A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

You wonder..

Posted by Pepper on January 21, 2014

Sometimes you witness something that leaves you thinking for a long time. I witnessed something like that today. We were driving, dad and I. We saw a pedestrian jumping right in front of the car ahead of us. In order to save the pedestrian, the car ahead swerved to its left. Yet, it hit the pedestrian, who fell down with the impact, but was relatively unhurt and able to get back on his feet slowly. The car ahead slowed down after it hit the pedestrian, but instead of stopping and stepping out to make sure all was okay with the man who had collapsed, the driver sped away.

I was seething. How could any driver be that inhuman? How could he not stop? I was so angry, I felt my entire body tremble. My dad, who had witnessed the entire scene was able to gather his thoughts and gain composure more easily. He made me realise that the locality we were driving through was known to be aggressive and dangerous. Had he stepped out of the car, the crowd that had gathered would have thrashed the driver and left him severely injured. After all, no matter who is at fault, it is always the driver who is held responsible in India. So I had to keep that in mind, before sitting on my high horse, making a judgment and calling him inhuman.

Yes, the pedestrian was entirely at fault and the driver had no hand in this. We saw how the pedestrian recklessly appeared in front of a speeding car. He came out of nowhere, quite literally. The driver attempted to save him. I witnessed all of this. But yet, I couldn’t accept the way he fled. Shouldn’t he have checked to make sure the pedestrian wasn’t seriously injured, and maybe offered to take him to the hospital if need be? But again, if he did get out, he would have to face an unreasonable mob. Should he have risked his life for a mistake he didn’t commit?

I know I would have stepped out of the car to help the man, risking all that lay in store for me in the form of an angry crowd. But perhaps, perhaps I should judge the driver a little less. Sometimes, humanity collides with self preservation. It is not an easy choice.


14 Responses to “You wonder..”

  1. Though it may seem ruthless to keep driving, I feel your Dad is right since there are areas in Mumbai where the crowd may pounce on you..Dadar, Matunga and quite a few other places..

  2. hitchy said

    Its the earlier precedents… where the vehicle wala is always as fault and the people walking never are… Also instead of helping each other normally people actually are more interesting in blame game as if that will solve what happened… the accident has happened and none did it intentionally… Sad that people instead of helping have to be more self preserving and flee at such moments..

    • Pepper said

      Yes, it is the WORST part. Instead of coming together to help the injured person and make sure he/she is okay, people are more interested in getting even with who they think is at fault.

  3. ashreyamom said

    this happened to me when i was driving. i didnt stop as knew that hurt person was making a drama of falling and getting hit by my car, and the area people would have taken all the money from me.. so i had to just go away..

  4. Ashwathy said

    A similar incident has happened to me. I mean a pedestrian jumped out of turn… my car had already passed by… he was crossing the road BEHIND my car… it was basically estimation of space that went wrong…he thought my car would pass, I had to do a sudden brake to avoid hitting the car in front of me which swerved for some reason. Peak traffic team. The guy fell down, although nothing serious. I heard the thud and paused. In the rearview mirror, I could see him get up…saw that he was alright. By then the horns were honking behind me like crazy to move ahead. And I did.
    Point being, I didn’t get out of the car either. Sometimes the situation doesn’t warrant that. In my case I didn’t have a choice…there were cars from all directions…there was hardly space to pull over and stop.

    But would I have stopped in case there was space? Stopped, maybe. Gotten out of the car? No probably not. Not unless it was my fault it happened. And/or the pedestrian got injured in any form.
    Just my viewpoint I guess.

  5. radha said

    Yes i wouldn’t get down , It’s akin to suicide, especially if the car is of a higher priced make. I’d stop, stay inside and maybe inquire from the window.
    and yes I’d feel guilty and terrible. and thank god we haven’t hit anyone, which is a wonder in mumbai.
    It’s called an ACCIDENT for a reason and not intentional. but such is life. better safe than sorry.

    • Pepper said

      Well, yes. I guess all of you are right. But then there are also a lot of genuine people who are truly injured, and are left alone to bleed and die. Just because the person responsible chose to flee. 😦

  6. This is one of those situations where the choice is between the ideal and the practical. It’s really sad that, in most such situations, we have to opt for the practical.
    You say, “I know I would have stepped out of the car to help the man, risking all that lay in store for me in the form of an angry crowd.” I don’t think you can ‘know’ now. While you have said this with all sincerity, you will ‘know’ only when you face the same situation yourself. This applies not just to you, but to every one of us.

    • Pepper said

      I agree. I *think* I would have stepped out. In most probability, I would have. I usually act without thinking in such situations, and my instant reaction would be to jump out and check if he/she was okay. But then I don’t know anything for sure..

  7. In India it’s common. Like you said the fault is always with the driver. If two vehicles get into accident like bike vs car, the fault is always the big vehicles . I wish we had better system and people are more sensible and look at it with neutral eye .

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