A Street Quarrel
I was in a hurry but seeing a crowd in front of a shop I stopped to know what had happened. There was-much uproar and heat. I elbowed my way through the crowd and saw the owner of the shop being held fast by a few men. My eyes picked up another man, a young fellow, being held very strongly by a few other persons. The young man was bent upon charging on the shopkeeper. He tried to extricate himself but was tightly held. The shopkeeper and the young men were mouthing foul abuses. Their gestures looked killing. The spectators enjoyed a free show. Sadistics among the crowd urged them to settle the matter then and there. There were many who tried to pacify them.
Confusion and noise failed me to know the cause of the quarrel. A man standing beside me told me the whole story. The young man had given a hundred-rupee note to the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper was adamant and told the young man that he had given him a fifty-rupee note. The young man called him a cheat. This infuriated the shopkeeper who retaliated with ear jarring abuses. Hot words changed into blows. The shopkeeper’s nose was bleeding and the young man had a swollen eye.
The quarrel took a serious turn because the people were beginning to take sides. Many shopkeepers came forward to fight for the shopkeeper. Youngsters were with the young man. A shopkeeper uttered that the young man should be taught a, lesson. Two or three persons marched forward to beat the young man. An elderly man appeared on the scene. He stood between the two warring groups. With folded hand he entreated them, in God’s name, to forgive each other. He-said if anybody wanted to beat somebody he could beat him. His words pacified one and all. The spectators who had tried to instigate the young man had to cut a sorry figure. The quarrel came to an end before the arrival of a beat constable. No rhyme or reason is required to start a quarrel.