Our Death Wish

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?


  • Hello Bahvin, A fair point well made. Thousands of people die at the stampedes that happen during large religious gatherings- the very same place where they have gone to pray for a longer life and their well being! No amount of preaching seems to haev any effect on a majority of Indians..its the “chalta hai” attitude thats impossible to overcome..

  • Satish Rao wrote:

    It is our education system which has not instilled the discipline to obey the law and use common sense. Our education only prepares the children to study and pass examination and do not make them practical. Parents themselves are the product of such a system and they too fail to educate their children by their action or thought.

  • Satish Rao wrote:

    It is our education system which has not instilled the discipline to obey the law and use common sense. Our education only prepares the children to study and pass examination and do not make them practical. Parents themselves are the product of such a system and they too fail to educate their children by their action or thought.

  • Pushpendra Shah wrote:

    It is only in the last 100 years that ROADS HAVE BEEN IMPOSED ON US…
    and traffic – meaning CARS and motorised cycles have been invented to TERRORISE us pedestrians.
    We shall not talk about the horses and bullocks and their carts…
    Perhaps in the next 300 years, we shall understand how things work, and we shall walk appropriately . . . Perhaps….

  • Your Article should be an Eye-Opener for everyone-especially for Matunga Residents. Since last few years, we have some of the best footpaths-sidewalks of Mumbai and quite wide too! Yet people of ALL ages walk on the road, some of them even in the middle of the road! When the footpaths were Not Walkable, everyone was abusing BMC for not doing anything. And now!!! Everyday, I watch from my third floor terrace flat on Devdher Road how people are risking their lives while walking or chatting or grouping on the road instead of on footpaths. It seems they are waiting to be knocked-down or hit by a vehicle so that a complain can be registered or still worse land in the emergency ward of a hospital. I have come to conclusion-Some people will Never improve or change, they just want others to improve or change their ways!!!

  • H.L. Chulani wrote:

    Runners and mothers with or without prams have their backs to traffic since they follow traffic rules of keeping on the left side of the road. Were they facing traffic they would be on the right side of the road. I guess Keep Left applies to them as well :))

  • And the young mothers who drag their little ones and run across the road when light is red. what road rules are they teaching the child

  • Jayesh Desai wrote:

    Norwegian rats under population pressure, survival of fittest, baptism through fire. What will remain be pure gold.

  • Thats what the world has come to.Even learned people are guily, who throw cautions to the wind.Gagetary has become a curse.This is the price of progres.

  • Neelakantan wrote:

    I think this attitude is a fall out of our centuries old culture. Rarely have the people taken control of their lives. It has always been seen as the responsibility of the government. Maybe our self centred life style adds to this, as an individual feels others have to adjust to his convenience. And we are normally part of the problem and not the solution. When all these are added together, you get an average Indian with a death wish. Maybe this is nature’s way of limiting the population and bring back sanity.

  • Abhilash wrote:

    Very well said Bhavin. I totally agree and sometimes I just don’t understand why we turn into devils. When we in foreign lands we obey all traffic signals, use foot over bridge, use zebra crossing, wait at corners or zebra crossing, not honk. But moment we land here, everything is forgotten.

    Another death wish by 2 Wheelers, put ear phones and listen to music, use rear view to look at themselves, use right mist lane.

    I see so many kids on Activas and bikes, about 16 but not yet 18, don’t have license and parents freely give them right to use the bikes !!

    Come on!!!what are we Yama incarnate.

  • This is true. Even educated people who has learned about the traffic rules and regulations does not follow it due to “Chalta hai” attitude. I think only because wearing helmet is made compulsory or else one would be penalized is the reason why people wear it and not because of safety reason.

  • Dhananjay Joshi wrote:

    Shallow…..yeah we do see this….but we are an inclusive society. We include everyone on the road even pedestrians.

