India is a great nation where I'm guessing human lives aren't as important as the 'cultures' or the 'everyday protests' against simple issues of women's clothing or a celebrity couple kissing or hugging onscreen. A life just isn't valued. A general sarcastic line of thought is that, given the population of this country, a loss in that count doesn't really matter. We read about it in the papers everyday, happening to someone, somewhere in the city/country. But the intensity strikes only when it happens to someone we know personally.
I have seen two deaths in the gap of only over four or five months. One, a personal friend with whom I studied with up until my tenth grade. Till date, the image I have of him in my head is that of a smiling one. His was a hit and run case. The lorry driver who hit him riding the pillion did not even bother to stop and see what he had done. The second was that of my close relative who passed away only yesterday after he skid and fell off one of the huge mounds of earth that was dug out for some reason, in the city of Chennai. It saddens me deeply to see a spate of such happenings one after the other. To lose both these people meant a lot to me and many others like me. Both of them were college students and students came in huge masses to pay their last respects to both of them at the cremation grounds.
There are many reasons for such happenings in the city. When I was at the police station yesterday, I heard a policeman mention that there have been over hundred odd casualties that year. There is such an incident happening almost everyday. Everyday, some parent is lamenting over a lost child who they lovingly had brought up for over 20-25 years. To merely think about it overcomes me with grief.
I don't have statistics to support what I thus write, but a large number of the students from my knowledge don't wear helmets. Racer bikes with riders who don't know the difference between rash riding and speed, eventually end up getting hurt. Moreover, Indian roads are not suitable for such kind of rides. There is always some part of the road that is dug out for the one of the million reasons the Corporation has enlisted. But the speedy progress and the attention given to attend to whatever the problem may be before digging out the roads and while doing so isn't there after it is done. Mounds of earth lie on the centre of the roads, on to the sides and hard,rock jalli is used to close some of the dug-out areas. This becomes highly difficult for any commuter on a two wheeler or vehicle, as even crossing the road becomes a worry. With the Chennai Metro Rail in progress, there are several one ways and the already shortened roads spell trouble with uncovered pits, uneven and extremely rough-terrain-ed roads. I wish the Corporation connects more with the people and finds out the root cause of all these problems so that they may be repaired.
This works on several levels. There are several cases of hit and run. Why can't there be a speedy nabbing of the accused personnel? I wonder, how do these people sleep at nights given the horror and grief they push on the family of the deceased. I don't know where to start and I don't know where to end. I just felt I had to write this at the least.
Whatever may it be, I request all of you who are reading this to wear your helmets and ride safe. Indian roads are not for racing.
Cheers and love,
(For Deepak and Pappu)