The below is an account of what happened on Thursday, 16 May 2013 at Kochi International Airport, according to Ranjini Haridas.
She emailed us her side of the story. Surprisingly, she mentioned that no one else asked her for her version of events.
The Kochi Post had earlier written about the incident. If Mr Binoy, the accused in the case, has a different take on what happened, we would be happy to publish his version of the incident.
A lot has been said about the recent “Ranjini Haridas airport incident” in the past ten days and the extreme comments and reactions it has garnered on various social networking sites are, to be honest, quite a read.
I for one find the whole thing extremely funny. I learnt through first hand experience that nobody really cares for what the truth of the matter actually is. I mean, come on, how many of these so-called reporters, bloggers, site users have actually taken the trouble of calling up the police and finding out what the heck happened?
I know I haven’t received any calls from any online magazines or online newspapers to get my side. So how is this then fair reporting?
Every story has more than one side to it. In this particular case Mr Binoy’s, the now unsung hero to many so called Ranjini haters (a growing club by the looks of it :->) and of course, mine. Obviously, since I did not put out the version out there it is clear that my story would be quite different.
So for anyone who has the time of day to spare a couple of minutes and base your decision and comments on a fair hearing of both sides, this is what actually happened, my version.
I arrived with my team members from San Francisco via Dubai to Kochi on Thursday, the 16th of May landing at 0335. As I was a business class passenger, as soon as I landed I went towards the business class queue for immigration.
Unfortunately, there was no staff present at that counter and hence I joined one of the other queues that was present. It was peak incoming traffic at the airport around close to a thousand people were present on and off.
Once I was done with the immigration clearance, I joined the hand baggage clearance queue where all the people from every counter had to come into a single line and hence the queue was very long winding and confusing to the point we struggled to find the end of it.
While I was in queue, I had another actress who was on the same flight from Dubai, Asha Sharath with me, we were talking to each other when the rest of my team members namely Suraj Venjaramood, Muktha, Arun Gopan etc., cut inline in front of Asha Sharath and I.
When they cut inline in front of me, I told my team members jokingly, “that’s not fair, don’t cut inline in front of us, if you want, you can stand behind us” and moved back up to the original place we were at.
Once the queue moved forward a little bit I got really tired of standing as I have a back problem and told Asha Sharath and the rest of my team that I am going to stand right here in the middle and when you come from my left side to my right side in the queue I will join behind you again.
Now, the incident that made me file the case against Mr Binoy.
As I was standing there, I heard a passenger from behind call out to me and say, “Don’t think we didn’t see you cut the line,” to which I replied, “I didn’t cut the line”.
The same passenger along with a few others started repeating the accusation to which my reply was “I didn’t cut the line, the people who came with me cut the line if you have a problem, talk to them”.
All the other passengers behaved all right but Mr Binoy and his wife continued their accusation of the same raising their voice to which I raised my voice and denied the whole thing. The next thing I know Mr Binoy starts hurling abuses at me in the following manner-
Ninte line cut cheyyalokke njangalkariyaam…ninde ilakkom chattom okke tv yil ninde mathonmardaduthu mathi…nee anuungale kandittilla…nee aaranna ninde vichaarom..ninde thandedaduthu poyi paranjaal mathi and to the point he even called me a thevidishi.
I kept arguing back trying to tell them I hadn’t done anything wrong but by the time Mr Binoy had gone on an attack spree aiming at my profession, family and character, which was uncalled for.
By this time the immigration officers got involved and told me to immediately file a complaint against the passenger for abusing me. Following that I filed an official written complain with the airport terminal manager, who contacted the local police who came to the scene. I was asked whether I would settle for an apology and when I said no they took down my statement and a case was registered against Mr Binoy. I then went back home and slept.
When I woke up around 5pm I was inundated with calls from a couple of media channels and newspapers asking me about the incident. I was then informed that another version of the incident had gone viral and through television channels and the following day newspapers.
Mr Binoy’s version of this incident, which accuses me of abusing him and his wife, calling them names with no reference to any of his doings. I was later informed that a counter case was filed against me citing the same reasons.
Now, anyone who reads this can think that this is something I cooked up in my head to escape the situation but if you guys give the local Nedumbassery police station officials a call, you will realize the truth. You could also clarify this with the several artistes who were present there and even the airport officials who were on duty there that morning.
As for some reports that say that I used influence and tried to behave like a celebrity. Guys, I’m a woman first. Celebrity or not, no individual has the right to call me names and abuse me or anyone else the way Mr Binoy did. Not to forget his choice of words were so hardcore that I was surprised he didn’t care that his two little kids were present there along with loads of other travelling passengers including women and kids.
What kind of example are people like him setting for the coming generations? That you can say anything to anyone and get away with it? I’m sorry, I’m not one of those people who is just going to shut up, ignore it and walkaway.
So yeah, I reacted. I should’ve given him a tight slap across his face which is less than what he deserved but I didn’t. I took the legal route.
It’s really amusing to me that the very person who some are calling a hero for teaching me a so called lesson are the type of elements in a society that keep us backward. By us, I mean women, some people think they can say anything to a woman and get away with it. Sorry, not happening and definitely not with me!
As for all the fools who reacted to the news without clarifying the facts, I feel only sorry for you. Sorry that people like you exist, sorry that we still, at large, are a society that at every opportunity given, likes to mentally, morally and emotionally pull someone down. Especially be it a strong independent woman who speaks her mind.
Kaala pettu ennu kettu kazhar eduthodunna oru samooham! Such is the reality of the world we live in, funny, isnt it?
As for the case, if anyone is interested, is still under enquiry and there is no way I will settle out of court or anywhere else as some reports say.
The whole experience has only made me stronger and firmer in my convictions and beliefs and there is no way any of this is going to affect or change the person I am. Purely because I know that the truth is on my side, if I was wrong, I would be the first one to apologize and back off but if you make a mockery of what actually happened and turn it and twist it into an online thamaasha, I’m not going to keep quiet about it. I will react and will continue to do so till justice is done.
Before I wind up just a question that I have been meaning to ask. Is this really one of the most discussed topics online nowadays? I mean, come on! Don’t people have anything better to do than discuss a small incident in the life of Ranjini Haridas?
Now the important question is, who blew it all out of proportion? And why? The answer to that my friends, will open several doors of realisation The existence of chauvinistic egoistic male counterparts with huge inferiority complexes will come into light.
Men who can only react within the frames of anonymity, men who celebrate the oppression of women, men who can’t stand the sight of a successful, self thinking, hardworking woman of today.
This is not about Ranjini Haridas. It never really was. I’m just a mere representative of all women like me out there. And we say, bring it on!