Rahul da Cunha: Better to be selfie than sorry

Feb 11, 2018, 07:07 IST | Rahul da Cunha

And so, dear reader, I have some 'street' questions… some road queries. You've seen the city over the years… tell me you've seen this happen. And then help me answer the questions that follow

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

And so, dear reader, I have some 'street' questions… some road queries. You've seen the city over the years… tell me you've seen this happen. And then help me answer the questions that follow.

Circa 1990. So I accidentally grazed your bumper as we both braked in front of a hastily constructed speed breaker.

I got out of my car, you got out of your car, there was obviously some two way annoyance.

I let off some steam, you let off some steam… there was some under -the- breath calling the other guy an idiot, some 'hey hey hoshiyari mat dikhana!'. A bit of paper tiger puffing of the respective chests, some 'who'll blink first', then some pacifying from passers-by, some general exchanging of licences, landline numbers etc. Then perhaps a hasty shaking of hands as the smallness of the accident dawned on one. Then you and I got back into our respective vehicles. Mumbaikars watched this little altercation, a break from the mundane. End of story.

2017. So I accidentally graze your bumper as we both brake in front of a hastily constructed speed breaker. You get out of your car with a, "Hey MC", and I get out of my car with a, "Hey BC… Kisko MC bola, huh?". The die is cast, the stage is set for confrontation.

Blood pressure levels are already hovering around the 150-100 mark and the fight hasn't even reached Round 1.

The tongue lashing begins, the smallness of the bumper graze has been forgotten, as the insults and the shadow boxing begins to get real. Respective egos have been pricked. All logic has been dispensed with.

I slap you, you are insulted, you make a phone call, suddenly from various 'galli-guchis' appear some of your 'men', brandishing knives. The bystanders, start brandishing their phone cameras, poised to shoot the action that is to follow. Obviously I'm outnumbered and obviously there is not a law enforcer in sight, and obviously, my attackers are unafraid that they will be breaking the law, with witnesses. No taking this fight to a darkened alley, let's take this to its logical conclusion, in broad daylight on a busy street, you say. And then my throat is slit, there's blood pouring out, and this is shot on a multi-camera set up. Five hundred Samsung cameras have shot my 'ISIS-like throat slashing'. Rickshaws ride past and cabs, stop, watch and then drive on.

And so I ask, when did 'maara maari' replace the measured-tone argument? When did full on violence become the manifestation for a volcanic eruption? When did road rage shift from a back alley to a busy street?

When did the law just not even become a aspect of crime?

When did we begin to contribute to this urban dystopia? To this moral wilderness?

And when did reality become reality TV?

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

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