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Opinion » musings

Posted at: Apr 21, 2017, 12:59 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2017, 12:59 AM (IST)

A faceless bond

Rajan Kashyap
I SAW her but once. There she lay, unmoving in the middle of the main road next to my house. Before my very eyes, her humble two- wheeler had crashed into a motor cycle. A screech of tyres, the harsh clang of metal striking metal, and two human bodies tossed several feet above the ground. The sight and sounds blended as in a gory action movie. The young male rider, miraculously unhurt, stared with stupefaction at the female spread-eagled on the road at a grotesque angle, still and possibly lifeless. ‘It wasn’t my fault,’ he kept repeating aimlessly, glassy eyed and disbelieving as he saw the pool of blood surrounding the victim.

The girl could not have been more than 18 years old. Despite the hour — 9.30 pm — bystanders gathered suddenly.  It needed no strength to lift the unconscious form and place her on the footpath. Light as a feather, she had a scarf wrapped around her face to protect her from heat and dust. Ironically, she had neglected to secure herself against possible head injury — she wore no helmet. I pleaded in vain with some motorists to transport her to hospital, assuring that I would attend to all legal formalities. I will drive her myself, I resolved, even as I telephoned to report the occurrence to a senior police officer, whom I knew personally. The police arrived within minutes. Before that some good Samaritans had placed her in their car, and drove to the nearby hospital.

My little role was merely to request my friend in the police to ensure that she was given immediate life-saving medical attention. He had already alerted the hospital, he assured me. I found that the emergency services in the city have some standard operating procedures for handling such eventualities. Tomorrow, the newspapers will carry a news item that a young scooter rider was badly injured (hopefully the accident would not turn out to be fatal) in a collision with another. For good effect, the papers will mention that the victim was not wearing a helmet. What the media cannot gauge is the extent of the human tragedy resulting from the mishap. How many hopes and dreams lie shattered!  A young body impaired, even a life snuffed out! How would the authorities have located the parents and family? I could only guess.

Hours after the event, I dreaded making an enquiry about her condition. Did she survive? If she does recover, will she be normal in all her faculties? 

My only acquaintance with her was as a chance witness to the shocking happening. But having lived through the event for just a few minutes has created for me a bond with a faceless stranger, an innocent victim of fate. As the Bard puts it, ‘We must endure our going hence even as our coming hither.’ 

My young granddaughter was dismayed to learn about the accident. ‘I’m glad I didn’t see it. I would have screamed out loud.’ I screamed too, but silently. 

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