We are a funny society. On the one hand, we worry about our longevity and getting sick and we go through annual medical check-ups and take medication for hypertension and diabetes. And yet, when it comes to protecting ourselves from injury and accident, we all seem to have an intensely self-callous attitude that seems to stem from a misplaced faith in fate.
And so people get down from the wrong side of the train to cross over to a temple and get mowed down by an oncoming express train. It is as if there is not a single fiber of self-preservation clothing the bodies of those who were stupid enough to be on the tracks of an oncoming train. Seriously!
But why just them!
Take runners on the road. Virtually all runners run with their backs to the traffic, along the direction of the traffic. In a country where even as a driver, apart from concentrating on your own driving, you have to bother about how others are driving so you can take evasive action in time, how we can we assume that vehicles coming from behind us will not bang into us? Isn’t facing the traffic and seeing what is coming towards us so that we are able to take preventive action in time, the most obvious way to run? And yet, 90% of all runners and walkers continue to run and walk alongside the traffic.
Mothers with kids in prams do this as well. In the middle of the busy lanes in Matunga, they stroll along with their kids on the same side of the road as the traffic, just waiting to be hit by some vehicle from behind. Isn’t there some maternal preservation instinct that is supposed to kick in to prevent harm to the child?
Half these parents also walk with the child on the traffic side. Perhaps this is when the parents’ own preservation instinct overrides the maternal/paternal instinct. Is it so difficult to understand that when walking with a child on the road, the child must be towards the pavement and the adult towards the road/traffic?
The same self-preservation instinct at the expense of the child makes parents sit with young kids on their laps in the front passenger seats of cars. Seriously! A little jerk and the child becomes the cushion between the parent and the dashboard and gets crushed. In effect, the child gets injured protecting the parent or adult. Is this so difficult to grasp?
Texting and taking calls with or without hand-free devices while driving, texting and reading cell phones and iPADs while walking and crossing roads, listening to music with earphones stuck inside our heads oblivious to the traffic when crossing roads…we don’t really seem to care, do we!
Two-wheeler riders have the ultimate death wish. How is it acceptable for the pillion rider not to wear a helmet? If there is an accident, won’t both riders be equally involved? Don’t they worry about being hit by traffic coming from the sides or from the front, when they break signals or ride in from the opposite side?
Isn’t anyone bothered about his/her lives?
Or is it that living in India with shooting onion prices and the depreciating rupee and the horrible infrastructure and the violence and rape has become such a tribulation that effectively 90% of the population now has a death/suicide wish, hoping that somehow, someone will put them out of their misery without having to make that effort themselves? Then why put someone else in trouble? Why not just jump from the tallest tower and save everyone else the pain and agony?