Bathing Ghat Rivalry
A washing stone war turns legal!
Sathi, around 45, goes with a bucketful of cloths and soap box and some detergent powder to the bathing ghat of the canal near her residence for washing and bathing each day. She dumps cloth into the water and re-dumps into the bucket. She picks one each and spreads on the lonely beating stone to apply detergent and soak. Halfway through the soaking through, Kurumba, around 40, comes for the same chore as Sathis’. She waits for half an hour and still the stone is under the custody of Sathi. Kurumba’s temper ran high, she is in double mind – whether to strike or keep cool for some more time. Paru with the flush and blood of 35 enters the scene with a bundle of cloths. As the beating stone is only one, Paru and Kurumba have to wait till Sathi vacates the stone.
Patience exhausted Kurumba decided to take on Sathi. She said I am waiting for more than half an hour and you finish the work quickly and murmured the beating stone is not your private property. Sathi retorted back, it is I who came first and you can use the stone only after my job is over and that if you are so hurry you could better have washed at home. She did not stop there, but slowed down the pace of work. Kurumba distastes the situation, stands biting teeth. Five minutes more gone, she moved on to the stone and occupied it the moment Sathi turned to pick another cloth from the bucket. Rest is history. War of words flied between the two when Paru stood a silent spectator. If she intervened to pacify either of them, the other will turn hostile to her.
The intensified war of words led Sathi throws two pieces of cloth of Kurumba to the canal which is about 15 feet deep. The effort to comp out the cloths by a couple of youngsters failed.
The issue caught the attention of the families of both the ladies. It became a wild issue between the two families which are located within a distance of about 400 meters. The male-folks took the issue very seriously. Mediators intervened to pacify both sides. No use.
Eye witness Paru landed in a soup. If she narrated the events in good faith, one among the two will turn hostile towards her. So, she invented an escape route. Both the families, mediators and others queried the ignition cause, but she maintained that her attention was glued to a quarrel of two boys on the bank of the canal alongside and she could not see actually what had happened between the two. Poor, they had to swallow this utter lie.
The family who lost the cloths claimed Rs 3000 as the value. Kurumba’s family was adamant to part with even Rs 100 as they maintained Kurumba did not throw away any cloth.
If compensation is not received to the lost cloth, it is shame and surrendering, the aggrieved family felt. They ultimately decided to move the police, filed a petition. Third day, a police constable visits both the families. His first visit was to the complainant’s end. He asked the complainant to explain the whole things happened. The complainant bared open all things. This is over, the family head tosses two hundred rupee currency notes to the semi-bent left arm of the constable as if nobody has seen anything. This is for positive reporting to the Sub-Inspector by the constable. The constable then moves on to the residence of the culprit after telling the complainant to be present at station at 10 am tomorrow. Here he makes a criss-cross enquiry as if he is a court-appointed commission, passes a long lecture about the consequences and financial loss likely to be. This session is over, the house captain tosses a five hundred currency note to the semi-folded left arm of the constable and beg not to charge the case. He nods his head and leaves with the verbal order to be present in the station next day at 10 morning.
Next day both the complainant and culprit ensure their presence with supporters from opposing political parties. The accompaniment of political agents with the complainant and culprit to the station ensures no assault to the parties concerned in the station.
Before the parties entering the cabin of SI, the constable who made spot enquiry calls party of culprit to an isolated corner and whisper that he has reported in their favour to the SI. He forgets not to add to the need of pleasing SI and the writer who writes the statement to be signed by both the parties and specifies rupees 1000 for SI and rupees 500 for writer. The amount for both may be given to the writer, he forgets not to mention.
Around 11 SI calls both the parties to his cabin and ask the complainant what has happened as if he has not read the petition. Then, his turn is towards culprit. SI imposes a stern warning on the culprit and tells the complainant that if the opposite party misbehaves in future report to me forthwith when I will teach her a lesson and directs both the parties to sign a statement on the table of the writer. The writer waiting with a statement to the effect that both the parties have made compromise gets the signatures and asks the complainant to go so as to facilitate receive cash for SI and himself. The moment complainant leaves the room the writer accepts the cash by stretching his left hand to the bottom of his table to the tip of culprit party’s right hand. Clean transaction. Nobody has seen. Or, believe not seen.
The petty incidence has cost both the parties. Sathi’s cost limited to rupees 1000, the cost of dress, plus rupees 200 paid to the constable. Kurumba’s cost stretched to rupees 2000 (rupees 1000 to SI, 500 to writer and 500 to constable) plus a clean humiliation of calling in the police station as a culprit.
As an offshoot, Sathis husband forbid her from going to the canal for bathing and cloth washing. For about 3 months both the families were not in talking terms. Their hatred has now melted down and both exchange pleasantries when met.
A bad incidence gives a welcome out-come, let the cost and humiliation go to hell.