May 27, 2010

A walk to remember. Thank you, muggers

Visualise this: late-night walk on empty roads on a moonlit night. Ah... Beautiful, isn't it? No. Not for us Bangaloreans. There's no Batman looking out for us here. Muggers are. I had a shameful and embarrassing encounter with two such gentlemen one fine night, adding another inglorious chapter to my misadventures in Bangalore.

It was 2 am, I was walking towards my apartment in Basavanagudi after finishing work at office (at Indian Express Circle). Yes, in the dead of the night, I chose to walk 9.4 km to my room. Had given my motorcycle for servicing, so the only other option to get to home was taking the office cab. This meant that the commute that takes me 15 minutes on my bike would turn into three-hour Bengaluru darshan. Heck! I was in no mood to travel "cattle class", to different corners of the city, before I'm dropped at my place. Weather was awesome. A cool breeze was flowing and the sky was clear, moon was out (just one day shy of full-moon night). Perfect for a walk. Enough peaceful time, I thought. And so I started my ill-fated walk.

The streets that are jam-packed during day wore deserted look. Only occasionally would some car whizz by. Had walked some two-three kilometre when two ungroomed rookies on a khataara motorcycle approached me and asked time. 2 am, I said. They went. This was at Corporation Circle, an area that stays abuzz with traffic during day. 

Some five-six minutes later, I heard the sound of a motorcycle from behind. Looked back. It were the same ruffians on the motorcycle. They were about 100 metres away when I saw them. They were approaching me. I wondered: "They had just gone from here, what are they doing here again? Do they want to ask time again? What is it?" I stopped walking, waiting to ask them what I could help them with now

The bike stops near me. The guy on the pillion tries to grab my hand. Oh yeah! Now I get it: They are trying to rob me! (When at 2 at night, two loafer-looking people stalk you and try to grab you at an isolated street, you can be sure they are trying to rob you.) So, the guy on the pillion tries to get hold of me. But, come on, am I a dummy that he can do whatever he feels like! He just manages to graze my finger. I run towards the centre of the road. (Untill now I was on footpath, law-abiding pedestrian, even at 2 effing am.) The wannabe mugger runs after me with a foot-long, rusted machete in his hand, and a crooked look on face. And then... The most embarrassing thing happened.

I ran away, screaming "Help! Help!" So shameful! All this was happening in the central part of the city, which keeps seeing a steady stream of vehicles even at night. So, here is what the scene was like: Me standing in the middle of the road, desperately waving at the cars passing by to stop and help; the wannabe muggers standing at some distance, watching if any car would stop to help me. Even though I was frantically screaming for help, no car stopped. But cars kept coming, one after other. So the thugs thought it was better for them to leave. And they left. Phew! Then I hired a cab and reached home. Excitement over.

Now, see, whenever I used to read those crime stories in newspapers that how some person got robbed at knifepoint, I always used to think: "Let somebody try to rob me, I'll thrash them alrite!" In my imagination, I have floored these robbers with my Akshay Kumar-like roundkicks and twisted their arms with Bruce Lee-like manoeuvres. In my dreams, I have actually drawn their blood with their own knives (slashed their palms, to be precise)!

Heroic job. Isn't it? And that day, I had a chance to actualise my dream that I have dreamt so often. Imagine, how cool would it have been! The newspapers would have glorified me the next day. The story would have read like this: 
"Two robbers did not know what was in store for them when they tried to rob a journalist. Hemant Gairola (22), who works with a leading English daily, was walking towards his house about 2 am after finishing work at office when two motorcycle-borne youth tried to rob him at knifepoint. However, the young journalist gave those muggers a taste of their own medicine. Hemant, who has formal training in martial arts, vanquished the two robbers with his devastating kicks. He left the robbers writhing in pain, licking dust. He then called the police at 100 and waited till the patrol came and took away the muggers, who were trembling with fear and pain.
The city administration has decided to honour Hemant for his bravery. A teenager who lives in a building where the incident happened captured the whole action on his mobile phone camera. He has uploaded the video on YouTube and it has gone viral. Even Terminator superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger saw the video and has invited him for dinner..."

Man, how cool would that have been! I'd have become a hero overnight! Bah! I missed the opportunity. Well, no crying over spilt milk. Wise men make more opportunities than they get. That's what I thought as I was ruing over the lost chance. So, I decided that after a couple of months, I'll again go by foot at night. But that time, I'll be prepared. I thought I'd resume working out, restart my taekwondo classes. Then, when I'll feel I'm ready, I'll again embark on an adventurous walk. I was planning for a flawless victory in that mortal kombat. Wasn't sure if I should be hiding a sword or a baseball bat under my cloak. Yes, I planned on wearing a long cloak, like Neo did in The Matrix. Muggers, you want some, come get some! I'm a hardcore WWE fan. I'll smash you like an idli. I'll beat you to pulp. Na, chutney.

I was fired up. Then I thought, jaane do. Maaf kiya. Have been commuting only on my bike since then. 

No comments: