Friday, March 30, 2012

The Curious Case of The Missing Handbag!


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.

Enhanced by Zemanta


74 comments:

  1. What an end to the harrowing tale!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More like a high octane thriller :-)

      Delete
  2. Hey, good things come out of every thing. You have two Androids now. And then the re-union with your bag would be bollywood like. You running in slow motion towards your dear bag, as violins play in the background.
    But seriously, the fight as you say was never for your bag. It was about the apathy that the system shows us because we allow it to walk all over us.
    We can either take it upon ourself to change it or spend a lifetime cribbing about it.
    You can count on my support, Auntius. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I am counting on you. A series of articles will follow soon. Brace yourself for Antius Activist.

      Delete
  3. Great that you got the bag back. Very kind of the banglore guy indeed, and lo your bagwati is famous!
    But yes, nothing changes about Gurgaon though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like things to change Jenny. We can shrug and say Gurgaon is like this only.

      Delete
  4. Ah well .. Alls well that ends well !
    But I agree with you our dignity and rights are taken for granted and personal space infringed all the time ..Unless we do something, this frankestein is going to overpower us - if its hasnt already !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of us are unaware of how to file a police report, the legalities involved. In fact, many of us don't know how to file even an RTI!

      Delete
  5. Here is what happened...

    So glad that this is over, and that too, with a happy ending. It is still hard to figure out why it turned out how it did. Maybe something to do with your raising your voice. Or the 666 followers on your Google Friend Connect the last couple of days. Your points about how we can stand up for our rights is well taken. However, it is also worrisome that the largest majority of Indians do not have a voice. I have seen first hand how the legal and law/order system exploits the poor, uneducated and the disempowered, and it is not a pleasant sight. The incongruence between professed beliefs and actual behavior can be numbing. I feel impotent at times, and often end up believing that the only way out is to reject the system and endorse anarchy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't we already the largest functioning anarchy?

      Delete
  6. Glad to hear this, Miracle has happened , (Sirf Tum) story happened again :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I'll have to watch Sirf Tum to get the reference :)

      Delete
  7. *phew*

    That is a breather!

    Bagwati ki jai ho!

    ReplyDelete
  8. first of all..im so relieved that u got ur bag & purse back.....

    second, yes, we should all raise our voice against injustice...it may not give short term effects but long term ones it does!!

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No issue is trivial and we must always raise our voice.

      Delete
  9. Purba,

    Should I say now Allllll Izzzzzzz Welllll that ends well? However what you say about our system is so very true and we are to blame for it as you said.

    Take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And to survive we need the "right contacts" :)

      Delete
  10. Nice to hear that you'll be getting your belonging back...A happy ending!
    What I felt bad about was the behavior of the officials...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Public servants meant to serve the public yet their behavior is appalling!

      Delete
  11. That is so nice, Bagwati! Glad now you have two phones, two sets of keys:P Miracles do happen...As for the system, what you say is true, we all point towards it but never take a step to cleanse it:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not two set of keys but a brand new lock :)

      Delete
  12. My god! you are so amazingly full of yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Purba, how did the elderly man walk away with a ladies bag? I mean the intention was to steal? Else he could have returned the bag to the security personnel at the next station.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more I think about it, the more bizarre it sounds. I'm waiting for them to return to Gurgaon.

      Delete
  14. great... good to hear that you got your bag and your story published in the PNI aka TOI. And, yeah its really tormenting to get on with this police officials. Better they should have some management lectures.

    Weakest LINK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rather lessons in etiquette :)

      Delete
  15. A curious case indeed! The police is the least helpful of all public servants and that is scary because as you have pointed out, we only go to them as a last resort. Dealing with criminals makes them insensitive and suspicious of everyone. But that doesn't excuse their behaviour. But look at it this way: it all happened for the best. You not only got your bag back but also have become famous, Bagwati Ma :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And from the various accounts I read, I was shocked to find out that one is expected bribe the police to file an FIR.

      Delete
  16. I read your previous post, and I was really concerned where are we heading to? I mean, the police which was a bit glorified in my eyes thanks to the movies, and the newspapers, was too different from the once you and I face everyday. You're lucky that you found your bag, and succeeded in registering the FIR. I don't know if the system which is this corrupted to the core can ever be cleansed of such filth. The kind of dirt which leaves its smell even when you wash off your hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They take advantage of our naivety, our lack of awareness about the procedures involved.

      The first step is to be aware of your rights as a citizen.

      Delete
  17. The incident was really quite horrible. You did great, lady. I totally love your last paragraph. Very apt message for each one of us.

    http://rachnaparmar.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachna, I do plan to do a series after this incident. Most of us are blissfully unaware of our rights as a citizen. Looking forward to suggestions from you as well.

      Delete
  18. Yes it was more about the police apathy. And that cause should be discussed more. Glad you are thinking of doing a series of posts ion this issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better be knowledgeable than sorry.

      Delete
  19. Looks like i missed some adventure. Now trying to find

    ReplyDelete
  20. FInallly... Bagwati.... :P :P :P good ending!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just read your last post.. seriously you must be damn lucky to have found it.
    I have had 2 visits to a police station, one being customary passport verification and the other when an auto banged my car and i chose to travel to a police station to file a complaint. Probably being a man saved me from lot of hassles...
    the sad part is this is not the worst - the system saves it for the unprivileged folks.. who have no voice - online media or offline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's because we are too tired, too busy, too disgusted to raise our voice.

      Delete
  22. Wow glad to know Bagwati is safe. And yes some people can go on and on about your online existence. But humanity still exists and in ways that we only discover through incidents like these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May the good always triumph over the evil.

