 years ago. In fact, it was this particular incident that prompted me to start a blog. Updated on October 28, 2015}

  There was this one thing I wanted to write down somewhere for a very long time. Never found the time and the place. Trying it now… In the first few months of living in Pune, I traveled to work using public transport. My bus always passed over the bridge connecting Pune Station and Sohrab Hall. It was a pretty narrow bridge, especially because of all the street bumpkins, tramps, and beggars living on its footpaths on either side.
It was just another normal day and I was looking out of the window, hoping that the traffic would move along faster, when I happened to notice this absolutely destitute girl, 5 to 6 years of age. Another girl, a little younger than her (who I assumed was her sister), was tugging at her. It was a very sunny morning, and both the girls were seething in the heat. The elder sister held very tightly in her hands, something that the younger sister badly wanted. She screamed, she cried, she chased; the elder sister resisted, ran, dodged, even hit back; but finally gave in, and dropped what was in her hand on the ground.
The younger one scooped it happily, stopped crying at once, and merrily went about playing with it. At first, I hadn’t seen what this object of contention was.  I thought it would be food or a toy, or something like that.

Only when it dropped to the ground, did I get a glimpse of it. I will not ask you to guess what it was, for I myself wouldn’t have been able to guess it, not even in my wildest dreams! It was a plastic doll’s broken head, with all her golden hair still intact.

For a moment, I was stunned, speechless. For a long time after that, I could hardly speak. I kept thinking about the whole episode for quite a few days after that. It was such an inconspicuous incident, if you look at it. If I had looked out of the window a few seconds later, I might have missed it. But I didn’t miss it; and somehow, it had a strong effect on me. I mean, the fact that something that we would discard just as easily as dirt meant a lot to someone; that they could fight over it; could cry, scream, snatch for it; they could be crazy with joy after they finally laid their hands on it -this whole idea seemed very ironic, satirical, and so dramatic to me!

Before witnessing that incident, I always thought that such dramatic incidents only happened in Ekta Kapoor type TV serials or movies. That they also occur in real life, and are much deeper, was a revelation for me. It forced me to think how miserable life is; and how lucky we are, not to be subjected to such a life. Happiness is such a relative thing , I realized then.But however positively I tried to look at the situation, I just couldn’t bring myself to forget the sight of the doll’s head falling on the ground and the child’s face beaming with joy. I still to this day cannot, actually. But soon something else happened, that helped me reinstate my belief about the goodness of life.

What was it?  We shall see that in my next blog post!