My purse wasn’t stolen after all. After 30 harrowing hours of running around, frantic phone calls and crusading online, a gentleman called up from Bangalore to say that my purse was in his possession. He was apologizing profusely on behalf of his 70 year old father, who had walked off with my purse in a zealous fit. I didn’t have the heart to haul him up for the trauma, the money spent on new locks and a new mobile. He came across as earnest. Sounding from a humble background he could have easily walked off with the cash and mobile and thrown my purse in a nearby dump yard. He didn’t.
I am relieved that my handbag didn’t fall in wrong hands. The thought that my most personal belongings, details and contacts could be in a slimeball’s possession was far from edifying.
On a lighter side my bag is a celebrity now. But I do have to sort out a few things with her, when she finally gets back. Walking away with a random stranger is simply unacceptable.
The Times of India covered her mistress’s travails in its city section. And her mistress just got a new name- Bagwati. Doesn’t she love it!
Bagwati is just like the average woman next door. She lives for her family, survives on love and worries about the trivialiest thing. But God forbid, if someone messes with her, she raises hell; the policeman who leered at her and refused to take her seriously, the CISF personnel at the Metro station who insisted that she didn’t walk in with a bag in the first place. Her integrity was doubted and she fought back like a wounded tigress. She tweeted about her travails and blogged about her disenchantment with the system that treats the victim like an accused. The response she got was overwhelming. An ordinary citizen’s fight for her dignity struck a chord somewhere.
Now that my story might have a happy ending, does it diminish the ugly side of Gurgaon? No it doesn’t.
It was never about my missing purse. I mean, this is India: children get raped and burnt, a man spends his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit while a terrorist gets fat on Biryani. Our PM doesn’t speak a word while the elected loot our nation’s resources. The issue here is the common man’s disenchantment with the system. A Police force, that gangs up against the victim rather than perpetrator. As if it is a crime to raise your voice and file a complaint.
Agreed it’s an overstressed, under-paid force that sees the worst of humanity every day. But that doesn’t mean you question my intentions, deny me dignity and treat my complaint as a frivolous rant. Not every man is a criminal, not every woman is a liar.
When in trouble, police is our last resort. We are used to living Ram-bharose all our lives! We know we are on our own and our security is our headache. But does it mean we keep quiet and take all the shit that’s handed to us with a shrug and a sad smile?
Let me tell you, someone, somewhere is always waiting to snatch away your rights, infringe upon your personal space and trample all over your self-worth. Don’t ever let that happen. You have a voice, never shy of using it. Raise hell, spread the word and write about it, if you can. Never underestimate the power of social media. Look what it did for me. The whole online community rose in my support, re-tweeted my story and shared my anguish. I’m so proud to be part of it.
The system may have let me down but my faith in humanity was restored.
I have a voice and if you dare mess with me, I will raise it to F sharp and give you a headache that will last a lifetime. Use it to change a system that constantly lets you down. It’s convenient to criticize but tough to come out of our comfort zone to work towards a Utopian state, we all seek. But this state of ineptitude and rot we so love to loathe, feeds on our apathy. This Frankenstein is our creation and it’s up to us to fight and destroy it.
It’s not about me, it’s about us.