Reporter's Column: Helpful Yet Helpless
On May 25, 2013
The sun had already drawn lengthy shadows across the MC Road. I was enjoying a long drive that summer evening, heading to Kottarakkara from Trivandrum. A series of loud and embarrassing horns disturbed me from enjoying the beauty of that lonely evening drive. It was a white Bolero with the name plate “Kerala State” on it.
The state vehicle overtook me at a very high speed and continued its path along the right side of the road, to overtake a series of vehicles moving ahead of me. It was so rash that it even forced two or three bikes which were coming from the opposite side to go off-road; barely avoiding an accident or two.
My curiosity aroused to find the man behind the curtain. I revved up to chase the car and when I neared it, my speedometer showed 120. The ‘state’ car continued its ‘state’ of being and I decided to do something to curb his over-speed. It was also a part of my conscience as a citizen to save my fellow beings from this maniac on the road.
I stopped my car by the side of the road and picked up my phone to dial ‘highway patrol helpline’ at 9846100100. Somebody assisted my call and I informed them about that notorious car, its colour, its number, and its dangerous speed at which it was rushing ahead. The man on the other side of the phone promised me to take ‘necessary action’. I hung up, quite satisfied.
Dawn slowly gave way to night. Street lights and tail lamps of vehicles left trails of light as I moved forward. My eyes searched for an apprehended white Bolero with a “Kerala State” board. My heart was almost filled to the brim with the satisfaction of saving my brothers and sisters from this irresponsible driver.
I continued my drive to pass posses of police, busy ‘enforcing’ traffic rules - pouncing upon two-wheeler riders who don’t wear helmets, with the divine intention and focus to help save their lives. Some others eagerly waited to give escort services for their ‘godfathers’ whom they expect to pass through that road every other hour.
A 70 km drive later, not having seen the beautiful scene of our Police penalising the rash driver, I picked up my phone desperate to know the status of the ‘necessary action’, the highway patrol promised. The policeman who picked up the phone had a touch of indifference to his voice. After an argument of sorts, he again gave me a ‘promise’ to catch the erring driver and car at Kottarakkara. By that time I had reached Kottarakkara.
Expressing the agony of an ordinary citizen paying taxes to the state, I reminded him that even his salary was paid from the taxes which my fellow beings and I pay. With a deep sigh I hung up. I continued to drive, while some images of traffic awareness classes and gimmicks that Police play from time to time flashing through my mind. Are we helpless?