Something happened yesterday to a defenseless guy in the village I moved from in Spain that has me spitting a bit of fire. Friends back home are trying to sort out the best next steps to take but I am thousands of miles away and I don’t feel like waiting, so here we go!
Bullies are countless and populate the globe from corner to corner. Personally, it’s not my style of parenting or management or how I engage in my personal relationships – or deal with the Airtel workers like so many ladies here! My dad always said “you can catch more flies with honey than dog shit” so I’ve stuck to that. But I do know that it is a way of life for many. In fact, I have an ex who is a bully and it has been traumatic for my family at times dealing with him. For some, maybe it is poor upbringing, unhappiness in one’s life, something in their DNA or a chemical imbalance. Who knows! But those men and women are not fun to be around at work or home or anywhere or else when they are in ‘bully’ mode.
Story #1: I recently saw a man on the street in Bangalore absolutely beating the daylight out of (I assume) his wife in plain sight and in front of dozens of people. She stood there and absorbed blow after blow, while trying to protect herself as much as possible. I was absolutely shocked that no one stepped in to end the violence. I don’t want to go too deep into thinking about WHY and the cultural acceptance of this practice here. What I will say is that in Spain and the U.S. people beat their wives indoors ‘behind closed doors’ because I can guarantee that it would be broken up in a heartbeat by bystanders otherwise. Then that person would automatically be arrested and fined or sentenced for his crime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not abdicating violence as a pastime or new hobby in the home but I’m still a bit in shock that I witnessed something so brutal in broad daylight with man after man passing by and doing nothing. According to Shiva, women will also attack their husbands in certain classes of people here too in broad daylight. And he confirmed that more than likely people would just stand by and watch as no one interferes with marital issues – even violence.
Story #2: On a softer bully note, I have a personal tale. When we first moved into our new flat a short time back we were the first and only occupants in a building that had just finished being built. In fact, the first six weeks we were alone here but no longer. The neighbors on the ground floor have moved in (we each have the entire floor) and brought their dog along with them, a golden retriever. Well, it’s not actually the family’s dog so much as the son’s dog who looks to be in his late 20s, a big guy and with a somewhat tough guy image. Aside from him I’ve only met his sister who is very sweet.
Well, since our neighbours are Muslims they cannot have the dog inside their flat for religious reasons so the owner (the son) chains him up down in our common area at the entrance to our building and has obliged the security staff to look after him. I’ve tried to speak to him once, the building owner has spoken to the family for hours explaining that they are breaking the community rules and must stop. This has been going on for WEEKS now and I am soooo tried of it. The son doesn’t appear to give a flying flip about what any of us say and is refusing to take their dog to their country house or give it away.
What annoys us is that we are woken up all the time by the dog, delivery guys refuse to pass by it … and trust me, when my daughter and I are in lazy mode the last thing we want to do is slip on shoes and go down and fetch our own biriyani or shawarmas! On top of that I have friends who make me walk down to accompany them in and out of the building because they don’t like dogs. Even worse than that is how we feel about the dog, chained up all day, lying next to his own pee and obviously starving for attention. The other family members don’t spend time with him or play with him so he is alone. In the scheme of life it’s not a huge deal but if this guy wasn’t a “tough guy” my guess is that the dog situation would have been handled already.
Story #3: I want to share something that inspired today’s post. Back home yesterday in Sitges something occurred that honestly doesn’t surprise me but is thankfully being brought up through various channels. There is a rough, low-brow guy from the UK living in the village who started up a tourist website many years ago that quickly became a big success. When I was in between startups back then I actually worked for him and his partner for a couple of months promoting the business around town to keep me busy as I looked for a job. When I stopped working for them – because he was terrible to work for and I simply didn’t want to do it anymore – he didn’t take it well. It’s a small village and he went around town telling everyone I had taken money from them so they fired me. But the funny thing is that most of those business owners he tried to convince I embezzled had known me for years, we had worked on charity events together and they weren’t fools. They all told me the rumours he was spreading and that they knew it wasn’t true but to stay on his good side they didn’t elude differently to him. I tried to laugh it off because he has a temper and I didn’t want to confront him – even though we had both signed a piece of paper that they insisted on drafting so that I couldn’t say anything negative about them, something along the lines of “we’ve decided to go our separate ways and we wish each other the best”.
Well, within a couple of weeks he did take it to the next level and proceeded to bully me and got physical twice. He slammed a laptop lid down on my hands as hard as he could once at a restaurant while I was typing and then another time he roughly squeezed my arm and threatened me by whispering in my ear that he was going to hit me. When I laughed at him and said “yeah, right… like you are going to hit me in front of all these people” he stood there, realised I was right I suppose and then grabbed his drink and threw it in my face and walked away. Not a nice guy.
And my story is mild. There have been dozens upon dozens upon dozens of incidents like mine. The travel site they have is really well done so businesses want to collaborate with them for their traffic. Period. I’ve never heard one kind word spoken about him in six years. Everyone makes fun of him and puts up with him because of the website traffic they want a piece of but… things might be changing.
There is a village drunk back home in Sitges who is affectionately called Trini and who is generally a harmless little guy who just wanders around, occasionally growling. Even my daughter has been growled at a few times by Trini she just told me with a bit of reminiscent affection in her voice. That is the general way everyone from the village is about him. Well, yesterday he was attacked by this same low-class website guy who went after me a few years back, we’ll call him MR. F. Normally Trini is quite mild but from what I’ve heard he was seen being quite antagonistic last night (something I was told by a friend who was sitting outside, nearby to where the incident took place). None of my friends know exactly what verbal rhetoric Trini said to set off Mr. F but nothing can excuse the physical violence that happened next. Here is what has been posted by a friend of mine:
“In the street in front of several terraces that night, the cruel and pathetic character related to the night photography of our people ….attacked Trini by a blow to the head, causing him a lot of pain resulting in a blackout. Severe pain was caused by impact with the pavement. When the ambulance arrived, they tried to assist with first aid and stop the bleeding on the side of his skull while local police tried to collect data on the facts, trying to locate the wrongdoer. When they found him later, away from the victim, they continued an investigation of the events. This gentleman – even drunk – was not arrested tonight.” Trini could have been killed.
Today Mr. F is just a pathetic bully, a man who physically assaults women and defenseless people like Trini, and who disrespect the peaceful life in Sitges. Just like the man who was wailing on his wife on the streets of Bangalore. What if next time they hit their victim a little harder? How are the police in Sitges turning a blind eye to the most recent stunt of Mr. F? Hopefully my friends and other concerned citizens will step in and be a voice for Trini and ensure that good wins out over evil this time.
As for my guy, Mr. Dog Owner…. Obviously I’m not comparing apples to apples against the other two bullies from my article but he’s definitely cheesed me off and I’m about to go take legal action because it’s insane that we are being bullied in our own home. And after hearing all about Trini today I’m up for a bit of a fight for justice. Just like my friends back home ….
© 2012 Angela Carson, Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore