Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I humiliated a man for breakfast

The guy who collects the payment for newspaper subscriptions has been regularly overcharging for our daily papers. We even have the receipts to prove it. His mistake was inconsistency -- when the rates keeps changing, its kinda a giveaway don't you think?

So when he showed up this morning, asking for a payment which was 100tk over the usual fake amount, I hauled him over next door to my translator/neighbour's and proceeded to humiliate him in lousy Bangla.

His hand shook as he wrote on a piece of paper, trying to calculate exactly how much money he had siphoned off our bills. I asked him repeatedly in Bangla, "Do you think I'm stupid?"

Counting from the time since I moved in (since I've no idea what went on with earlier tenants) we established that he had taken an extra 360tk. He wrote off the bill for this month, and handed me 60tk from his own pocket.

He didn't look sorry -- he looked stunned. He tried speaking to me placatingly as I went back into my own apartment. I told him, "I'm very angry now." I closed the door in his face, not in triumph, but in defeat.

What have I accomplished, really? Yes, we established the fact that I am indeed not stupid, but also that I'm not much of a human being.

In the month of Ramadan, instead of handing our Eid bonuses, I permanently cut off a man's monthly supply of an extra 100tk or so for himself, and took money from him.

I feel rather shitty right now.

"We have come to think of taking offence as a fundamental right.
We value very little more highly than our rage, which gives us,
in our opinion, the moral high ground. From this high ground
we can shoot down at our enemies and inflict heavy fatalities."
- Rushdie