Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good night and take care... (just a bad dream)

Last week, we heard the tragic news of an attack that left my grandaunt fatally wounded and my granduncle fighting for his life. Someone broke into their house in Lucknow and bludgeoned them to death, even as my cousins slept in a room next door. I am still unable to come to grips with the absurdity of this violence. Did someone go this far only to "decamp" with a few thousands worth of cash and gold? What did such a docile, retired and charming couple do to deserve such a ghastly end?

Today my dad called to say that a cabbie for Wipro BPO suddenly accosted him in Pune and accused him of bashing into his cab. As evidence, he pointed to the missing rear-view glass. Oddly enough, there was not a scratch on dad's car and neither did he experience any "contact". The behaviour and circumstances of the accusation pointed to a well-planned extortion attempt. Thankfully, the cabbie was forced to retreat when the security and other people from the apartment complex came around to support dad.

Under the trying circumstances, dad did not think to take the cab's number or driver details. He did, however, note the ID card details of the other person in the cab. He did not look very presentable but carried a Wipro employee ID card. We thought the matter was closed and all's well that ended well.

At 10 in the night, the cabbie landed up at the doorstep of this old couple. What kind of security we pay for, that allows anyone to merely walk up 5 floors late at night, is a separate post. How the cabbie discovered where my dad lived is another scary thought. But there he was. Once again, dad decided not to get intimidated by someone clearly out to play the aggressor. Once again, a bit of yelling and crowd-gathering made the cabbie beat a retreat. Once again, the shaken parents did not get his details or even a cell-phone mug-shot. They just shooed him away and locked themselves in.



It is now past midnight. I am 1000 miles away from those who protected me all their lives. The people I love most in this world are asleep in the next room. The people I love more than most are, probably, tossing in their beds... their hearts skipping a beat at every rustle and noise in the darkness. All I can do is... nothing!

In India, going to the cops is worse than facing the mafia-- so that is not an option. The only security is anonymity. Today, my parents lost their cloak of invisibility. If the person was indeed from Wipro, we are hoping a call to their helpdesk will sort it out in the morning. If he was a ruffian posing as a cabbie, will we live in daily fear of his footsteps? His visit to the house was a clear message.

In the best case, he will take the cash tomorrow and leave us alone. In the best case, he will damage our car and leave us alone.

Until then, a most peace less night awaits us all. This is the land where I pay taxes and cast my vote. Yet, in this land petty goons are free to behave larger-than-life because, let's face it, it is THEIR representatives that we vote to power. As my favorite comic book says: Who will watch the watchmen...?

Even the most nastik of us, at such times, can only say: Please God, make this go away....

Update 24hrs later: We have found the cab number is MH 12 DT 1638. Once we sent that information to Wipro BPO, they confirmed it was one of their fleet. Just knowing that is such a relief! Many thanks to Mr.Mirza, the HR person who went above and beyond to assist us during the entire dreadful episode.

We are now waiting for the cabbie to arrive and take his money, and leave us alone.

Epilogue:
While this story seems to have a happy ending, maybe there is still a moral in this. Especially for the brave-hearts managing the runaway population (I won't say 'menace') of call-center cabs on our streets. We spent 2 anxious days because a foul-mouthed person invaded our home. Irrespective of who is at fault, intimidating an elderly couple in their own house at midnight is just not OK. Instead, cabbies should be instructed that in case of minor accidents, the matter be reported to transport coordinator. Let them take it forward with some decency and professionalism. In the absence of regulation and law, it is up to the BPOs to display sense of social responsibility.



Thanks for all your prayers and best wishes. Hopefully tomorrow morning this will just be a bad dream...

21 comments:

indianhomemaker said...

This is really sad and shocking. Please accept my condolences. I hope your grand uncle recovers soon.

I think (and hope) the cabbie was just trying his luck. If he realises that he can't scare them, he would leave them alone.

indianhomemaker said...

This is really sad and shocking. Please accept my condolences. I hope your grand uncle recovers soon.

I think (and hope) the cabbie was just trying his luck. If he realises that he can't scare them, he would leave them alone.

Momo's Ma said...

oh god.i am numb with shock. whats happening. ur folks r the most peaceful people i know n ur dad the thorough gentleman. cant believe the cabbie had the nerve to come back. pls get it reported asap. lemme know if u need help. vibha is in pune tom at wipro only. n the piece abt the attack in lucknow, its just too bizarre. god bless all n hoping for a speedy recovery.

