Saturday, November 08, 2008

Life or Death

July 4 2002. I was riding my TVS Super Champ to work in Chennai. Just before the Kotturpuram bridge, I got caught in a jam. I was never one to weave through traffic, so I waited patiently as the July summer sun beat down on me. Suddenly, I heard the siren of a fire engine. People tried to move and make way. I moved completely to the side of the road. Then I noticed something that made me cringe. While a few of us moved to allow the fire engine to reach its destination, others quickly moved and filled the space we'd created. As a result, there was no way the fire engine could move quickly. I think we lost 15-20 minutes right there. When I got to work, I came to know that some hutments in Nandanam had burnt down. I wondered how much additional damage was caused by the insensitive behaviour of the people on the road.

This is not something I noticed after I started driving. It is something that has been irking me for years now. And I see it everyday. Regardless of the city I'm in. Whenever there's an ambulance or a fire engine trying to get to its destination, no one is interested in letting them pass. If some people make way, others fill that space. Or worse, they'll try and get behind that ambulance or fire engine in an attempt to get to their destination sooner. Yet if we're waiting for these services, we are so quick to say, 'Why can't these people get here sooner?'

I wonder about what is going to happen in those 5 minutes? To you, probably nothing. To the family waiting for the ambulance or the fire engine, those very 5 minutes could mean the difference between life and suffering, even death. Have the bulk of us really become so selfish, insensitive and hard hearted? Do we really not care at all?


Anonymous said...

who ate my comment??

i agree with you....i shudder when i see this happening.... recently i saw the ambulance driver sticking his head out and pleading / shouting at people to make way.... it happens all the time....

Goutham said...

In spite of all the advancements that India has made lately, there is something that people haven't really picked up -- courtesy. Well, hope things begin to change.

HK said...

I cringe I shudder I just can't believe that it is indeed happening when something like this happens but it happens. More and more Indians are becoming literate but are we educated? Not many of us. So many of us selfish and even stupid not to realize what effect their actions can have...Thanks for writing about this. Looks like I am not alone.