By Aswani Dravid
It was a perfectly normal day for us until we got assaulted.
No, I was not wearing revealing clothes. No, it was not dark. And no, we were not alone.
It was broad daylight, in the evening, on the crowded seaport-airport road in Kochi, in front hundreds of people, whose responses will put even stones to shame.
Around 4.30 pm on September 15, my male friend and I were on our way to a shop. It was the third day of Onam, and there was no other vehicle on the road. As we began to cross the road, a white Etios car suddenly came at us. We stepped back and yelled at the driver. Then, we went on our way. A few minutes later, the driver returned and began to abuse us. For about 100 meters we walked hurriedly, ignoring their verbal abuse. Then the driver jumped out of the car and groped me. When my friend Shambhu defended me, he slit my friendâ€™s hands with a knife and threw him to a 10-metre-deep pit. The passenger stood on the side, watching.
Hearing my loud cries and their roars, large crowd gathered on the road watching the â€śinteresting show.â€ť
Shambhu was bleeding profusely and I was nearly fainting as my blood pressure dropped. We dialed 100 and the line was coming busy. What a wonderful system of policing that is. Google did not know the numbers of nearby police stations too.
By this time, I begged the other man (passenger) to take the driver away. He went over to the driver and dragged him away.
A young chap crossed the road and helped us into an auto. We reached a nearby hospital and obtained medical help. Shambhu sustained three deep cuts on his palm and wrist and had to have nine stitches. I had multiple nail marks on hands and my arms were swollen.
Police reached the hospital and we told them the details of the car. The attackers were speeding in a white Etios car. At every nook and corner of this City, there are CCTV cameras. Around every corner police check for helmets, licenses and registration books. How then, could two drunken men roam so free and wild on the roads of Kochi?
They attacked us. In all my life, I have never seen a person so aggressive. That 6-foot tall hefty man (driver) was like a raging fireball. So aggressive and scary! Even though we suffered a lot, we could forget this incident. But as responsible citizens of this world, how can we sleep peacefully knowing that he is out there on the streets? If this is what he did to us without any provocation, wouldnâ€™t our silence make him stronger? Wouldnâ€™t the same or more happen to another person? It was sheer luck that the weapon missed Shambhuâ€™s veins. Do the police know the gravity of this attack?
Shambhu in hospital
Why do we need a Soumya or Jisha to start raising our voices? Why hasnâ€™t a single person come to our help when we were screaming in pain? Since we are Malayalees, we believe in teashop activism, donâ€™t we?
Aswani Dravid is currently a research scholar in Department of Political Science, Kerala University and Shambhu Sajith works as Business Analyst in Sutherland Global Services.