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Stand and stare

Hi. My name is…actually forget it.. no point getting into that…my parents will read my name and get unnecessarily upset. Let’s just say, last October, I was involved in a tragic incident. There was plenty of media coverage at that time, I believe. One paper even gave it a fancy title — THE ANDHERI MURDERS — or something dramatic like that. For a month, they tracked the events in details, and then — boom — one day, it was gone. Public memory is so short and everyone has forgotten. To me it seems as though it happened yesterday. I guess it’s different when you’re the injured party — excuse the terrible pun, because you have a vested interest.


Illustration/ Amit Bandre

I heard that the Chief Minister had promised to fasttrack the case. But it seems nothing has moved. Fast tracks quickly become slow tracks in this city. Anyway, I’m not here to wallow in self-pity, the time for that is long gone. Distance from the event has made me think of it with more objectivity. They say time heals. In retrospect, several aspects of that fateful night upset me. Obviously, the fact that I was outnumbered by 20 armed men and repeatedly stabbed and killed makes me mad. But what truly amazes me is that almost 100 bystanders just watched the attack. They saw me desperately trying to defend my girlfriend and did nothing to help. 

Just imagine — it is 10.30 pm and on a crowded street, a drunken man makes lewd comments at my girlfriend and tries to feel her up. I retaliate and he goes back to his chawl and returns with a gang of 20 goondas armed with swords and cricket stumps. A hundred onlookers watch the gruesome scene unfold like it is a tamasha. I just want to understand why. Were they scared to get involved, did they feel witnesses become culprits in this new cruel Mumbai? Otherwise why would they not shout, scream, or call the police? Or even take me to the hospital when they saw my guts spilling out into the street?

What has also zapped me, since my stabbing, is that instances of such blatant violence have increased, not lessened. I had hoped that my horrific experience would spread awareness and cause a national outrage. Nothing like this has happened. Just a month after my death, some guys started dancing wildly in a cinema house in Malad. When some poor people objected, they were beaten up in the car park and left to die after the movie. In another instance, a disadvantaged girl was raped in the compartment of a train, watched by her fellow passengers.

It seems like today, you can get away with any kind of crime, because you feel no one will stop you, and no law will convict you. What has happened to our city? When did violence become so commonplace that both attacker and audience can be so equally callous? Tell me. Please.

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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