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Gender, Women's Rights

Paradise no more

For all those living in Hyderabad, India, Paradise hotel is synonymous to biryani and is one of the most visited restaurants in the city. Located in Secunderabad, the hotel was so iconic that it lent its name to the place where it is. I say ‘was iconic’ because it no longer is, for me anyways.

Last night, I was there with my family celebrating my mother’s birthday. After dinner, we came down and were waiting for our car to be brought around by the valet. There was this one woman who was selling mogra flowers, a street hawker, right near the restaurant.

Now Paradise for whatever reasons has bouncers as security personnel outside its premises. My husband, my cousins and I were just talking about what was an outright lecherous look of a bouncer towards this woman, when another bouncer walked in (at this point, the woman was surrounded by four bouncers) and asked her to move away from there. Now, I understand that the parking area is managed by these guys, but what right they have to order people off the roads? Anyways, even as she began to walk away, the bouncer pushed her to the ground–yes on a road where traffic flow is quite heavy; snatched her basket of flowers, tore them and began to hit the woman. When we along with the other customers started to scream and run towards the bouncer hitting the woman, he pushed her again to the ground, and ran inside the Paradise garage.

We were quite enraged at this point and ran inside the garage only to be stopped by other bouncers who told us to ‘get lost’ and one went to the extent of saying that the woman was beaten because she was ‘drunk’ and ‘misbehaving’. By this time, a considerably big crowd had gathered all of them demanding for the bouncer to be handed over. Not only were the other bouncers and security guard protecting the culprit but they went a step ahead and threatened customers to leave or forfeit their cars which were in the garage.

In a matter of seconds, the bouncers also began closing the garage doors and had barricaded one of the entrances to the hotel. A so-called Manager appeared on the scene, behind the barricades and told us to leave, saying “You are making a scene out of nothing”.

At this point, I called 108 and had also informed a couple of media houses about the incident. Soon, i saw a Rakshak vehicle (police patrol jeep) and stopped the vehicle and informed them of the incident. When the SI, one Shiva Prasad, asked the security guard what happened he said “nothing happened these guys are just making a big deal out of nothing”. When the police went inside to get the guy, they could not find the guy either. But what was heartening, at this point to see were the many people who had witnessed the incident, coming forward and informing the police. Many had waited for the police to come to complaint.

When i spoke to the other women hawkers there they told me that they are bullied on a daily basis by the Paradise security men. “They push us around, spoil our flowers and sometimes even grope us. We put up with it because we have no choice and have to do this for a living,” said one of the hawkers Lakshmi.

This is the appalling state of affairs in our city and country. What did the guy who pushed that woman and beat her think? That no one would react or that he would get away with it? I guess he thought both. And for all that i know, he might actually get away with it. While i did file a complaint with the SI, am yet to hear about the actual details and realistically speaking, i know that Paradise can ‘afford’ to bribe their way out of this incident. Their reputation will be hardly hit if the media does not take up the issue. Despite, working with the media i feel thoroughly helpless and frustrated that this matter has not been brought to light (as yet atleast) And so decided to go ahead and blog about it.

The manager who  was apprehended by the police last night was almost nonchalant and seemed assured that nothing would come out of this.

But what caught my attention was this- even as i was ashamed that something like this happened in my city, the number of my fellow Hyderabadis who rose to the occassion and fought for this woman who believe me was quite shaken and scared.

There are a lot of underlying issues here. One of class and gender. The inequality of it all. This security guard aka bouncer was assured of his management’s support and hence took the step of assaulting a hapless woman. A woman he knew, would not be able to fight back on her own. By calling her a drunk, the other bouncers somehow felt they had the moral authority to hit a woman. What was disgusting was the complete lack of responsibility on the part of the management.This attitude that she is no body so we can do whatever needs to be cracked down on not to mention  these so called security guards need to be sensitised.

At a time when there is so much public anger on the lack of safety for women, this incident just goes to show how much work’s to be done when it comes to this issue. But, I have hope now. Hope, that people will no longer stay quiet when incidents like this happen. Often, it takes one person to react-(in this case it was my family which reacted in unison)- to encourage other bystanders to stop being spectators. If the police takes action against these guys, they will be setting a wonderful precedent in the city. The incident also brought to the fore the concept of safety for thousands of women employed like this. Who are they to approach when such things take place and to what extent is justice actually delivered? Apart from strengthening laws, its time we even think of how to make women aware of their rights so that they can fight back.

And yes i know for a fact that I will NEVER step foot into that restaurant or any of its branches again  or even order from there. The only way these big establishments will understand the gravity of what happened last night is when people begin to boycott them.

I generally don’t ask for my blog posts to be shared, but this one i will. Please read and share this as widely as possible. We need to come together to teach a lesson to these guys and cut their arrogance. This might be a long shot, but i believe in the power of social media.

