Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Pepper Spray Story...

Yesterday's topic at RJ Kanmani's show was "Should we use pepper spray in Chennai?" - Well good question. I didn’t really listen to the answers but immediately drifted away into my own Pepper Spray Story! I used to carry Pepper spray in my bag when i was in the US.
I was staying with a couple of girls in a shared apartment and had my colleagues staying in and around the same area. One of my friends who helped me find the apartment was finally wrapping up his tasks at work and was getting ready to get back to India. In order to give him a good farewell another common friend invited both of us for dinner. In the evening after work, we walked to our friend's place and settled down when suddenly he remembered that he had to pick up his last set of clothes from the nearby laundry. He promised to be back in ten minutes! All of us started setting up the dinner table and waited for him to arrive. 10 minutes became an hour but no sign of him. His phone was not reachable and we waited impatiently!
He came back after 2 hours, sick! His eyes swollen, wounds on his cheeks, his stomach was hurting bad and his cuts on the face were bleeding! He was MUGGED! The laundry was in the parallel road and 2 huge guys had attacked him while he was returning and tried to take away his purse and cell phone! He started screaming for help and the more he screamed, the more they punched him. Finally somebody spotted him on the road and called 911. The 2 guys fled after they got what they wanted and left him stranded on the road. The Cops and ambulance arrived soon and he went through emergency medication and filed a police complaint.

All of this happened at the door step of my friend's house and none of us heard it or saw it!

We freaked out and were in a state of shock. We lost our hunger and all we could think of is his safety! We booked a cab from her place to his place (which is the parallel road again). We had no courage to walk on that road in the dark again! Everybody around us looked suspicious (the Cab driver included)! I dropped him home and went to my place, Shivering with fear in cold weather!
We went to the nearby hospital next morning, got him checked and confirmed no severe injuries and bid him farewell at the airport! I must mention, the entire team in the US called and checked on him (Including our CEO). It was heart filling to see the care people showed around us.

I was strictly instructed with the following things after this incident:
- A pepper spray in my bag ALWAYS
- Nothing more than $5-$10 in my purse.
- When mugged, don’t scream - just surrender and give money or spray the pepper!

A lesson learnt and an incident which can never be forgotten! RJ Kanmani is surely reminding me of a lot of things through her not-so-commonly-spoken-about topics :)
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