Friday, July 8, 2016

Of the Fallen and the Forgotten

An old woman, poorly dressed, with no gold on her, was hit by a motorist while crossing the busy road near my office. The road is about 50 meters wide. There are no zebra Crosses anywhere near, no cop, no red light, no underpass, nothing. The chances of her crossing the road alive was always bleak. She just did not know it. She was not from the time when there were a million cars on the road and driving license were issued like guns in the US.

The car that hit her did not even get to see her. The driver was busy overtaking a transport bus from the wrong side. The bus had slowed down for her to cross, the car ended her mid road journey forever. Just another sacrifice to the altar of the great Indian Road God with a million heartless, insensitive, resource hungry, barely controlled, Talibans as followers. They jump lights, run motorists down, run over pedestrians, speak, text and brush their teeth while driving. They chase ambulances but never give way to one.

The Road God also finds followers in our governments, our courts, and our law. Roads are poorly lit, roads have encroached upon pavements, and roads have open manholes and temples and tombs and gandhiji doting the sides, and the center and wherever whoever wills.

The death and maiming by accidents in India is far more ghastly  than death by tobacco or cancer or any other epidemic. And the killers run amock, in service of the Road God.

Someone's grandma died on the road that day. As I watched her sacrificial blood run down the road, with tires running over it, passing it on to other tires and other roads, I knew that it will be some time before the 108 guys reach here. Two policemen lifted her body from the road and placed it next to a shop side. There was a moment for which the traffic slowed down, before it continued its march to claim its next victim.

Happy Driving India.

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