Saturday, February 13, 2010

a silence that speaks

If nothing else, driving is one thing I have been doing a lot of since a couple of months. I have come to enjoy the solitude of being on my own, sometimes music accompanying, sometimes the silence. While you know the traffic patterns like the back of your hand, you still wonder how different drivers have different minds and different minds have different thoughts.

I am a strict follower of road rules. While earlier I was guilty of speeding at 120kmph on the sea link, the new rule limiting the speed to 50kmph has me following exactly that. When others pass me by, I couldn't care less. Rules are rules for me.

Today an ordinary incident left me with a strange feeling. Moving at a snail's speed at a bottleneck, I could hear the shrill siren of an ambulance. I checked front and behind and saw the ambulance stuck somewhere way behind hopelessly trying to inch forward. I made a little space and moved sideways... the cars behind me immediately took the opportunity to move ahead. I was raging. Rolling down my window I yelled and waved at every car to give way to the deafening siren.

Finally the ambulance moved past and I heaved a sigh of relief. Just then my eyes fell on a face peeping out of the back of the ambulance. An elderly woman looked at me blankly. In that slight second, that face spoke of a pain very very deep. In that split second that face appealed for faith. In that split second that face silently thanked the crowd for letting them go ahead. In that split second she cast a look that spoke of hope against certain defeat.

It's a face that will haunt me for a long long time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i never ever look inside an ambulance. its shit scary!


10:14 pm  
Blogger Arunima said...

we have become very insensitive to people. i see it happening in bangalore too. people just rushing by to fill up gaps.

your last few lines were profound. one of my friend's dad passed away in a mob as the ambulance got stuck in the mob.

8:49 pm  
Blogger Alapana said...

Everytime i hear that siren a silent prayer goes out from my heart.Happens most of the times on Bangalore roads and i just keep hoping people around hear that shrill silence and wake up from their own world and give way to life.

10:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say I abide by speed limits. But otherwise, most rules I treat with more respect than I would, say, social rules. And I can totally identify with the ambulance situation.

However, I've found Mumbai to be much more responsible, in general about such things. I've in fact sat in an ambulance when one of our friend was being take for a routine checkup in a an ambulance that was nothing but a taxi ride, and the driver against all our pleading had kept the siren on so that he could zip through the traffic. And we traveled some really crowded roads in peak time (this is easily 10 years back, now I realize) -- the SEEPZ road for instance back then used to be a narrow crowded one. And amazingly the traffic was parting. I can't think of that ever happening in Pune.

It's sad that such things happen: both the abuse of privileges and the apathy for human lives.


2:47 pm  
Blogger Varsha said...

how sad you had to yell for people to hear the ambulance siren! we are all getiing so apathetic

6:08 pm  
Blogger venkat said...

Nice to see you again.

12:38 pm  
Blogger Arunima said...

hey Anumita,

missing your blog posts. Please update something if possible. you've been an amzing blogger. Do not give up on it. Hope evrything is fine. Take Care.


11:18 am  
Blogger Ridhs said...

hey there, could relate very well to your post,as i am a doctor and i see this everyday,the apathy among the people,and at times we have had to get out of the amnbulance to make way for it.I also love driving and I do speed at times but i always give way 2 d siren! It was a lovely post though!

3:36 pm  
Anonymous Facebook fans said...

Yesterday i had the same situation
but the ambulance din move an inch for half an hour.
we tried everything but the horrible traffic took the toll on the patient :(
I feel sorry

11:03 am  

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