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    Saturday, December 23, 2006
    Stop., look., go.,
    thinks Dude Hyderabadi...,

    What's the most dangerous stretch of land in India where thousands of lives are lost without a single bullet being fired? It’s not the hot barren deserts or the lifeless cold mountains. I'm not even talking about the Indo-pak borders or the home sweet home for suicide bombers in India: Kashmir. You can't escape it 'cause you're surrounded by it. It engulfs your city, your home, it creeps through your friendly neighbor hood. It follows you wherever you go. Just when you think you can run away it's always ahead of you and behind you. It's dark n rough surface has tasted the blood of many. Yes genius, you got it right. It's the ROADS!!! You can hide but you can't run coz then it's right under you.

    Not hard to believe that India's almost at the top of the charts. Not the Billboards! On the list of the highest number of road fatalities in the world. Phew! I don't blame you if you walk or drive very aware on the roads next time you're out. You can hide but you can't run from it.

    What makes the roads more dangerous than the crazy drunken drivers or insanely small highways or tons of killer steel n rubber that we call Lorries? May be those too.., but can we forget sweet lil’ Banti playing on the road (of all places) or Ramu kaaka talking a casual walk on the road just a few feet.., from the freakin' divider line !

    While Banti likes to become the next Baichung Bhutia n kicks the ball into the imaginary goal post n he can't wait for the imaginary goalkeeper to return it back., so goes to get it. He picks up the ball n he smiles listening to the roar... but it's not of a cheering crowd but of a lorry driving towards him. Sometimes he makes it back safely to his side of the field., sometimes unfortunately he doesn't. This is just Banti's case n we got thousands of Bantis, Chintus, Babloos and Golus all over India aspiring to be good sportspersons but unfortunately too far away from the safety of their homes.

    Now, seventy year old Raamu kaaka's bored at home. Nobody talks to the poor old man at home n the TV is NEVER free. He comes out for some fresh air. He's occupied with thoughts of how good life was when he was young or humming a hymn. He's already old n slow, with a poor eyesight n bad hearing. Immersed in his thoughts, he walks on the road like there was nothing else in his way. Passersby try n dodge him, Cars in the corners honk their horns in frustration for him to move n Speeding bikes coming from the other side halt to a screech inches from him., some even crashing to a louder screech. Raamu kaaka's still in his own world., still walking dangerously away from the pavement n unfortunately for him, there's one motorist whose reflex is as slow as his n then sadly steel meets skin n skin meets road.

    It's bad enough for the kid or the old man n their family but the sometimes injured motorist doesn’t get away without tasting the curses n punches of the ubiquitous Indian street crowd., our self appointed lower level judicial system. The innocent kid of the wise old man just couldn't have made the mistake.. they assume. The motorist gets an undeserved beating of a lifetime n the victims are rushed to the hospitals n in ONLY a few cases return home.

    It's a scary fact that to be safe on the road you are not the only one on the road who has to be careful. Roads are just not safe considering the fact that there are 'innocent' (read unintentionally careless) people like kids or old people but also many inexperienced n bad drivers and quite a few booze boys. Do your part carefully n hopefully you'll survive with just a few scratches. Wear your helmets n seat-belts n drive carefully n slowly n follow the traffic rules not coz someone told you so., but coz somebody's waiting at home., for you to return...safely.

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