Monika said...

omg cant believe this... what is the world coming too?

I am shocked... both the incidents are scary and all our prayers are with u

littlediva said...

OMG!!This is insane..how can someone harm a helpless couple..?And how did the cabbie discover where your dad lives..It is scary..I can imagine,how restless you guys must be.
Prayers sent ur way

Suhas said...

Very sad and utterly deplorable attack & robbery on grandaunt and uncle. In Mumbai too bad people keep watch on old people homes as they are easy targets.

What happened to Papa was surprising - have never heard such a incident. Hope it ends at that.

Sandeep said...

This is both sad and terrible news. I hope your gran uncle recovers soon.

It is true that we all live in a society which is really "Jahil" or uncivilized.

To your papa, let me know if I can be of any help in Pune for him.Whether we believe it or not this sometimes we need to give the benefit of doubt and report the incident to police.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

I am so horrified I don't even know where to begin.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss. May their sould rest in peace.

I pray that the ruffian is caught and taken into police custody. May your parents safe!

BabaJain said...

Tks all of you. The matter is resolved and turns out that the people involved are what they claim. This itself is a big relief.

It is another matter that the so called accident has not happened with my car, but I can appriciate Wipro's problem in trying to control their cabbies.

I reliase that I am a small defenceless person, hence am grateful for the fact that the issue is getting closed by paying such a small price.

Don't make me cry by your sadness. We have lived our life to the hilt and have no regrets.Destiny is a concept which comes very handy in such circumstances.

You will be repaying us in full, for the care we took of you, by taking care of Kabir & co to follow. This para should be quoted when the time comes. Ensure that they are guilt free always.

Your being there is all we want. God Bless and be happy.

DON'T MAKE ME CRY EVER.lOVE YOU

eve's lungs said...

Just saw this on a link . It is really shocking . What a relief that the matter with your parents was sorted out . Condolences on your great uncle and aunt .

Vidooshak said...

Thanks for your best wishes people. The matter seems to have been sorted out. We had lots of help from HR at Wipro and hopefully, they will ensure such incidents don't repeat with others.

Avanti Sané said...

Horrified to hear this...
hope your aunt and uncle are recovering..am glad that the car thing got sorted out. ..I can imagine how disturbing this all must have been to you...dont worry...this too shall pass..

WhatsInAName said...

Gosh! Just saw the link in FB. I can imagine your helplessness and the frustration. You are so right that anonymity is the only cloak we have to protect ourselves in India.
Glad that it all ended well. Hope your granduncle and aunt are recovering.

Just Like That said...

Please accept my condolences.

And I hope your Dad has heard the last of that cabbie and associates.

Jigyasa said...

The Cabbie problem is growing each day. I stay in Gurgaon.....another BPO hub and the situation is at times similar. I would not generalize it for all but yes, man of them are absurd & think aggression will help them rule the common man. The situation is upsetting!!

My wishes for your grandparents. They truly deserve a peaceful & pleasant life.

Swaram said...

Gosh! This is so shocking. I have to be thankful that our house was burgled when we were away. Scary to think of the results if we happened to be @ home!
Who is gonna answer our qs though :(

Swati said...

sad state of affairs ..seriously sad ...why shd we pay when you did not do the accident ...because safety is more important to us than money...but its indeed so disheartening :( I hope your parents stay safe :(

BabaJain said...

It is with profond sadness I wish to record here that my Mamiji could not survive the attack. May her soul rest in peace.

My Mamaji is still in critical conition and doctors are not very hopeful. Maybe the collective prayer of all of us can bring him back.
God Bless.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Very sad and angry to hear this news... its ridiculous that inspite of having security, the person managed to infiltrate the apartment complex and went all the way to the apartment...

My condolences for your greataunt and my prayers for your greatuncle.. I hope he recovers to good health soon...

What you suggest about the way minor accidents should be dealt with is correct... However most of the times the errant driver tends to lose his job and his reputation and is reprimanded severely by the company, sometimes even losing his job... This absurd punishment is what prompts such drastic actions for even small incidents...

Vidooshak said...

Once again, thank you for all the good wishes. Things are OK now and we hope they stay that way :-)

BabaJain said...

My Mamaji could not survive the attack. MAY THE SOUL OF BOTH OF THEM REST IN PEACE.

My matter appears to be closed also.

Thanks everyone for your support. It helped.