Bursting balloons in Calcutta or the public display of cruelty

I read this story of a little boy who was selling balloon in the streets of Calcutta near a restaurant. According to this story, a businessman came out of the restaurant with his daughter and wife and was about to get into their posh SUV. The little kid who was selling balloon approached the man and this guy used his cigarette to puncture three of the kids balloons and walked away, with a sly smile of how he “achieved” something. The writer reflects on the cruelty of this act. The writer thinks it might be a mentality of the previlieged few or rich in Calcutta that does this and probably this act would not occur in other cities of India.
One wonders why. Is this an isolated act of cruelty? What kind of a mindset would a person have to do something like this to a poor balloon seller boy in a city? And more importantly, why would that occur?
We know that built environment impacts mental health, and at the end of the day, it may well be possible that the person’s environment might have been responsible in some ways to the act of cruelty, one almost wonders that sadism of it. Calcutta’s environmental conditions are not the best in the country by any means, and it’s quite possible that this is taking a toll on the public behaviour of the citizens. Read for example Gary Evans’ review [DOI: 10.1093/jurban/jtg063] on the impact of built environment and mental health issues. There is a need for introspection and perhaps the role of environment on collective social behaviour and urban spaces need to be seriously reviewed in the context of Calcutta.

Posted via email from Arin’s Stream

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