Social media has really transformed our lives in the past decade and a half. The world is much smaller, people are just a click away, and all sorts of information is always at the ready. Everyone with a social media handle also has a voice today which does sound pretty empowering, right? But here is a question: how reliable is this information that's available to our disposal? The thing is that a great amount of subjectivity is involved with all these personal narratives.
A good example of this would be the recent Zomato incident. Earlier this week, Hitesha Chandranee, a beauty and fashion influencer, shared a video on her Instagram where she alleged that she was attacked by a Zomato delivery executive. In the three-minute-long video, Bangalore-based Hitesha narrated the ordeal and how it ultimately led to her being injured.
"My Zomato order was late and I was talking to the customer care executive and in the meanwhile, the delivery person did this. He hit me, left me bleeding here and ran off," she shared in the clip. The internet hailed Hitesha for sharing her story and expressed their anger at the incident as well. Soon enough, the delivery executive was located by the police and was also suspended from the food delivery service. However, in a new turn of events, the delivery executive has refuted the allegations and has, in fact, claimed that it was him who was attacked by Hitesha. Complicated, right? Here's everything that has happened since then:
Here's what the delivery executive, Kamaraj shared in a recent interview: “After I reached her apartment door, I handed her the food and I was expecting her to pay me (as she had opted for cash on delivery mode of payment). I also apologised since the delivery was delayed due to traffic and bad roads. But she was very rude from the outset. She kept on insisting that the order has to be delivered within 45-50 minutes. I am working on this job for more than two years and this is the first time that I have had to go through this kind of an ordeal."
Kamaraj further shared that Hitesha took the food and then refused to pay for the order. Meanwhile, she kept saying that she was talking to Zomato's chat support. Scared that he would end up losing money, he requested her to pay for the food. He added, “At this point, she called me a ‘slave' and then she started shouting ‘What can you do?' In the meantime, Zomato support told me that they have cancelled the order from their end based on her request and I asked her to return the food but she did not cooperate."
According to Kamaraj, after pleading with her to return the food, he decided to leave the building without it. Hitesha then allegedly launched a verbal attack on him and before he could react started throwing slippers at him and beating him.
"For my safety, when she was hitting me, I tried to use my hand to shield her blows. At this point, when she was trying to push my hand away, she accidentally hit herself with her finger ring on the nose, which led to the bleeding. Anybody who sees her face, will understand that this wouldn't be created by a punch. And I don't wear any rings,” he shares. The police are now thoroughly investigating the case.
In a recent interaction with POPxo, Hitesha talked about how the entire thing has gone out of hand. "I am taking it to court because somehow it's working against me and has started defaming me which is not right. My whole intention behind recording the video and sharing it with the world was to ask a simple question: where is the safety? It was not a publicity stunt. I was not even expecting that it was going to get so much attention." She further added, "My point only was to create awareness about this and just to ensure that this does not happen to someone else which has totally gone in the opposite direction."
During the interaction, Hitesha also shared that she is in discussions with a Zomato spokesperson, who has paid her a visit, and would also be accompanying her to the hospital.
Hitesha is surprised by the reaction that she has been getting after Kamaraj's story went out. She says, "If I was really hitting him then why I am the one with the injury? I really want all the people who are talking about this to think about this." Refuting Kamaraj's claims that she punched herself, she further adds, "If I did punch myself, how much force do you think would I have applied that I am bleeding. Also, how can a guy enter your house without permission?"
Hitesha maintains her claim that Kamaraj literally pushed the door of her apartment, entered inside, and picked up the package. It was when she questioned him about the same, that he got back at her, and then ended up punching her.
Zomato CEO and co-founder Deepinder Goyal has now talked about how the company is trying to ensure that the truth comes out and has been providing “all possible support” to both parties so that “both sides of the story come to light”.
“We are in constant touch with Hitesha, covering her medical expenses, and helping her with the proceeding. We are also in touch with Kamaraj (the delivery executive), extending all possible support to make sure both sides of the story come to light and that due process is followed in the spirit of fairness,” he has shared in his latest social media post.
Addressing the incident, Goyal has added that while Kamaraj has been temporarily suspended, Zomato has been “covering his earnings in the interim while there is an active police investigation”.
Taking about the delivery executive, he has further added. “Also, for the record — Kamaraj has made 5,000 deliveries for us so far, and has a 4.75/5 star rating on our platform (which is one of the highest), and has been working with us for 26 months now. (These are facts, not opinions, or inferences).”
Clearly, the case has turned out to be way more complicated than what we initially thought.
This incident really makes one question the authenticity of the information that keeps inundating us all thanks to social media. But more importantly, in this era of personal narratives and social media trials, how do we tell apart the truth from fabrication? Here's hoping that it comes to light soon and justice is met.
Featured Image: Twitter