Can We Stop Laughing at the Woman Who Caused the Peddar Road Jam While Chasing a Cheating Husband?

Social Commentary

Can We Stop Laughing at the Woman Who Caused the Peddar Road Jam While Chasing a Cheating Husband?

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

By now it should come as no surprise that most posts shared on WhatsApp serve no purpose other than making a few members of the group reach for the mute button. Questionable conspiracy theories, jokes directed at anonymous wives and children, and locker room chats, the WhatsApp group is a reflection of our most unsavoury tastes.

One video that has been doing the rounds for the last few days, in a bid to add some more “masala” to our otherwise boring lockdown lives, is more proof of this.

In it, a woman is seen stopping traffic on Mumbai’s busy Peddar Road to confront her apparently cheating husband. A traffic cop is seen standing beside helplessly as the woman blocks a car, in which her husband was reportedly seated beside another woman.

The woman’s reaction — which at one point includes her leaping on the car’s bonnet, and at another kicking him in the shins — clearly conveys her frustration at the situation.

While the woman was later challaned for blocking the road, and drove away with her husband in another car, the matter didn’t end there. Her obvious exasperation, coupled with the strangeness of the situation became the butt of several jokes, as the video went viral on WhatsApp and other social media, inviting the public to deliver its verdict.

Some of these verdicts involved bemoaning the fact that the woman had blocked traffic — on a road that usually wouldn’t have it any other way — while others made it a point to mention that she had become the laughing stock of the city.

What was notably missing, however, was a sense of sympathy for the woman.

It’s almost too telling at this point that most of our reactions to seeing someone at possibly one of the lowest moments in their lives is to bring out the popcorn and settle into our sofas for a few minutes of fun.

Of course, the fact that the video went viral in the first place is more evidence of this voyeuristic tendency. The clip from Peddar Road, much like many others have in the past, seem to have evoked nothing but a sense of schadenfreude in WhatsApp groups.

Even for those who believe the woman deserves no sympathy — by the look of it both the woman and her alleged husband appeared to be well-off, and she could have chosen a less inconvenient location for the showdown — our natural reaction should not have not have been to share it on thousands of WhatsApp groups with smileys in tow.

But then again, if there’s one thing the previous two days have proved without a doubt, it’s that we live in a country where a woman can get rape threats for telling a joke, and the video of another woman clearly in distress is the epitome of humour.

Looks like the joke’s on us.