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I was on a road, somewhere between Kottawa and Piliyandala, when I saw a man running and a vehicle following him. The vehicle stopped and two men jumped off and ran behind the latter, into a by lane into which he had crisscrossed. The first thought that came to mind was that may be the two men were running behind a robber.

A minute or so later, the one who was running for his life was dragged to the main road, another lorry halted and another thuggish man leaping out from it, and the two who ran behind him coming, carrying iron rods. The road was blocked, the traffic had stopped, and my view was covered. All I could assume was that the fat man who ran first, was beaten by the other two fat men who ran behind him.

What do I do? I decide to dial 119, but to be stopped by my mum who states that I have no clue of the situation, that I am carrying a week old baby in my hands, and that I should think twice before taking any action as such, as in the end, in a system which is full of corruption, the person who calls to stop such an incident would be the one at fault and be harassed by the parties involved.
I wonder what has become to the system of law, and order in a country. I have no clue what the man had done, or who he was. Nor did I know who his beaters were. But all I could see was that the people were of a rough nature and the incident was most likely not an isolated one.

The people looked on, they seemed curious, and then the vehicles moved. The man who was beaten was not seen, though the others got into the vehicles and left. I, in the car moved too, while the shock did not go away, and too many questions remained.

Later that night, I in my dilemma ask a certain someone what he would have done had he witnessed the incident. Having first stated that I should have called the police and listened to my explanation as to why it had not materialized, he says“ you should have shouted!” I respond “ how would that have helped?” His reply. “ Well, since you have a big mouth, may be the thugs would have got scared and run off!”

I find it amusing that the man either believes it to be a possibility or finds humour in observing the situation, but cannot help but wonder how a Sri Lankan would react given the circumstance. Would they believe like my mother would do, and not get involved, and watch on like those men on the street would do, or would they intervene and risk their lives to save a man who they have no clue had done what to deserve his plight on that random road.

Whatever be the response, the conclusion I could come up with is that, certain scenes of television or cinema, have today proven to me to be a reality. The question that remains is would playing the hero like in those Tamil or Hindi movies, really save the day, or would the hero end up being the beaten one in real time television that plays in front of our eyes on a daily basis?