Thursday, April 24, 2008


Yesterday, just as I had finished a 5 hour stretch at the computer lab, I was heading back to the hostel when a kid approached me and asked for the time. I told him it was 2 o'clock, but he feigned no English (that's when I should have been suspicious... I even held up two fingers). So, I showed him my cell phone - but just as I was doing so, I remembered that a few weeks ago, a couple of Australian girls got their cell phones stolen by a kid asking for the time, so I made sure I was holding on tight. Expectedly, he grabbed the top of my flip phone, but didn't get it out of my hands, then looked at me in the eyes with bewilderment, thinking, "what do I do now?" So, then he walked away and, for some unknown reason, I followed him. When he realized I was following him, he ran. Being my gimp self (I have stopped using my brace on a daily basis, but still am limping and stairs pose a challenge), I could give chase. Of course, there was not a soul in sight.
So, I told the woman who works at the hostel and she got all furious and grabbed the closest security guard (they're all around campus when you don't need them and never there when you need them!) and told the story to him in Tamil. Then, she marched over the the main security post and told them. The result: today on my way to the computer lab, there are about a half dozen guys (presumably working for security) in the courtyard where it all went down yesterday. Like that doesn't scare the kid off.
I am a little shaken from the thing, not because I was ever in physical harm (the kid was so skinny, I felt like I could take him, even with my defunct knee), but because I felt violated. Since I have been in India, everyone has been so nice and I have never felt like I was in harm's way (other than walking on the street, where any type of vehicle or animal may run into you). So, when something like this happens, on campus and in a campus building, nonetheless, I feel like my little bubble of security has been burst. This morning, I saw a teenage boy on a bike and immediately held my purse tighter, and I hate that I did that. I hate that the kid yesterday has done this to me.
Needless to say, I am much more cautious about security now.

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