Wrestling the bottom pinchers



The older I get, the more I tend to think I might be immune to eve-teasers (or they to me!). But sometimes that is strictly not true. I have side-stepped this despicable specimen of the human race for several years now by avoiding public transport and getting my own. I largely travel in the safe environment of my own comfort zone, from home to work and the odd visit here or there, these days. So election season has once again given me somewhat of a reality check.

Having just returned from following Ashok Chavan’s campaign trail in the rural hinterland, where I ran into Uddhav Thackeray, I must admit I automatically shrank somewhat as I found myself in the middle of the crush of workers surrounding him.

But the moment his eyes lighted on me and he said, “Arrre, aap kab aye?” there was an almost perceptible shift in the demeanour of those workers who until then had been eyeing me up and down, knowing I was rather out of place in that rural setting. I did not think about it consciously but I knew I was afraid of getting into that crush for the opportunity it might afford those strangers – but now there was suddenly some space, even if no one had moved an inch. So when Uddhav later sent some workers to look for me, I felt quite safe as I stood in the middle of all of them, arguing that I was there to cover the Chief Minister’s campaign and could not simply disappear with the Shiv Sainiks.

It has almost been imperceptible but over the years I have discovered a not-so-subtle difference between Sena workers (and I have slammed saffron leaders a lot in the past) and those belonging to the Congress-NCP. If Sena workers see that you are a friend of one of their leaders, they keep a safe distance from you. It is quite the reverse with the Congress types – they not only want to get close, but getting close takes ugly turns as has happened more than once to me in the past.

The first time was when Sharad Pawar was declared Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1988. I was still rather raw at my job and did not realise how one strange man who had been hanging around Pawar and listening to the conversation that reporters were having with him had followed me to my office, close to the Congress party headquarters in Bombay.

I was working for an agency at the time; it was late evening and most of my colleagues had left for the day (except the teleprinter operators and the subs seated in another room). “I have a reaction to Pawar saheb’s becoming CM,” he said as I looked up – and moved up close, leaving barely an inch between the two of us.

Fortunately for me, an old operator, a fatherly figure, who had been dozing in a corner, jumped at him with a rolled-up newspaper, raining blows on his head and asking, “Who are you anyway, that we should flash your reaction at this late hour?”  And promptly booted him out of the premises. Of course, I never saw him again.

At election rallies, there have been bottom pinchers galore but somehow they never bother you unless they see you talking to the leaders or jumping out of their cars behind them. The last time it happened was at a Pawar rally, I remember, but again I had a saviour – Pawar’s brother-in-law, Padamsinh Patil.

Patil, who is contesting on a NCP ticket from Osmanabad this election, has a reputation for being a mean wrestler and I do not know if he knew what was up as I jostled the crush of workers at the end of the rally. But I saw him throw what I thought was a quelling look at those workers and they parted miraculously, giving me right of way, when he said over their heads, “Come with me in my car, Madam. Otherwise you will be left alone to find your own way back.’’  That “alone” had quite a sinister ring then, I can tell you.

And it happened again – this week, reinforcing my impression that somehow these workers seem to derive some kind of vicarious proximity to their leaders by manhandling women reporters on their trail.

I had attended more than one meeting of Chavan’s and kept a safe distance until the last meeting when I called out to him to say I would be leaving the next morning. No one had paid me any attention until then and despite the fact that I was accompanied by fellow reporters (all male), I wondered how I had got myself into this again. I decided to ignore the outrage and the only reason I am writing this now is because I got blown out my mind at the airport the next day as this complete stranger, a youngish lad, not more than 25, who could not have been a passenger, walked up to me as I was rummaging through my bag for my ticket and said, “You were calling out to the CM last night, weren’t you?”

I was both startled and puzzled and darted a questioning look at him.

“Well, I was right there behind you!”

Huh?

So was he the offender or was he simply an idle onlooker? And why did he want to tell me?

I turned around to ask but he had simply gone.

Now I guess I will never know.

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  • angad lamba

    Kudos to your spirit.
    your blogs are always genuine and fascinating

    [Reply]

    Sujata Anandan Reply:

    Thank you

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  • Hemant Kapre

    I do not have any data ( :-) ) to back this assertion but I strongly believe that many among our moral police are in private, “bottom pinchers” of impeccable standing.

