Motorists, though the privileged lot in terms of affordability, can also get royally harassed at times...and by people who consider the public road somehow their own domain....I am talking about the security personnel of the various buildings on the road.
Today, after dropping my sister in law at Apollo Hospital, I went looking for a space to park the car, and came to 1st Street, Cenotaph Road, where the
There was a "No Parking for 100 metres " sign a little beyond the Consulate, so I didn't park there. I parked on the opposite side, at a distance from the gate.
Promptly, I had a security guy at the side of the car, asking me if I wanted to visit the Consulate. No, I said.
"Then you should remove the car from here," he said.
"Why?" I asked. "There is no "No Parking" sign on this side of the road, and I am not blocking any gate."
"Some car may come out of the Consulate," he said.
"So?" I asked. "I'm not blocking its passage in any way."
"But you should remove it," he said.
At this point, I received assistance in the form of another security guard. "Allow her to park," he said. I was already walking away, grateful that I was being *allowed* to park on a public thoroughfare.
On the way back, two security guards accosted me. Politely, one informed me, "Madam, this is an *EMBASSY*. So you should understand."
"Understand what? This is a public road."
"But you shouldn't park here."
"I have every right to park here; what YOU are doing is wrong and illegal. Do you own the road? Does the Japanese Consulate own the road? What right have you to ask me to move my car?"
"There is no reasoning with people like you," he said.
"I am going to write about this," I said. "I observed the No Parking sign, and followed that,so you have no right to harass me." I took out my camera to photograph the Consulate and the guards:
"Take as many photos as you want," said the guard. "We can see ourselves in tomorrow's paper."
Everywhere we go, we face these kind of harassments from the security personnel of various buildings, who think that they have the divine right of possession on all the public space in front of their buldings.
The building opposite the Consulate actually had an illegal guardhouse built on the public footpath, with the guard sitting there shooing off would-be parkers!
The minute we get into a uniform, we LOVE to harass our fellow-citizens in any way we can. It's a mindset...a way of life. I am sure the Consul does not know what is going on outside his building.
People like me, who know our rights, try to fight back...often unsuccessfully. Others are cowed down by the uniform and meekly obey. Others...powerful people themselves...ignoore all the rules. If I had been a politcal person, the same guard would have, obsequiously, have allowed me to park.
It's disgusting....and it's not restricted to Chennai alone.