May 5 Update: The issue has been picked up by almost all mainstream papers in Hyderabad – The Hindu, The Hans India, New Indian Express and Times of India. Paradise has informed all these media houses that they have terminated the services of the security agency and the bouncer Prakash yadav has been arrested and was sent to the magistrate yesterday morning ie May 4 morning. The blog post has also gone viral on FB and Twitter. I want to thank all those who read, shared, tweeted and reblogged this post for spreading the message. 

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Discussion

645 thoughts on “Paradise no more

  1. Bingo !! 1st point – Appreciate what you have done.
    2 – Paradaise bouncers are uneducated with steriod body’s…
    3- Thy cant even speak properly apart from standard lines which are taught by the management.

    Its happening almost very frequently and now i guess its high time to address this issue..

    Posted by Anonymous | November 21, 2014, 7:19 pm
  2. I don’t see flower sellers in paradise SECbad these days.. at all…

    Posted by nik | November 22, 2014, 2:09 am
  3. absolutely well done..havent been to paradise since last 7 years

    Posted by Anonymous | November 22, 2014, 2:53 pm
  4. well done..my support to you…I will pass this on..I anyways stopped going to Paradise since 8 years

    Posted by udaykk09 | November 22, 2014, 2:56 pm
  5. really bad.. bullshit paradise

    Posted by abhilash | November 25, 2014, 2:48 pm
  6. Moral policing should ne done on this kind of issues rather than on kiss of love valentines day etc …..

    Posted by Pasha | November 25, 2014, 3:59 pm
  7. I saw the exact same thing happen to a man a couple of years ago. Stricter action should be taken. Paradise is as much responsible as the security company. Shame on the management.

    Posted by Krishna Rao | November 25, 2014, 10:08 pm
  8. You have done a great job! Extremely proud of you!

    Posted by Anonymous | November 25, 2014, 11:43 pm
  9. How come their are no pics of the incident .you said so many people witnessed it. Please provide some pics to make ur story look more genuine.

    Posted by ... | November 26, 2014, 11:24 am
  10. Even there is no need some one run for paradise biryani. so many other restaurants offer better taste and better prices also. You will be charged double to double in paradise. No need to go paradise ..

    Posted by Alapati Rajdeep | November 26, 2014, 1:03 pm
  11. This is not new. Mighty suppressing the poor. When success gets into head arrogance sets in. That is what happened here.

    Posted by selva | November 30, 2014, 6:42 am
  12. You Did the right thing. Injustice is something which is not a court/law word. Injustice is something which you keep quite in times when some one is doing wron infront of you. You did great thing. We are inspired with ur efforts against evil. U have already won.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 3, 2014, 2:15 am
  13. After reading this blog my circle has decided to boycott all joints with the name Paradise in Hyderabad/Secunderabad and all around, including airport road

    Posted by vasudevan | December 3, 2014, 2:33 am
  14. Hats off to you my dear friend. Very proud of you.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 3, 2014, 4:46 am
  15. See I was just giving you a reason you might think beating up those people is fine. Now you’re saying you have no reason, but you just feel that way. Nice. Also, I can’t believe you actually replied again. So many people against you and you have the balls to reinforce your dumb statement. You sir, must go get a life. Or fight for one. Not stand by and even encourage things like this……..

    Posted by Saaketh | May 6, 2013, 5:29 pm
  16. Hey saaketh who is this in response to??

    Posted by freespiritonmove | May 6, 2013, 5:38 pm
  17. The reply is for Raja Krishna! It got posted in the wrong place I guess…

    Posted by Saaketh | May 6, 2013, 5:41 pm
  18. Well. I am unable to resist myself in appreciating u for the courage and the spirit with which u brought the paradise issue to the fore. That is what everyone lacks now a days. We would be happy if u could reveal ur identity so that we can have clear picture about one another. We belong to MAA HYDERABAD, a group founded by native telanganites working for the cause of Telangana in the city. And please do not think these things have nothing to do with Telangana issue. Yes it does have. History has been witness to many such stories mostly indulged in by the settlers who were responsible for changing the face of the city in the absence of people questioning/preventing them.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2013, 12:44 pm
  19. I have never liked that restaurant either. It has lost its sheen way long back. They are only trying to mint money. I truly appreciate your courage for bringing this incident to light.

    Posted by Phani | May 9, 2013, 11:01 am
  20. It surprises me that not everyone has good things to say about what you did. You did a great job out there.

    Posted by good j ob | May 9, 2013, 3:12 pm
  21. Seriously! You are segregating yourself as native telangana and you would recognize others!! What if the person who posted this was an andhrite? Stop regional discrimination!

    P.S. I am a pakka telanganite

    Posted by Anonymous | November 21, 2014, 7:47 pm

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