The Honk is Mightier than the Soul

Scene 1
I'm driving to work. At a right angle turn ahead of me, a motorcyclist bends a little too much, loses his balance and falls, face first; his bike lying a few feet away.

My first instinct is to stop my car and open the door. I plant one foot on the road, thinking about the biker. Is he hurt? How bad? Which is the nearest hospital I can take him to, just in case?

Suddenly, I become aware of relentless honking from behind me. Few drivers have poked their heads out the windows. Some are gesturing to me, some are yelling at me. By now a few passers-by (mainly pedestrians) have already reached the fallen biker and have started helping him up.

I take a look at the angry drivers, then at the hurt person, then back at the now fuming drivers; get back in the car and continue driving. A pang of guilt keeps popping up in my mind for the rest of the day but I keep brushing it aside.

Scene 2

Few months later. A couple on a motoscooter. The guy is riding – in his hurry to jump the signal, he fails to spot the car about to cross paths with him. He applies the brakes at the last moment, loses his balance and they both have a hard fall. He's clutching his knee, she's placing a hand on her cheek, wincing.

This time, there are not only cars behind me, but also buses and lorries. I glance at the hurt couple for only a fraction of a second and continue driving, without even bothering to slow down this time. I look in the rear-view mirror and am relieved to see that there are people helping them and that they are up on their feet. Looks like they aren't too badly hurt.

The pang of guilt revisits. Again, I dismiss it saying there's nothing I could do. I wasn't my fault. But deep inside I know that's not true.

We live in a busy world. No one has time for anything. We don't even want to make way for ambulances because if we do, we might miss the green signal.

But you know something's gravely wrong when you see a fellow human being in pain and you are not even in a position to stop and help, lest you want to face an army of irritated drivers behind you who are in a perpetual state of hurry.

4 comments to The Honk is Mightier than the Soul

  • hmm.. kiran, I think its time to overcome what others think about u and do the right thing by ignoring them. If u tell its as help, there are 100 ppl who see it as a time waste and 10 ppl who think that you are doing a mistake.But, finally what matters at the end of the day is.. are we respecting the humanity which we are supposed to. And i dont think we should give so much of respect for the ppl who HONK !

  • 1st responsibility on the road is not to create any nuisance and let the traffic flow smoothly!
    As for accidents, I guess we better ignore the simple falls( even if they look ugly!) something more serious will block the whole thing anyway, and then you can pitch in to help!
    I've seen in Goa how everybody waits and gets out of the car to help, it creates more confusion and nuisance! So my conclusion, people with cars- drive, people on bikes-ride, people on foot- help!

  • Anonymous

    Hey i reallly liked the title of this for its contents,..they r so real..all of us do such things all the time...and are always in a dilemma about the right thing to least I am!

  • @Kiran: Maybe you are right. But its not only about the honking. What are we supposed to do if one of those impatient drivers behind you picks a fight?

    @JSincro: Not really. The person who is in a car is in the best position to help - by taking the injured to a hospital etc. Pedestrians can just help in getting the person to his feet - but little more than that.

    @amruta: Yes. Dilemma - Thats the correct word for the situation! In fact - I might react in different ways if faced with the same situation twice.

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