By Sakshi Rao:
It was on a hot summer afternoon last year when my father and I were stuck in heavy traffic in Najafgarh.
This was one of those areas that received little attention from the local authorities, and heavy traffic was an everyday thing. It was only after the traffic police experimented with the ‘One Way Road’ idea, that things got better.
But before that worked out, getting stuck in traffic, especially in the afternoon could drive people insane.
Well, fortunately, that day, the traffic police were working hard to manage the ugly situation. As we waited for the traffic to disperse, I noticed that the driver in the car next to us was shouting at everybody and was giving strange instructions about the right way of driving.
His face was visibly dripping with rage, everybody around his car was trying their best to maintain a safe distance. I scowled at this man when he threw expletives at my father.
“It is our responsibility to avoid as many fights as we can on the roads. It’s like a battlefield in this heat.” said my father, asking me to calm down.
Next moment I heard two cars bump into one another. Someone had bumped a little into that man’s mud guard. That very moment, I saw all the blood he had, rush to his face.
My heart beat fast, and I was scared. In no time, the angry mister stepped out. I was expecting a shouting match full of obscenities or something that had to do with the other person paying for the damage caused.
But to my surprise, he pulled a thick metal rod out of his car. He shrieked like crazy and abused everyone around. He abused the traffic police. He abused the man who hit his car. He even insulted God for creating such humans. At that moment everybody froze. Nobody moved. Everyone could sense the potential danger.
I had a look at the other man’s car. I saw a family. The man was sweating profusely, and the lady was about to cry. The kids were unaware of everything that was going on.
As I turned to look at the angry man again, he was already charging at the other man, red-faced, tightly gripping the rod.
He struck the other man’s car window with full force. The moment the rod hit the window, a crack appeared – he froze. He was panting. I forgot to breathe, I think.
After he realised what had happened, he ran to his car and steered off and vanished into the narrow lanes. Nobody acted until he left. I saw the shocked faces of the traffic police.
I still don’t know if the police did the right thing by not intervening or if it was alright for everybody to also not have intervened because they were more concerned about their safety.
What if that man had killed the other guy in that fit of rage?
I still am guilty about it. One, for not having answers and the other for not acting.
Would anybody present there have been answerable or responsible in case of a serious injury?
I realised that what my dad had said was right. I promised myself never to be in a hurry when I’m driving or when I’m on the road. Never shout or lose my senses, no matter what. Our rage affects our driving. Life is precious. It’ll be a shame to lose it this way. The increasing road rage is a big proof of our growing intolerance.
Why can’t we understand that it is us who’ve created such situations? It amuses me to think that we need traffic police to enforce the law, so that we can stay alive. We have to be given constant reminders about wearing helmets and putting seat belts on. It’s like having someone to remind you to breathe. Think again. Feel responsible for the situation at hand, the situation you’re in.
The incident was a lesson, and I thank God for saving our lives.