Since this is a fairly new blog without a picture of its author up, let me tell you good people that I sport a beard, scraggly though it may be.
Good. Now that I’ve told you an intimate secret of my life, I feel up to telling you about something that happened no more than 15 minutes back. I was feeling a bit hungry and decided to walk to a nearby Dosa place to grab a quick bite. While I was going at it, fingers dipping in chutney and all, a couple walked up from behind me and asked to be excused. I moved away and continued eating my dosa, unaware that a small-time communal riot was about to begin.
So, they ordered their whatever-it-was-they-ordered and started filling their tummies. And through the course of these three meals, I felt a couple of eyes, well, eyeing me. So I looked in the direction of newly arrived couple and caught them making a very pinched-nose-and-crumpled-eyebrows face at me. Offended, I asked them what the matter was. But they told me nothing. In fact, they positively ignored me. That, need I say, offended me further. So I took a step in their direction and asked them again why they were making that face at me.
Then, something happened that I’ve never, with all my imagination, been able to think up. The man took an aggressive step towards me, nudging his woman behind with his forearm and yelled, “Ae Musalman! Door raho, samjhe.” (Hey, Muslim. Keep your distance, understood?)
It was now my turn to make a face, a confused one. I asked him if he was out of his mind. Not because I was offended at being called a Muslim. But because he was insulting Muslims all over the world by talking to me in that you’re-an-untouchable kind of tone. I asked him to take it easy and was about to dig into my Dosa again when the wife said, “Please rehne dijiye. Yeh log bohot khatarnak hote hain.” (Please, just let it be. These people are a dangerous lot.) At which, I thoroughly lost what little was still left of my temper and I shot my tongue off at them about how ridiculous they were and how they should grow a couple of brains between the two of them.
Needless to say, a crowd had gathered around us to cheer at the impending fight. And I noticed that not one of them had a beard, not even the men. So I decided not to push my luck much, pay up and get out of there before I was beaten to a pulp for being a Muslim which I actually am not.
But it’s amazing that in these times, we still have people like these. People who believe that Muslims are dangerous, and that they should be asked to keep away in a social setting. Where are we headed? Are we still stuck in the debris of the Babri Masjid? Are we still bleeding from the wounds of the Bombay riots of the 90s? What is it? I clearly can’t seem to understand why we behave so.
Can someone out there give me a plausible answer?