It was a wonderful Thursday evening usually reserved for family outing. But I cannot resist myself to browse the Indian TV channels to update the release of 'MY NAME IS KHAN'. It created considerable curiosity in me and my family members. The showdown between Sena supporters and government security is in full preparation to face on Friday noon. I just off the television for the outing with family and chose to have a long walk in a beautiful Jeddah walkway near the Corniche.
It's our favourite garden since my younger son Fareed can have some pedaling with his bi-cycle without any interruption. Fareed is 10 years old and bit talkative with less physical works. It is important for me to have as much as physical activity possible to keep him fit. He always speaks lot of about bi-cycle tricks and sometimes cars and bikes that he normally sees in Top Gear programs.
We were enjoying the pleasant wind from the sea and less number of people in our walkway. My daughter was as usual outsmarting me in our walk and my wife was trying to match her in speed and talk, of course, we Indian cannot be silent.
An old lady suddenly grabs my son’s cycle handle bar and shouted at him in Arabic saying that cycling should not be allowed in the walkway. Initially I thought that she mistook my son for someone, but understood that she does not want anyone to ride bi-cycle on the walkway, though there are thirty bi-cycle riders (children) moving front and forth on that occasion. I was trying to reason with that lady that it is not harmful to elders since they are children. She turned more violent and threatened to call police to arrest my son and confiscate the cycle.
I felt awkward and told her to call police and let us face it. She got aggravated since I am an Indian, perhaps, she might be thinking that Indians should not have the right to argue with her. She used her mobile to call police and report the incident. Crowd gathered around us and people start to inquire including a mid aged Saudi gentleman. She will hand over the mobile phone to him to explain the incident to police and he seems to be educated and well mannered person immediately close the mobile and told me not to argue with the woman and move away. To our rescue there is another boy just reached there with his bi-cycle and this lady jumps out to grab the other cycle. She assumed the role of policewoman and decided to clean up the walkway. People around there laugh over her actions and immediately pointed to each other that she may be an insane or mentally disturbed.
I was disturbed by that incident and mind started to map the incident with Shivsena’s agitation against SRK’s film release. This lady’s opinion of having free walk without children’s bi-cycle is not bad idea, but cannot be possible when families walk along with children as no children would love to have simple walk. Similary, Shivsena may be right in protecting the rights of Maratha’s or angry against Pakistan due to 26/11, but the anger cannot be directed against the individuals from other regions of India and especially the players. Sports, games, music and literary activities are universal and brings billions of people under one roof without looking at the cast and creed. We enjoy together and try to sooth our souls by identifying the similarities with others.
The lady assumed the role of custodian of garden trying to enforce her rule as she believes that is right. Shivsena assumed the role of custodian in Mumbai to enforce their rule as they believe they are right. Both have forgotten other’s right. Both have decided behave violent and both are ignored by others in the process of their violent enforcement. The people around the garden laughed and start to ignore her and immediately the old lady was isolated and left to shout on her own. Now Shivsena is also isolated in Mumbai by ordinary Indians, perhaps the Maratha Mannus who understand the rights of others.
It is timely, and true that a Mumbaikar have said to a TV reporter after coming out of a theatre in Mumbai that ‘Balasaheb Thakery should see this movie MY NAME IS KHAN and the message to Thakery is ‘please live in peace’.