Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I just got my ass kicked by Tina

In my previous blog I discussed how driving in India is different than in the United States.  Today I experienced a shocking new low, and I'm still pretty freaked out as write this.  Here's what happened...

Now, in this sordid tale I mention some Gokulam (which is the name of the neighborhood in Mysore where the shala is, and where most of us live) landmarks which will make the story all the more crazy to people who have been here.  But it's crazy anyway.  I was driving around looking for a place to get lunch and had decided on a place called Gokul Chats.  As I was driving downhill past Tina's (another local place which caters to Westerners a lot), a woman began to make a u-turn right in front of me, nearly hitting me.  I guess I forgot the Darwinian small-gives-way-to-big rule and kept going, swerved around her, gave her a dirty look because she almost hit me, and let the word "bitch" slip from my mouth.  I swear on the souls of all seven of my nieces (that includes my best friend's three daughters) I didn't scream it and I'm  pretty sure I wasn't even making eye contact with her when I said.  But heard it, she did.  I kept going and she was behind me, going in the same direction.  I pressed on, making my way to Gokul Chats for a thali.  Right by Vikram Perfect Hospital she pulled in front of me and cut me off, forcing me to stop.  "Whom did you call names?!?  Whom!?!" I proceeded to drive around her.  This lady chased me all the way to Gokul Chats and got out of her ride and continued to get in my face and yell! "What is your name?  Where are you from?  Fucking yoga students!!". I told her my name, calmly, and said I was from the United States.  "I don't care what fucking shithole country you come from, you come here and try to drive like heroes.  You apologize right now!  I will get you fucking kicked out of this country!  I see the plate on your scooter.   I will call the police.  I will get you kicked out of the shala.  I am Tina! Don't mess with me." I stood my ground physically, but I did apologize and the she got back in her car and sped off.  Turns out this crazy woman was the actual Tina of Tina's Restaurant, and she almost ran me over as she was leaving work on her way home.  For a second I was scared the police would actually come.  The staff and customers at Gokul Chats were a little taken aback, but I apologized for the display and explained what happened.  In an awesome and distinctly Indian way, when they heard my side of the story they laughed it off.  I guess I actually looked like a punk to them.  A gentleman
 told me I should have raised my voice back.  Just to cover my bases I went to Mr. Tataji, the man from whom I rented the scooter and told him about the incident.  He assuaged my fears.  Just like back home, my word against hers.  Nothing would happen.  He said even if the police did come looking for me, he'd just tell them I already left the country.  Which will be true in about five more days.  Now I'm feeling a little wimpy.  I wish I had gotten back in that crazy woman's face.   She started it by almost hitting me, and then had the brass balls to be annoyed that I was just driving like everyone else here. But this is not my country, I'm not sure of the rules.  And obviously she is a racist who was probably already mad about something else totally unrelated.  Later, when I realized whom it was that I had pissed off so, I went to her home and delivered another apology in writing.  Just to take the highest road possible in case she actually did call Sharath.  Now, having heard numerous stories of her prickly craziness, I wish I hadn't sent the apology note.  I, for one, am going to boycott Tina's.  Why give her business if she's got such a chip on her shoulder about Westerners?  I'm going to watch out for her, because she will kick your ass. 

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