Sunday, October 5, 2008
Campus! Part Eight - Strike!!
As the title suggests, this post is about an eventful strike. Well, this is not a strike conducted by us, but by a political party. Since the strike came out of the blue than the usual announced way, no one was aware of it. Well, this happened some 5 years back when I was doing my graduation.
I don't remember the exact reason for students strike, they don't need any particular reasons to have a strike. Our exams were going on at the time and after the exam, we came out of the campus to see a policeman running like an Olympic sprinter. We thought what the hell? 'N soon knew the reason when stones started showering and missed him by a feet or two. It is then that we realized that a strike had started.
Seeing that it may get worse and we had to study for the exam for the next day, we slit up. Except for one of my friends and I, the rest had gone their way. Well, normally, I was not a kind of student who studies daily and had to do only a revision before the exam. On the contrary, my study time was during the study leave that I get just before the exams. So, I cannot afford missing even an hour on the day of an exam. There, I stood in a dilemma. How often do we get a chance to watch a dangerous strike happening right in front of us?
So, my friend and I decided to wait for some time to see some dramatic moments. No sooner, came a bus than the students started hurling stones at it. This bus stopped right in front of us, just 8 foot away, on the other side of the road where we were standing. The passengers started screaming and got out of the bus. The driver too ran for his life. Well, the glasses of the bus got shattered by stones. They stopped throwing stones and came near the bus to throw what they called the petrol bomb.
They threw this into the bus, it exploded with fire all over the bus. This happened a few times until the bus caught fire. We both were watching all this with very great interest. I knew
things will get worse, once the police come to the scene. So, I urged my friend to leave. But he was too much interested in watching all this that he refused. Although, its the main road, no vehicle came that way after this. Things were getting pretty tense that after insisting a lot, he decided to come with me. To
catch the bus home, we had to walk a few kilometers 'coz of the strike and all the roads had been barricaded by the police sniffing for the students responsible. The strike had went out of control and lathi charge had happened some place a bit far from our campus. So, the police were looking for the students who merged into the crowd after the violence.
Here, I need to mention about my friend a bit. He was a nice guy, friendly, soft blah blah.. Only problem? his looks. Yeah, though he was in his early twenties,
he looked some thirty plus. Of course, he was senior to me by 2 or 3 years. But, he had this look of the villain in the Tamil movies with big moustache, bloodshot eyes and a heavy built physique. Well, he came to our college, after completing some course. When I first met him, I was a bit careful in talking to him 'coz he looked like a criminal and his voice had this unusual bass LOL. But, he became friendly with everyone, just like that. His looks never matched his character. So, what was I talking about? Yeah, our journey back home. Well, we both walked as though nothing has happened and we never dared to look at the cops' face fearing that they might suspect us.
While I was walking, one guy in his forties, suddenly came up to me and caught my right hand and turned my palm. I was thinking, WTF? Is this guy, some kind of homo?. What will you do, if someone catches your hand in the middle of a crowd for no reason? Well, I jerked my hand away and asked "what?". He just stood there and glared at me for a few moments and then walked away.
I was standing there wondering what the hell had just happened, when my friend started yelling at me. "you idiot, what did you just do? You think you are brave to behave like that, under these circumstances, to a cop? You are lucky that you got away. You might've brought me in trouble too".
It is then that I realised that the guy was not "just any man" but a cop in civil dress. I think I got away 'coz of my looks too :) It is the opposite about what I said about my friend. Though I was 20, I looked 17 and this looks had helped me a hundred times in various situation. I, sometimes, 'coz of ignorance, behave rudely and get away 'coz they considered me as a kid. I am not kidding, Seriously, it happened not once or twice, but several times. But it had its drawback also.
Okay, back to the story. After his yelling stopped, I told him it is his fault that we had to face these situations. Well, he looked scared where as I looked happy and confident and I wanted to tease him more and more. Well, I have this unusual habit of scary problem. I never get scared when there is a situation in which everyone else is scared and I get scared when there is no reason to get scared. I am not saying I am brave or anything, but sometimes I don't know myself or how my mind works:) We walked a few minutes and came face to face with a group of cops, who came there just after a lathi charge and was happy to see some of us and started checking each and every one.
Guess what happens, if a criminal and a kid get in front of them? Of course the criminal gets caught. That's exactly what had happened. They surrounded both of us. What happened next was really interesting and incredible. The cops' behaved as though I didn't exist there. Can you believe?
Though I too was with him, the cops never even looked at me. They started yelling at my friend asking "Will you *&^%$@@#* burn government properties? You will burn bus, eh? You *&^%$@@#*". They were talking in their usual prison language. The whole scene was filled with tension and danger of getting arrested or tortured by police. My friend was so scared that he started saying "Sir, I don't know, I didn't do. Here is my hall ticket, I had an exam blah blah blah...".
This went on for about 10 minutes and they let us go 'coz another group of real culprits were coming after us and they went after them. Well, my friend looked shattered and what life had left in him was gone when I teased him to death. After all, he was the one who made me wait there. 'N he had teased me about my cowardice. Huh! Finally, who was the real coward?
Well, the one thing I still wonder about is "why did the cops behave as though I didn't exist?".