‘The incident changed my perspective towards life’
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"When I look back, I find it hard to believe that it was I who stopped Mane in the end," says 22-year-old Sharif Ibrahim Kutty, the then third year BCA student of Poona College who was on his way to college when Santosh Mane went on a rampage, killing nine people, on January 25, 2012.
"The bus brushed past my bike and I was angry at the driver. So I started chasing him. When even at critical turns, he wasn't slowing down, I thought his brakes might have failed. But when he started hitting people, I realised he was on a killing spree," recalls Sharif, who now works at a software company, Homeward, in Magarpatta city.
"My reaction to the bus rushing past me was instantaneous. I was angry and wanted to shout at the driver. So I followed him. If I had thought even for a second before acting, I would have been scared to follow a mad man. This is one instance of acting before thinking that I do not regret," says Sharif. After following the bus for nearly 12 km, he had jumped on to the bus when it slowed down a bit near Neelayam theatre and had overpowered Mane.
Sharif's parents, however, were not amused when they came to know about the incident. "Their first reaction was 'were you out of your mind?' 'Why did you even try to follow a bus that had hit you?' But when my name appeared in the media later on and I got felicitated by people both here and in my hometown, they calmed down and actually appreciated me for what I did," says Sharif, who originally belongs to Malappuram district in Kerala.
According to Sharif, his life changed for the better after the incident. "People started recognising me. Friends' attitude towards me changed and there was a new found respect in their eyes," he says, adding: "Even my sister, who is in Class 9 now, was in awe of me and showed around the newspaper cuttings in her school."