Small-hearted and thick-headed people don’t realize what they are up to and create trouble for you … sometimes unintentionally … but often intentionally as well. Then you need to take utmost care in how you communicate with them. This is often difficult to achieve, especially without any experience. With my limited experience, what I can say is:
1. Be a good listener: If you listen well, you can tell what exactly is bugging these persons. Of course, often there’s no time to do that, when they just launch a frontal attack. If that happens, you need to have done a course or two in martial arts. At other times, you can listen to find out what exactly they are looking to achieve. Then on, just use your negotiating prowess.
2. Having listened, look for chinks in the armor: A human being (provided he/she is about as human as is the norm) is motivated by two key conditions: fear and incentive. If handing over some cash is a feasible solution, try that. But that doesn’t promise to work when the opponent is armed or far bigger than you are. Martial arts again, perhaps?
Ahmedabad-Baroda Expressway Incident: I once gave a hike in my car to a policeman. I did not charge him anything, but he let us through the toll booth without payment, then demanded that I pay him. I told him that I did not run a business of ferrying people, I had recently bought the car because my work as a journo warranted frequent travel. That worked amazingly. He never once mentioned the money again, and got off the car all smiles. I wrote a blog post to record that incident the very same night. Here’s the link:
Mumbai Incident: At Mumbai, as I was standing in a queue (I was just out of college and working at my new job as a lecturer at a local college), I noticed two fingers creeping into my shirt pocket from behind, cleverly holding the INR 50 note in my pocket. I clamped my right hand onto the pocket and fingers and launched into a tirade against the culprit. This was a foolish thing to do, considering he could have had accomplices nearby. I got off without a scratch and without losing that note, however.
Baroda Incident: A long time before the other two incidents took place, I did get manhandled by politically connected hoodlums, smack in the middle of the altar of education, the M.S. University, Baroda. I was one of a group of students comprising both boys and girls, my classmates. I never found the girls the least bit attractive, to be honest. Some hoodlums on the campus did, it appears. When I passed them through a door, they caught hold of me and started a physical assault – for what precise reason I still don’t know.
Here, I had absolutely no time to understand what irked them. They said nothing to provide a clue. One of the goons had political connections, I was told, so no one at the university had the guts to do anything about it after the incident. They usually don’t.
I can think of some people today who just might have sponsored or instigated the attack, but that would be mere conjecture. I tried checking out this man later on, but I had no luck. Hope to see him one day. (I am just observing netiquette, my true feelings aren’t quite as lame.) There are a few others as well that I expect to encounter again. We’ll see then.
Imagine, after being manhandled in my own hometown, I still had the guts left to go hollering after and threatening and emotionally manipulating thieves of all shapes and form. Not that it’s a big deal. In fact, it just might be quixotic on my part. I was never one to care, however.
There is now a translation here, of the original experience into a maturity and prowess that offers ideal defense!
Sometimes you might have to just act on impulse, on the spur of the moment. But to you, my reader, I’ll simply say:Be extremely careful of the goons that threaten your health, wealth, peace, and life. Eminent Indian playwright, Vijay Tendulkar, had a very interesting take on the issue when I spoke to him about it. He said simply, “Some trees will be uprooted, twisted, or torn asunder by the storm, some others will bend. You take your pick.” Great words I’ll never forget.
Personally, I feel there is no need to chicken out of every encounter. Yet there is always a very real, social, and personal need to be tactful about it.
These are outsiders who attack you, imagine your plight if your own men turned against you. I repeat, be ever tactful.
Take good care of yourself!