Friday, June 04, 2010

Safe...Are we?

Another borewell accident! Just how many lives do we have to sacrifice before enforcing some stringent safety norms?!
I realise that we take so many things for granted and what is shocking is that safety seems to be one of those things! We just get so 'used to' things - recently someone from US was appalled at the way infants and toddlers were carried on the two wheelers, forget not having car seats and seat belts. I see them all around and each time I send a prayer for the children - that's all that I can do. For those who don't understand this, see this picture and this and this.

1. The lady is mostly wearing saree so she can only sit with both legs on one side - bad for balance since weight is not evenly distributed
2. She (most of them) holds the man's shoulder/ waist with one hand - *throwing up my hands*  just what sense does it make to hold the man for support! There's a handle on every bike!
3.She holds an infant with the other hand with no form of protection whatsoever and it almost always looks like the infant/ toddler is slipping off what with the slippery saree and all that! Of course we use towels to protect against the sun so that the child doesn't become dark - now, that is important! See our priorities?
4. And they drive in thick traffic.

I've heard arguments such as, 'Oh they can't afford the ricks and cabs and public transport is terrible, so they are left with no option'. I considered it but don't quite agree. Most of these kids I see are clad in thick gold/ silver jewelry. Now, if you can afford that, and if you can afford a two wheeler, you can definitely afford a bit of safety for your child. The point is, most often we don't even reach this stage of the argument - we simply believe that it is quite safe to travel like that with a child!

When will we have better safety standards? Where are the rules where they are really required?


apu said...

I was just thinking about this. I think it keeps happening repeatedly also because those responsible are not punished; what if every builder or house owner who left a borewell open had to pay at least 2 lakhs as damages? People would think twice, isn't it? Instead, the govt. pays compensation, which really doesn't make sense. As for our focus on safety - blah.

btw - ur name/url option doesn't work.

MindfulMeanderer said...

Its crazy crazy crazy!! The apparent lack of concern for safety is a serious issue. I don't know how people can't understand taht. Stringent rules will make things better.

The Print Lover said...

Just the other day a friend was complaining about the "chalta hai" attitude among Indians. We accept that our politicians will be corrupted, that police will accept bribes and so on.
We dont hold anyone accountable :(

I dont want to sound like a jaded NRI, but I am surprised at the level of character that is expected out of leaders here in the USA. One blemish (like say an affair while they were married or accepting a bribe) and their politicial career is doomed. Doesnt matter if it is a local mayor or a Presidential candidate (John Edwards). They are shunned for life. And this is in a place where we assume people have less stringent moral standards.

We are proud of our culture but fail to expect that from our leaders :(

Anonymous said...

I share exactly the same sentiments as the Print Lover! Our cuture and moral values are true only for the middle class. The rich and powerful have no rules to play by. The poor will do whatever it takes to get by.

Safety and Cleanliness is surely a matter of attitude than economics. I am apalled by the lack of both in our country.

My most startling image: On the busy busy Poonamallee High Road in Chennai - a lad merely 12 or 13 years old is riding an adult bicycle with a toddler barely 2 years of age in the pillion with his legs crossed in the front and his hands holding the seat.

As a parent of two young children I was dismayed. My only thought was, God must have a plan for everyone of his creations...

Uma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PV said...

Rules may be present or created anew - but enforcement is the key.

A two wheeler is cheaper than a car, getting a license is quite easy, parking is not much of a hassle and it can nimbly zip through traffic jams while buses and cars are at a standstill.

Limiting the number of pillion riders, requiring mandatory helmets on all riders, providing easy-grip side handles to maintain balance - these are some ways to change things

How do we know said...

yes.. i m apalled at this too.. and then the husband navigates the traffic as if he is sitting solo,leaving the wife to handle the child and her own balance. its a miracle she manages. On one occasion, with 2 children in tow, the husband was driving so rash that i actually stopped the car and asked him "the way you are driving, r u out to transport ur family or kill them?" really.. i had to put on emergency brakes to save his bike!!

Ppl think that the older generation has always done this.. held kids on 2 wheelers.. but the older generation did not have adrenaline pumped cars and drivers and blue line buses.. the roads and the drivers were much more considerate then.. and lots less crowded.. no one explains that to them!!

Uma said...

Apu - Way too often and you hear the same story everytime! I think the fine has to be hefty and I can't believe that those responsible are scot free!
Hey, checked the name/url option - seems to be working

Shruti - Every rule that we have (if at all we have) has umpteen loopholes! Talk about our authorities being stringent!

TPL - Jaded or not, there is truth in what you are saying! Even the basic things like helmets and seat belts are not regulated well here! You'll see them active during month ends and you can get away for a meager Rs.10/, sometimes even lesser!

Anonymous - This scene is so common on our roads!

PV - All that taken, but I'm sure the infants and toddlers can be spared the risk..

Howdeweknow - So true - it is indeed a miracle that they manage! One of my friends also stopped one couple like this and asked, 'Is this really your child? If it is you wouldn't be treating him this way'
And 'the older generation did that' doesn't make any sense - we don't follow them in every aspect - we just choose what is convenient for us!

Hema said...

There are people, who when they don't have a choice, cling on to their child like there's no tomorrow. But many times, I guess it is negligence and what we call in tamil, 'Kuruttu thairiyam'.

Uma said...

Hema - you are right! It is Kuruttu thairiyam all the way! But at some point people should realise that they are putting the kids' lives at risk...

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Its interesting how passionately we have all spoken about these issues. Thats exactly why I started an endeavor to bring our voices to a collective forum. If you want to voice your concerns on issues like these, I suggest that you visit as it is an endeavor I began in order to simplify and question existing laws. On our facebook fan page, readers continuously raise issues and perspectives that are really informative and interesting to read. Do check it out please.

Uma said...

Swapna - That's great! I'll definitely visit the site soon. I think it makes sense to do something like this since a collective voice is a lot more stronger compared to all these scattered discussions. Thanks for sharing this.