Life they say is the most precious gift given to you and everyone who has one. Isn't this what was taught to us when we were young?
Tired after a long day of office and classes, we CA students would just crash land into our homes. For Ruhi it was one extra lap. She had to wade through an insane stream of traffic for an hour and a half till she could call it a day. Monsoons in Pune are beautiful but only on the days you aren't working. We two-wheeler mounted rangers almost had to carry a change of clothes or a sturdy raincoat to spend 3-4 hours of a day riding on the roads. It was quite a crazy life, running between college, classes, office, clients, classes again and then home, each and everyday.
One night I recieved a call from her. She still hadn't reached home. Classes were over at 8 pm.
"Deeps! Where are you?"
"I am home, why what happened? Where are you?"
I am in Poona Hospital.
"You what?! What are you doing there? And how did you reach there? Its not on your way home?"
Hey I am alright. But can you come down? I've called home and told them I am stuck in extra classes.
"Yep! I'll be there in half an hour."
I couldn't make sense out of it at all. I grabbed my raincoat and just rushed. It was 9 in the night, the girl hadn't reached home and she was completely in the opposite direction from her way home. Mom was alone at home so at first I thought, I'll take her with me, but then I just didn't know what was it about, so I just told her some story and went. Pune roads are somewhat safe till about 11 pm in the night and I wasn't hoping to stay beyond that anyways.
I reached in about 30 minutes and entered the hospital with a pounding heart. I looked around and there she was. All wet, unruly hair, she was wearing her denim jacket but her kurta was soaked in blood. This was crazier than I expected, I made a dash at her.
"What the hell happened? Whats all this?" My mind stopped working.
She had stopped at a corner shop to get some notes photo-copied. This guy was on his bicycle. Another guy came recklessly from a connecting bylane, braked at the junction, and since the roads were wet, he lost control and rammed into him. The man on the bicycle was thrown off his ride, his head hit the pavement and he fell unconcious. Everyone rushed to the scene. The biker stood up limping. In no time, a crowd had encircled these two. Ruhi also ran towards the scene. The biker tried to start his bike and go. A couple of people held him, slapped him, but he somehow managed to get his bike started and sped off.
The bystanders stood around the unconcious fellow, but no one was ready to pick him up. For a few minutes, Ruhi thought someone will go ahead, but no one did. What are these guys waiting for? She heard some murmurs of 'a police-case', 'he is not going to survive', 'hassles' and no one was ready to come forward.
She decided to take this man to a hospital. She asked an autorickshaw driver to help her. He was ready to help on the condition that he would not enter the hospital door with her. They both put him in the rickshaw, someone accompanied him to hold the guy in the back seat and brought him to this hospital.
He had lost a lot of blood and it was a head injury. The hospital staff had already called the police. The doctor came by and looked at me. He had asked Ruhi to call someone from her family and he was not very amused to see me, I could see. He turned to me, "Listen you girls, this is going to be a police-case. The cops will come any time and your friend will be listed as a witness. Its going to be a big hassle which a respectable girl should not get into. Police stations aren't a place for a respectable girl. I wanted someone from her family to come and take her away. We can take care of this guy and register a complaint with the police." Sounded like a sensible thing to me and I turned to Ruhi.
I am not going home till I've report the bike number of the guy who did it.
"What?" "There is no need, its none of our business."
Then it wasn't my business to bring him here either.
"Its not as simple as you think. You will have to give a statement to the police and then maybe even go to the court to testify. This can go on for years, you know how court cases work in India."
So whats the big deal? Firstly, I am not the one who has hit him so there is nothing for me to fear the police. Secondly, all I want is to bring that *AH* to books, who thinks who can leave a man dying on the road and get away with it. A couple or 100 rounds of testifying maybe, versus, this guy's life! Whats heavier on your scale?
You have saved his life already, now you don't have to screw yours over it. You don't even know what kind of a guy that biker is. 8 of 10 chances are he is some messed up guy. I mean, who rides a bike recklessly in a crazy weather and then runs away leaving this guy on the road. He can be dangerous. Better still, he'll just bribe some people and get away.
I am not fantasizing about the fact that my testimony will put him behind bars. But I am more than convinced that this guy has to be identified and he should be ashamed of what he has done.
I think you are getting carried away with a surge of emotions right now. Its not as simple as you think. Lets go home.
Listen! If I was dying on the road like this man, I would be hoping with even the tiny wisp of life left in me that someone rescues me. And moreover, if there is a guy who did not care about another human life for the love of his maniacal bike rides, he needs to be checked.
You have brought him here and helped him enough. Do you think the man you brought here, would take the trouble to do all this for you, if he found you lying bleeding on the road?
I don't know! But what I do know is, if I stand up for him today, he would from now on! Let me see how much trouble I can get in, for helping an accident victim legally. Even I could have brought him here, thrown him at the door and gone away. But then I would be no different than those who were scared to bring him here, so much so, that they would rather let him die.
-------------------------------------This one comes out of a heated discussion on the back benches of my 11th std classroom, on a leisurely afternoon. I was quite idealistic in my school days and I was the one who was on the Ruhi-side-of-the-debate. Strangely, I was the only one who thought that way. And like a recurring dream, I play this over and over again in my head, as to what would I do and how far would I go to help. I still have no clue what trouble I could get in.
It was 12 yrs ago. I thought maybe growing up and pragmatism would change me for the better, but unfortunately I still don't see why I should be scared of helping a dying man on the street for the fear of something as lame as legal hassles, hospital hassles and police cases.
Maybe, it was indeed that complicated to take an accident victim to hospital 12 yrs ago, and hopefully there is a little more awareness in people today and hopefully it would only get better from here. But the worth of a human life has been and will be the same, always.
Even a herd of animals running from a predator, do make an effort to save that one member who gets caught. Given that becoming a beast's meal is quite an ordinary form of death for them, they shouldn't really bother. But they still put up a fight for that one team mate.Maybe I am just romantacizing here but... shouldn't our struggle to fight or withstand the system, be more rigourous, instead of choosing to ditch life?