Archive | June, 2011

When Illiteracy Meets Intelligence

25 Jun

Illiteracy can cost lives. This is what I learned in yesterday’s car accident; my first one probably. The horrible sight of hitting a man straight with my car, watching the windscreen shatter, was enough to melt me, break me into several pieces. My world was spinning, as if all of a sudden, someone had put tons of weight on my shoulder.

“Why don’t these motorcyclists have side-mirrors on their bikes?”
“That’s the root cause of so many accidents,” I answered to mom, as we drove to the railway station to pick my dad, “They believe they own the road or something.”

I was driving, of course. The roads were nearly empty, because it was Friday, and almost everyone was off to their Jumma prayers.  Only a few minutes later, I found out I was not only going to miss my prayers, but also fail to reach the railway station.

Since there was negligible amount of traffic throughout our route, it was normal to drive at 55-60 km/h. Usually, it’s impossible to speed up to 50 km/h around the railway station area. The drive was smooth, no traffic jams, nothing. Then, all of a sudden, as I got on a ramp of a flyover, a man from the left side of the road decided it would be funny to cross the road and dodge a car moving at 60 km/h. No wonder, his idea wasn’t good enough. I honked, but he made it even funnier; he stopped, looked at the car, tried to make up his mind whether to step back or keep crossing the road, but unfortunately, he decided to keep crossing.

Now this was a narrow flyover, with a single lane for each side. I had to either hit the man or try to dodge by entering the wrong lane. I knew the brakes alone weren’t enough to save the old man. I applied the brakes to their fullest, and drifted right to the other lane, but the man also kept running in the same direction. The screeching sound of wheels already gathered loads of attention from the pedestrians.

BANG! CRASH! The car finally stopped, but it was not a pleasant ending. The man first got lifted up by the front bumper, then he hit the windscreen, and fell down. I didn’t really care about the shattered windscreen; all I cared about was the old man. I was almost sure that he was dead.

“Aadil! Aadil! Aadil!” I heard my mom crying out my name, as I saw people gathering around the scene. The horror. I got out of my car.

“Yaar gaari to slow chala lete!” I heard somebody say. (Bro, you should have driven slower.)

I tried to say something in defense, but people understood. They knew it wasn’t my fault. They saw the panic on my face. They instructed me to take the man to the hospital as soon as possible.

People laid him down on the backseat, and another guy sat in the car to guide me through the way. I was all shivering, but I had to drive. I handed the phone to my mom, asked her to inform dad. We drove around for a while. Eventually, I got annoyed by too many phone calls and switched my phone off. Searching for a nice hospital wasn’t easy.

First we reached a 5-storeyed hospital, where they refused to operate the patient. The old man was talking now; a sigh of relief for me. He told the other guy where he lived, and where he was headed to. He was certainly very poor. He carried a bag with him that was filled with empty plastic bottles and some other stuff I didn’t really concentrate on.

Finally, we reached a good hospital. Dad was already there. As we got the man out of the car, he searched around for his slippers and his food; a heartbreaking scene. The other guy gave him his slippers, and told him to not worry about the food. Dad didn’t say anything to me; in fact, no one really said anything. He handed me a bottle of water and tried to calm me down.

Fortunately, the man only had a few minor injuries. No broken legs, nothing. His treatment was done in about 15 minutes. The staff was very cooperative. Dad gave him some money, and arranged for him a ride straight to his home.

But the moment I hit the man, I still cannot seem to forget it. It goes through my mind over and over again, as the worst experience of my life. Here’s hoping that the poor old man never has to see such a day again, and that he learns to cross the road without getting confused.

This is also an open request to the government to concentrate more on educating its citizens about basic daily-life tasks, and also, construct more overhead bridges for the pedestrians, or the accidents will never decrease. People are killed everyday because of these minor ignorances.

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