This may not be the best image for this post. But then again, we don’t always use images that go along with wat we’re writing, do we? To continue! Last night, a most disconcerting thing happened to me on Bangalore‘s Inner Ring Road. I was on my way back home from work in an auto – which, I recollect, did not display the auto driver’s card as the law requires. On this road comes a dark stretch devoid of street lamps or other buildings. And on days when there isn’t much traffic on the road, it gets lonelier still. Last night was one of those nights.
And as it would happen, the auto driver asked me if it was alright for him to relieve himself. Clearly, not being his master, I said he was free to. Only, it turned out it was me he wanted to relieve. Of my wallet, my watch and my laptop bag. Because in a matter of just 10 seconds or so, he was back with three other men – complete with knives and a short, thick wooden stick.
Truth be spoken, it was a bit scary to be shoved in the face with a knife. So I didn’t offer much of a fight and let one of them grab at my wristwatch. Then I was asked to hand over my wallet. Which also, I did, because there must have been all of 30 rupees in it at the time. That and an old debit card which is so bent out of shape that only I know how to use it.
Finally, they decided they wanted my bag as well. A little foolish something inside me told them that I’d given them enough and I wasn’t going to let them take my bag. The next instant, I saw the stick coming in the direction of my temple. I was able to block if off with my hand – which my sore elbow is still complaining about. Somehow, I managed to swing the bag at them and I believe the laptop inside got two of them on the head. I reckon they were a bit startled and backed off just a step. I found this moment just enough to kick one of them below the belt and make a run for it.
Fortunately, a passing car let me in and dropped me to another auto, the driver of which decided not to mug me.
The point I’m trying to make is, this is a part of the city – a major part of the city – that doesn’t have so much as five working street lamps on the way. And because there are no buildings of any sort around this road, it gets darker still at night. Plus, having patrol vans at only two ends of the road (not every night either) doesn’t exactly help matters.
This is a citizen’s request: Can we please have working street lamps throughout this stretch? And for heaven’s sake, can we have two or three police cars patrolling the empty stretch every night? Or do a thousand of us have to go hold a rally which no one will really care about?