  • Armaity Patel wrote:

    All that you have said bhavin is True to the letter “T”!!. Each comments are also great and appropriate! This goes to show that only that many of us care to take care of these practices and avoid the ‘Death Wish’ whereas the rest of the populous remains as “chalta Hai” ! I am sure all the commenters belong to the old school of thoughts where discipline was taught in the school and at home.
    In our boarding school, teachers hammered into us “not to waste water as it was more valuable than GOLD! At that juncture we all giggled and made fun of our teachers! But these were instilled in our unconscious mind! Save electricity, cleanliness is next to Godliness, by bowing or bending in front of elders ones back will not break, always say please, sorry and thank you, all though we claim that these 3 words have come down from the Britishers as they ruled us. etc, etc.
    Today, teachers themselves use discourteous languages, shout at students, gossip about other teachers somuch so that my youngest son, when he was 6 years of age, brought home all these gossips! Onasking how did he hear all that, he would say “two teaachers standing outside the classroom doors would exchange these stories about other teachers so naturally the whole class would hear it!!!
    If a child could not read from the Black Board or make mistake in copying it. teacher instead of helping the child out, would comment “You have eyes or potatoes”? Parents on the other hand, silence their children if they come up with some querries as they are
    ! “Don’t disturb me now, or can’t you see I am working or talking ???
    What happens to a child’s emotion Excuse this long soirée, but these form the basis of Death Wish as children grow up and adopt the same Chalta Hai attitude in life. Handing down to their children and so on and so forth! We should adopt the discipline and philosophy of JAPAN!!

  • Guess i do not belong to this mutual admiration club, where not a single soul can tell this self centered so called doctor the truth.
    Ever since he began writing in this No 2 best selling paper, it is all about him and his family. In the beginning he wanted his son’s school (his ex school too) to change their weekly holiday from Thursday to Saturday, to enable his family have a good weekend. Forget the school authorities and the rest of the students. He uses this paper to get what he wants. Then he replies that it is all in jest/humour.
    There are many other issues, but will only write about the relevant ones here.
    He writes about “No turning back” which is against the principles of what a good doctor is committed to. They are supposed to take an oath, which in recent times logged in the gutters, as most of them are kill me quick and only live for their well being, at others expense. Yes agree they have spent so much (mostly ill gotten money)on their way to get this paper, which gives them complete say in the lives of most innocents.
    Then they go on strike, like these auto rick walas. Who is to blame for that Dr. getting framed (maybe involved who knows. It is the law to look into that), but our learned Drs. like the auto wala take it out on the public, the very hand that gives them their bread butter, and Jam.
    I state that they are worse (most of them)than our politicians, as when the latter do not perform, the Country as a whole suffers, but when they mess up. It is that individual and his/her family that bears the brunt, not only financially, but also personal loss.
    Agree with what he says initially that people do not take care of themselves, by walking on the road, especially with children facing the onslaught of the vehicles, as quite recently I was told to mind my own business when I requested a woman (not lady)to put her daughter on the inner side of the road.
    But that does not mean 90% of the population is asking for a death wish. We are a nation with people who have got more than they need too soon, and have not been trained to use these facilities to their own advantage. If driving, they feel the road belongs to them. So also when walking on the road, or for that matter in malls. They block the passage with their trolleys…and there are so many. yes they misuse the mobile which is a good instrument for connecting with relatives and friends…and emergencies.
    And yes I will confess that I have given strict instructions to my family, that God forbid I get some major illness. They should never take me to …..leave it for u to comprehend.
    Have bitter experiences with close and dear friends.
    At 67 I thank God that I am very healthy and so wealthy, as health is wealth. Have lived a beautiful life. Don’t want my body to be tampered with.
    And if I may blow my own trumpet. In my business (my profession) since of late we too have all sophisticated instruments to detect any flaw/malfunction and so on in machinery in the field. They still depend on people like me to make a call when it’s time for an overhaul. We chalk out a better preventive maintenance program.
    Yes and there are many a time even sitting here we know what is happening in the field. We just have to know the symptoms and we spell out the cure, even better than the guys sitting in the filed. But we do not show airs.
    Drs. should develop such develop such knowledge than trial and error methods, which mess the patients up….

  • Ajay Bhonsle wrote:

    Though not a member of any ‘mutual admiration society’ – I do agree with most of Bhavin’s observation in THIS post. One has right to agree or disagree but no need to get personal. No one can survive in isolation these days and all of us need each other-unless one belongs to some weird sect that does not believe in seeking medical help and leaves it to his/her Creator to heal!

  • e. Environmental conditions that are especially conducive to generating and maintaining patterns of withholding or self denial include: (1) intrusive parents who disregard the personal boundaries of the child; (2) immature parents who attempt to feed off their children’s accomplishments; (3) sadistic parents who delight in denying the child gratification; (4) withholding parents who are unable to accept or offer love and affection in relation to their children; (5) a family atmosphere characterized by neglect or hostility. Self-hating, inward adults cannot offer love or genuine affection to children.

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