As I write this piece, I am consumed with just one emotion and that’s anger bubbling away. I feel the heat rising through to my neck — an emotion I’m typically succumbed to in an extreme situation. And so, I hope that by the time you are done reading this piece, you will not judge me too harshly.
Some things are just meant to be dumb, no matter what you do or how much ever you try and avoid coming to terms with it. The most feasible solution that you can opt for your rescue while retaining your peace of mind is, either walk by it and pretend that it never happened, or sleep over it. Stay oblivious; sometimes the best cure can be not medication but ignorance. Whoever said ignorance is bliss, said that right. Especially in a case as this, it indeed was.
I own a car. Although I sit on the passenger side, it’s one of the materialistic possessions that I feel proud of owning. If the vehicle were to get scathed and scratched, that’s all right. After all, it merely enhances the utility of the vehicle! But the extent to which it can be hit such that it results in the body paint being replaced by an altogether different colour, a dent and broken lights — now that’s not okay. When I had to witness this sometime back, I realised how much my heart could bleed for this near-n-dear possession of mine.
So, we were heading back from a drive after the weekend; the early morning weather added to the good-minded spirit as what was turning into a fruitful break while away from work. As I looked forward to the day, no sooner than we touched the outskirts of the city than the traffic began to build. The crowd — a heavy bundle of babbling office-goers and students rushing last minute to universities — was mixed with the cackling cacophony of traffic lights, and uncouth pedestrians crossing the streets left, right and centre, adding to the chaos of the rush hour. As we made our way slowly past one of the traffic lights, we halted as they indicated ‘stop’. Meanwhile, the vehicles from the service lane mechanically pushed their way through as their lights turned green, joining the stream of vehicles on the main lane.
We waited for the lights on our end to turn green, meanwhile a traffic policeman rushed towards our side and urged the vehicles in the front to go despite the lights sticking on to red. All vehicle drivers — in a mad rush that they always seem to be in for heaven knows what — bothered thinking no further as they saw the traffic policeman’s hands swaying indicating ‘move’. While the vehicles in our lane pushed on recklessly, the traffic policeman’s state of mind seemed to have worked selectively as he didn’t think it was necessary for the vehicles heading from the service lane needed stopping! Mayhem was created in a span of seconds, while the vehicles meeting us at the T started cursing for barring their way. And yet, no one felt the need to STOP.
As my car crossed the red lights after the traffic policeman swayed his hands about, vehicles of all sizes and shapes came on to us. We swindled and dawdled our way through and ultimately stopped to give way to some, when out of nowhere turned a public bus from the left who kept going about even as he scraped past our sideview mirror, denting the vehicle’s surface above the front tyre. What’s more, there may have been the most chances in the world of him realising what he just did, for the sound of metals scraping was loud enough. Also, heads from inside the bus turned around which, by the way, happens to be a sure sign of an instant ‘crowd-puller’. After all, much of the crowd here gathers only to watch happened, while no one does anything about it.
It was only when we overtook the bus and the driver had to pull over at a bus-stop, did he and the ticket conductor get down to ‘negotiate’. It was no surprise that there was no sign of regret in their voice or body language. Not only did they manage to make our side of the argument sound bleak and dumb, added to it was a ‘bubble burst’ as though it was our fault getting out our own vehicle on the road. We’re the wrong one, of course, only because it is our vehicle while the driver drove a public bus. Adding to the misery of the state of mind was in the form of a lady, happening to sit on the other side of the bus and may have had near-zero chances witnessing the ‘accident’. She not only claimed to have seen what had happened, but also said that it was our fault. Transliterating her so-called statement pointed to something like — I saw. It was your fault.
Deep breaths were all I could take. There seemed no point speaking (leave alone arguing) with them. They had very little to say, and only because they could raise their voices higher than we decided to, they managed to prove their point far better than we could (or so it was assumed).
Leaving aside all legalities and what could’ve been done process-wise, I was so angry with the whole experience because there was no regret whatsoever whether the bus hit the car or the people inside. The driver seemed absolutely nonchalant. He stuck to his end of the stick implying — Okay. It’s done. What do you want me to do now? There was a so-called witness sitting on the other end who claimed to have seen it all. Above all, what I felt lost in me was the sense of anything humane that may have existed thereon, especially after the attitude people seemed to adopt towards anything, more importantly, anybody now.
At the end, it was my materialistic possession my heart bled for (and not for the bus driver, the ticket conductor or the onlookers). I cried with the repairs I got done to get my car back to shape. With all this, it’s only a wonder as to what is the world coming to when there seems to be humanity as this left.