      Delete
  23. woh kehte hai na Ma'm, ache logon ke saath humesha achaa hi hota hai...and it was proven once again...am so happy for you that you finally got your purse back but the strange thing is how come the old fellow happen to pick a lady's purse bychance or was it not too bagwati but a bagwat that you were always carrying with you? :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Khayal achhaa hai Rahul, maan behlaane ke liye :-)

      Delete
  24. What happened is a rare instance of luck or chance. You rarely get back what is lost or stolen in our country. But about the police, you and everyone else is damn right, they are corrupt to the boot. It may be due to less wages or something else but they are. The people who are in need get harassed everyday by these goons of politicians, they have no idea about forensics, investigation or art of detection. People and media tries to showcase it but thats the damn truth. Although I have to say its a systemic collapse not policing alone and you'll find politicians & bureaucrats at the bottom of it, yet again.
    P.S. - I'm glad you found it and sorry for not being active for months, was too busy on assignments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But we should demand more from our administration. We have put up with ineptitude, corruption and high-handedness for too long.

      Delete
  25. I am glad the bag is back and bow down before the way you handled the entire situation Purba. Had it not been the Bangalorean old man, even then, it would have found its way back to you for the guts with which you created a stir....

    And yes, the larger picture still remains grim...but with people like you and the humble man returning the purse around, there's always hope :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved the picture you painted and it's hope that keeps us alive.

      I am in a militant mood these days, hope it won't subside.

      Delete
  26. i'm glad bagwati is back home where she belongs. i understand the frustrations and the rant. but there is some good power in the universe after all. just imagine losing something and getting it back... that too in India. i think that's a small miracle in itself. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still haven't got my bag back but yes, it has restored my faith in humanity :-)

      Delete
  27. hehe, the story ends happily after all :)
    i think it's a big word we use in our daily lives, "faith in humanity". i has such a vague meaning....
    what is humanity, in such a country, in such a strange time, weird mixture of all things from dystopia(for some) to utopia(for others)? i don't think it means anything, it is not even a concept. the guys who treated you badly at the metro station, they are a reality of this country. the guy who has promised to return your bag is also a part, a reality of this country. both of the kinds exist. i think it's too soon for you to restore your faith in humanity.
    both good and bad people exist in our country. you can't change your faith depending on your encounter with either of them in turns. this country ain't got no humanity, in the strictest 'conceptual' sense as above, it's got people, and they are of all kinds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I feel my city is becoming cold, it's people are becoming selfish. Things are not the same anymore.

      Delete
  28. I came across your post on Gurgaon on Indiblogger today. Some very interesting, poignant and well written posts on social causes there - have been spending a lot of time reading them. If I'd come directly through your blog, I'd've seen this post first. Still, alls well that ends well. I'm happy for you. I agree though that our apathy (due to tiredness, a feeling of powerlessness and a sense of defeat) is the main culprit for most of our ills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So agree with you Khoty. We are mutating into a self-centered race.

      And thanks for taking out time for my posts :)

      Delete
    2. That, I can honestly say, is no problem. I enjoy your posts.

      Delete
  29. Good that you got the bag back and Good of the person to let you know.
    But as you say the point is not that .. the point as you made out in the prebious article still stands how can the people in uniform who are paid to serve the public behave like that , I wonder what will happen to ME if i try that here once .. even if for fun sake ..
    But on lighter note , I will not be doing any of that anymore as I have shifted to a different Dept.. :) much scarier and dangerous but hopefully will never have to find that out :)


    I wish the apathy goes away and people are treated as people.. The problem is that MAJORITY of the people who have had a experience with the police there have the same story to say now that is worrying ...

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is indeed a worrying trend - a police force that does precious little for our safety, demands money to file an FIR, looks the other way when you are in trouble.

      Delete
  30. Thanks God you got your belongings back......a very well written post on social point....there is a message for every reader.

    ReplyDelete
  31. glad to hear of the great find. cheers, and that calls for a party.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I get it back, absolutely!

      Delete
  32. This bag story is full filmy :)..glad u got it back

    ReplyDelete
  33. Well said. But I wonder, people like you and may be myself, would think about raising there voices. But, then,you don't expect everyone to be strong and oppose the Frankenstein. After all, the judicial system, the police, the army, the politicians are there because, 50% of us are weak enough not to raise our voices. I believe, that is exactly why we have these institutions and systems in place.

    But of-course, if someone is not doing their job, someone else should raise their voices. But then, I don't think it's justified to ask everyone to stand up and fight.

    Well, sorry for the serious comment. Here goes one "smiley". :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will not disagree because what you say makes sense. Not everyone can raise her voice, not all of us have the resources to fight for what has been denied.

      But those of us who can, should.

      Delete
  34. Dear dear, who would have thought that a girl with a nice sounding name like Bagwati could raise so much hell! Of course when someone's initials spell PR (and my MBA friends will agree with me), one should know that she really would be good at that Public Relations stuff ;)

    Lame jokes apart, good for you Purrrrrrrba. And glad you got your bageshwari err bag back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! It seems B is in no hurry to get back to PR and wants to make most of her vacation in Bangalore.

      Delete
  35. "zealous fit"?? what does that mean? and why a ladies bag? congrats on getting it back! yes raising voice is v v important..keeping quiet hasnt achieved anything ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately keeping our faith in the system will get us nowhere.

      Delete
  36. Glad you got your purse back! And you're right, the only thing that we can count on is humanity, not the system.

    ReplyDelete
  37. So glad you got back your bag. Nevertheless, it is an eye opener and re-affirms the fact that we must raise our voices when we see injustice.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Really happy that you got your purse back. Are you in Bangalore now?

    ReplyDelete

Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...