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    Anil Reply:

    Why moral police ? Our actual police force is full of them. Only thing is they don’t get reported so often. One tight slap or a kick in the groin should do the trick.

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    Sujata Anandan Reply:

    You said it!

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    Sujata Anandan Reply:

    Don’t make me name the names!

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    Kushal Reply:

    Go on, name the names!

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    apan Reply:

    maybe you can go the fakeiplplayer route and give them not so difficult nicknames and we can spend our time trying to crack them :)

  • Sana

    Such incidents and the people involved in it can be found anywhere and everywhere. Its nothing to do with a certain category. I believe evil comes disguised in many faces , we just have to keep a safe distance , one never knows who is who.

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    Sujata Anandan Reply:

    How do you keep a safe distance at a rally/public meeting?

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  • http://satiricalcitizen.blogspot.com Rupa Gulab

    Erm, nothing to do with bottom-pinchers (may their tribe decrease!). Just to tell you that I have ALWAYS enjoyed reading your columns. And now that I’ve found you here too, yay!

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    Sujata Anandan Reply:

    Thank you so much!

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  • http://unitechy.com unitechy

    eve teasing you’ll find it everywhere. sad state that is.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mohd-Anas-Khan/100002797725356 Mohd Anas Khan

    This shows Congress is not opposite to Anna Hazare only the way what the choose to solve huge problem in a limited time.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7XVK6BRUJHTBJCDMA6YSIFBUBE Suresh BV Bharadwaj

    Let the Sanatani Indian Aryan, Dravidian, Mongolian & Australoid Indian Hindu, Sikh, Shinto, Tao, Confucian, Buddhist & Jain Swami Rama Krishna Ramdev, Swami Anna Krishna Baburao Bapat Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Santhosh Hegde & India’s PM Manmohan Singh bring back home Indian black money from USA, UK, Switzerland, Indian Children Abducting Norway, & Mainland Europe. Let them also introduce the All India Anti-Corruption Statutory Institution known as Lok Pal to curb & eliminate corruption & also take stringent punitive actions against Octavio Quattrocchi, George Fernandez, Richard Nixon & the European American Christian David Headley, the executor of the Mumbai terrorist attacks. George Fernandez made lots of Indian Defense Compromising Corruption Money in the procurement of coffins to carry the dead bodies of Indian soldiers. George Fernandez, the bête noir & chief tormenter of India’s PM Indirani Priyadarshini Gandhi was scandalously made the Defense Minister by Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had, at the time of India’s Bangladesh victory in 1971, described Indira Gandhi as Sanatani India’s Hindu Goddess Durga Kali Mata. In 1971, Indira Gandhi was described as a ***** & Indian men were described as sons of ******* by the Non-Aryan, European American Protestant Christian Quaker President Richard Nixon, who instructed USA’s more than 150 intelligence agencies, USA State Department (now under the control of the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who was insulted, rejected & downsized by her sex-addict & serial sex-offender husband & USA European Protestant Christian & Half-Irish President William Jefferson Clinton in their own white House residence. Even as Hillary Rodham Clinton was in the USA President’s White House, her husband was coolly having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Even as Bill Clinton was on phone talking to UK queen, Norway king, French President & European Christian missionary Theresa, Bill Clinton was having oral adulterous sex with Monica Lewinsky in USA President’s office in Washington D.C.) & the USA Remote Body Area Networks, Mind Reading Networks & Mind Control Networks operating in USA Embassy in New Delhi, in other Asian countries & the rest of the world, to monitor, manipulate, body read, body control, mind read, mind control, harass, humiliate, insult, harm & kill India’s PM Indira Gandhi. The Half Indian the Half Iranian Rajiv Parsee Iranian Shia Muslim Firoz Jehangir Nawab Ghandi was body & mind monitored, manipulated, read & controlled by the USA & European Remote Body & Remote Mind Control Networks to get near, compelled to have sex with & marry a Non-Aryan, European Italian Roman Catholic Christian low-educated & wine, beer, vodka, rum, gin, whiskey & intoxicating alcoholic liquor serving & non-vegetarian food such as cow beef, sheep mutton, chicken white meat, sea fish & chicken eggs serving London Bar Waitress Sonia Antonia Maino, the family friend of the European Italian Christian Octavia Quattrochhi.

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