An Open Letter To All Indians Who Drive With High Beams In The City

Posted by Sujayendra Krishna Nellore in My Story, Society
September 10, 2017

As I rubbed my eyes and tried to spot the things around me after parking my motorcycle in my house’s parking lot, I decided I had had enough and needed to vent. Before we begin, however, let me preface this by saying that when I say all Indians, I’m quite aware that not all Indians do this. But apparently, some people still have difficulty accepting the fact that the world does not revolve around them.

Now that we got that out of the way, let us begin.

Dear Indians,

The high beam option on your vehicles is not a tool to blind those driving from the opposite direction. So, can you please stop using it on city streets and blinding those in the vicinity?

I like my head intact and my body uninjured – and to this end, I wear a helmet and a jacket while riding my motorcycle – a lesson learned the hard way, after multiple crashes and many scars. But there’s only so many precautions I can take when you, my dear fellow citizens, just hop into your gigantic ‘look-at-how-I-overcompensate’ SUVs and barrel down narrow city lanes in your hurry to catch flights and whatnot!

You see, I’m not rich. I can only afford a motorcycle that I can barely take care of, a helmet that does the job in protecting my head pretty well. I’m a simple young man in my 20s, trying to earn a living and not die before it’s my time. But, you have made it your life’s mission to blind me as I return home in the evenings, tired to the bone and thinking of a two-hour marathon of my favourite video games, before retiring for the night with a good book for company. You, my dear friends, have made it impossible for me to have the simple joys of my life – because, by the time I return home battling the roads and your headlights (which by the way evenly spreads across the helmet’s visor, thereby making it even worse), I have a headache, a temper and patches in my vision which your high beams have burned into my retinas.

The question I have for you all is simple – do you simply not know why the high beam exists? I thought this was the case – but most of the folks who engage in this ‘daily activity’ of burning people’s eyes out of their sockets also seem to understand that they have something called a ‘dipper’, which they manage to use every now and then, when they’re driving on the highway.

One fine day, having been angered sufficiently by an oncoming car blazing its high-intensity headlights directly into my eyes (which nearly caused me to run over a 6-year-old child), I decided that maybe it was street-justice time. I created a scene after having successfully stopped the car. Imagine my surprise when this man, driving a high-end German car, wearing a nice ironed shirt, khaki pants and what seemed to be high-end leather shoes, expressed shock at the fact that he wasn’t supposed to use high beams inside the city’s many well-lit streets!

My dear fellow drivers, are you not aware that the high-beam function on your cars exists not for your pleasure, but for your necessity? I understand that you may have no concern of what other people think, as long as you’re safe and secure – but is it really necessary to be arrogant about it? Why do you think it is your god-given right to swing your ‘luminous member’ around in my face, and then expect me to apologise for it, should something untoward happen?

It’s not just big overcompensating SUVs that are at fault here, although those are the ones that hurt the most. I personally know people who leave their high-beam switch turned on at all time on their scooties, as if that’ll make them go faster! Even many motorcyclists are painfully ignorant about the blind use of high beams – often leaving the switch on for some ungodly reason. It often makes me wonder why such people are devoted to using these beams, when they themselves are also the recipients of these nasty beams!

So, my dear Indians, the next time you have to go somewhere in a hurry, please don’t forget to turn off your high beams to make sure that you aren’t contributing to someone going blind. I know that many of us may be hypocrites and often do not care about others – but, can we please try? Do try and understand that you shouldn’t use high beams every time you sit behind the wheel, just because you have the option of doing it.

At the end of the day, people like me can only vent their annoyance, because despite ‘nearly’ dying or killing someone after being blinded by high beams, nothing ‘serious’ has happened so far. I suppose it is just plain old luck that I can sit down and type this out in the comfort of my home instead of rotting away in a jail cell for something that happened when I was blinded by the lights from another vehicle.

Yours Truly,

Me.

P.S: I know this is not a problem unique to India, but considering the vast array of things that we do not even consider to be of ‘importance’, burning people’s eyes out is also something worth talking about. I’m going to sleep now with a damned headache.

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Featured image used for representative purposes only.

Featured image source: Kaushik Roy/India Today Group/Getty Images

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