The Infidel

There are times I wonder the vastness of life and the gravity each situation presents to us. We are here today and gone tomorrow. The knowledge of our existence and the very thing that binds us together will be lost when we walk out of our homes. I too woke up one morning to go on one such adventure that would bring out the best in me. The cheery weather and the stimulating chirping of the birds made me a happy person.

I did not know how and when did I decide to embark on an adventure to the other side of town, but I did wake up one morning to bring a change that is most needed today- A change of Mindset! There was the usual hustle around the house early in the morning and everyone was gearing up for work or school. I too was getting ready to go to that one place where every ‘good family’ dreads to step in. We all talk about it in our conversations however it is a deep mindset that is perceived by us thanks to our vehement society. No one knew what I was going to do that day as I wanted it to come out as an adventure that no one had ever dared talk about as well.

‘The Other side of Town’ as people preferred calling it was a place where most of the innocent lives were lost in earning their way through misery. Many gory stories had been written about the happenings of the place however I do not know how I did get the courage to see it for myself. I maybe stupid now that I am doing it, however the idea just never left me! Amidst all those thugs and goons, prostitutes and brothels, I had heard good stories about some bright people who were just caught up in the wrong place under wrong influences. These innocent lives is what actually drove me to see the place and experience its living surroundings.

I did catch a ride that day a little away from the place as I did not want to alarm anyone nor did I want to take my car in fear of being followed! When I finally did reach there, the image in my mind was almost immediately cleared. What I imagined of the place and what it actually turned out to be was at the very least 80% different. Venturing into the gullies of the Other Town I realized those were very normal people going about their daily chores like any other part of town. Children playing and many going to school as well! Women doing their daily duties and men… Ok I would not want to get that far now! The atmosphere looked almost as normal as it should be. I spoke to a few people staying there and they told their stories of how they landed up here and it was actually heartening to see them speak so beautifully and warmly to me. Some made me cry as well!

But as you know every basket of apples has its rotten ones as well; similarly there were a few troublemakers who knew nothing of peace and togetherness. All they ever bothered about was the gang that was doing well and what they were up to. Unfortunately for me, that day was probably the most crazy as well as dreadful one that I may live to see. I was appalled at the reason one would take up fighting- a young teenager belonging to “one gang” was not allowed to borrow a Thali (food) without paying for it. The enraged teenager abused the shop owner and vowed to bring him down. After a couple of minutes the tragedy unfolded in front of my very eyes- few guys with sticks brought the entire shop down, destroying anything and everything along the way. The wiff of this ugliness reached the ears of the “other gang” and there broke out a fight that actually could have been avoided.

Now you do not want to be part or witness to anything that happens in these parts of town as no one actually bothers or cares whether people here live or die! As the drama unfolded, I was flabbergasted at the mindset of the people, who on one hand could see what was happening but then decided in their better wits to sit and watch and probably throw in a fire here or there. I was hopeful to escape this untoward mental trauma at the earliest thinking it was against my better judgement to come here. As I began to make my way, through the way that I could see, I realized there was someone following me. No sooner had I reached the end of the gully, a hand grabbed me and pulled me back. With an object pointed from behind, I had lost all my energy and hope to make it through here. True to the word of lady luck, I lost my life trying to bring out the best in the people and the parts that will probably be forgotten along the way.

When I was ushered into a hospital, there were voices that said ‘I wonder what her husband would think’, ‘She was out of her wits to venture in such dangerous terrains’, ‘She may be seeing someone and that’s why she must have gone there’, ‘I pity her husband who has given her and their children so much and yet she may probably never be able to give back anything’, ‘Do you think she is an Infidel!’ … That was probably the last straw that broke me down into a thousand Me’s!

My adventure that day not only cost me my self worth and living, but I witnessed the mindset of the people who probably did not know me and nor did they care. A hollow mindset that cannot be changed easily but can be pushed to believe that everything around them is true. I may never be able to tell my story the way I saw the it; the unfortunate lives and some good souls who reached out to me when I was lying there, but the thing that would probably leave me with a feeling of guilt – Was I really an Infidel!