Thursday, 27 October 2011
There’s this guy called Keenan Sentos who was killed when he and his pals objected to some drunken mawalis teasing their lady friends. This happened in Mumbai, and crime happens every hour in the city, so this is nothing really sensational.
However, the incident set me thinking, because this sort of a thing can happen to any one of us in public places. No one knows for sure what really transpired at that paan shop in Andheri, but we know this much: The group was waiting for their paans to be prepared. A couple of drunkards teased the girls in the group. The men objected, and either abused or slapped the drunkards. The drunkards returned with a large gang which attacked and killed Keenan, apart from injuring his male friend. Thankfully, the girls got away unharmed.
Question is: What is the learning from this tragedy for the rest of us? What exactly went wrong? Should we not protect and stand up for women with us? Of course, we must. That’s a given. A chap may wimp out, out of fear, but it will torment his conscience forever. At least that’s the traditional view point. So where did Keenan & gang go wrong? Frankly, I have no answers. And hindsight is always smart, but to live in the moment is another story altogether.
Still, here’s what’s buzzing in my head: When a drunken man teases your female partner/pal, there’s really no point in attacking him. The man is not in his senses, and is capable of any sort of reaction. The idea should be to move away from the scene as quickly as possible. Is moving away a sign of cowardice, should not a man take some direct action against the offender? Not really. I think for a man, the first responsibility is to get the woman with him into a safe zone. Her safety is paramount. If this is tantamount to escaping a volatile situation, so be it. Make no mistake about this: Any man who takes panga with sozzled mawalis is compromising the safety of women with him. And there’s nothing macho about that.
Two, after having fobbed off the drunkards, Keenan and his pals continued to wait for their paans. Now, however out of the world the paan might be, doesn’t it make sense to quickly leave the area? To get away from a place of potential conflict? Isn’t continuing to hang around there a sign of recklessness?
Like I said, I don’t know the answers. If you do, you are welcome to share. I am only thinking aloud. Because while Keenan’s death is irreversible, it must serve as an example for all of us so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes.