Until very recently, I was living in RT Nagar, a relatively busy locality in north Bengaluru. In building next to mine, there was a small laundry run by a local miscreant. He never smiled, and at night he fought with his mother. Every night. My landlord would tell me,
“Stay away from him, he is not the good sort”
And I did. I never wanted any trouble or conflict. However, I did want to get my clothes pressed from time to time. So sometimes I would put my laundry there. He would look at me with venomous eyes, and just utter the day I would get it back. One night when I was talking to my mother on phone, the man suddenly ran towards me with a beer bottle in his hand.
“Anpadh hai kya? Itna raat ko tum kyun yahan baat kar raha hai, sorry bol!” (Are you illiterate, why are you talking on the street so late at night. Say sorry)
He screamed at me. I apologized immediately, and he seemed angrier that I couldn’t give him the fight he wanted. In the whole two years, he yelled at me like this quite a few times. So when I was leaving that place, I was a bit relieved to not have a potential disaster in neighborhood. As I was getting into the truck to leave, he gave a very wide smile. That is the only time I have seen him smile. Was he happy that I left? I would never know…