Thursday, November 10, 2005

A life so precious snuffed in seconds

During Diwali hols an ex colleague of mine, VK was driving home on his motorbike when his bike handle grazed against a stationery truck hurling him onto the road. As he picked himself up from the road, a BMTC bus which was coming from the opposite direction ran over him. The BMTC bus was a good 15 meters away, but the driver was allegedly chatting with a friend to notice the road. VK died instantly, his body cut into half. He was 24. The driver was arrested. The news was reported in the newspaper and VK became yet another statistic. VK leaves behind a young wife and a two year old daughter.

In his office, the news came as a jolt, especially since VK was a very well loved person with his ever ready smile and sincere nature. The whole office was enveloped in gloom. It was difficult to deal with the fact that VK was no more, and more difficult to comprehend his wife and daughter's future as VK was the only earning member in his family.


During the police paperwork of the case we learn't some startling facts.


1.If you kill someone with a vehicle it is considered an accident. All you to do is pay a fine and if the Judge is in a bad mood a couple of months in prison.

2.Only if you kill a person with a knife or any other weapon is it deemed a murder.

3.In an accident the bigger vehicle is automatically deemed guilty. Therefore you have no choice but to plead guilty even if you were hit from behind.

4.And if the bigger vehicle's owner was indeed guilty, then a pre determined amount will be paid by the Insurance company to the wronged party. The sum is not even worth mentioning here.

5.Investigations of accidents are never carried out. A case is registered so that concerned parties can claim insurance.


Can anyone in the higher echelons of power comprehend the terrible loss suffered by VK's family? If they could they would have definitely made the roads a safer place for the ordinary citizen. The fact of the matter is that no one cares. It doesn't matter that VK's young daughter will never know her father and that his wife will perhaps have to struggle for the rest of her life to bring up her daughter and support her old in laws.

A death in the family has many repercussions. Do we need to spell this out to the authorities?? Or are we lacking as citizens in blindly following the archaic laws laid out in the last century?

Somehow I feel that we have all failed VK by remaining mute spectators to such preventable tragedies.

R.I.P VK

53 comments:

Hyde said...

One piece of advice I got from my fellow bikers is to get to safety first when you fall off a bike. Once you are off the road, check for injuries, and then tend to your bike.

I did not do that, I was lucky there was no truck behind me or in the opposite direction to run me over.

But not everyone is that lucky.

Geo said...

Understand your anguish. But that’s how the judiciary functions in this country. I think the fine amount for killing a wild animal (less costly than some specific animal) is a mere 20 Rs. Archaic laws, rite?

Lost in trance... said...

"In an accident the bigger vehicle is automatically deemed guilty. Therefore you have no choice but to plead guilty even if you were hit from behind.
"

Really? THATS INSANE !!!

silverine said...

@hyde: You were extremely lucky!!! But for VK luck just ran out because the man at the wheel of the bus was illiterate with strong Union backing. Even traffic cops do not dare mess with these guys.
@Geo: I met him as I was leaving office the day I left for Kerala. He was so happy about a piece of land he had bought nearby and was happily planning on tending to the land during Diwali hols.He was one of the nicest persons I knew.
@lostintrance: There is more insanity than sanity in our outdated laws.

kickassso said...

The road scares me ... I havent even learnt driving yet:( all this makes me want even less to:(

Anonymous said...

That is one thing different in the US. They really really value life..i mean the SLA for an ambulance/Police reaching a particular spot inside the city(downtown) is 4 minutes. The response is quick. The driving rules are strict..extremely so...it is time india decided to implement these rules..no more of some idiot getting a licence just because he knew someone in the licence dept and most importantly ensure rules are followed.

zimblymallu said...

my friend died due to an accident on bangalore's streets. it was an auto and his bike. i know the frustrated rage you feel.

Meesa Madhavan said...

I agree completely with Mr.Anonymous. All the hype of India being the next super power apart, it is high time that we clear out the mess that is judiciary. In US human life is considered to be the most precious. A specific rule in US says that if a school bus is unloading and is flashing it's red light, traffic on either side of the road has to stop COMPLETELY, no exceptions. No one dares to break the law because every thing you do becomes a permanent imprint in the social security number. If you have hit some one, sure it is murder and finding a job is next to impossible. If you are an alien, then pack the bags and leave the country (after the court proceedings are over and they did not put you in jail) and do not even think of coming back for another 10 years.
My heart-felt condolences to VK's family. I am equally frustrated with the Indian system (or the lack of it). Thanks for the post.

MM

Dr. Pissed said...

My prayers for him and his family.

Just so that you know, trying to do something about it will only get you into more trouble than there already is. I almost got picked up for questioning a cop once, although i know he had nothing on/against me, but that hasnt stopped me. I hate them laws, each and everyone of them that we subscribe to!

Thanu said...

My sincere condolences goes to Vk's family.

All u people who drive out there please be carful.

silverine said...

@kickasso:You are doing the right thing. Here in Bangalore people have realised that it is safer to be inside these monsters than outside.
@anonymous:Thats the difference. Life is treated as precious in the US.We work in hi tech companies in glass buildings, but when you approach a govt. office you get to see the real India.
@zimblymallu: I think Jake told me about him. He was a poet too wasn't he?What a loss for his parents and to the society.
@MM: It is so heartening to read what you have just described. But if these rules were to be implemented in India then a certain class of people will lose their privileges of life above the law.
@dr. pissed: And what is worse is that you have to grovel and scrape your feet in front of these coppers. I am yet to see a cop who stands up to the BTS wallahs.The one who did in Peenya, is under suspension for 'holding up traffic'. The traffic was blocked by other BTS fellows who parked their buses blocking traffic in solidarity against their 'wronged' brother.
@Thanu: It's no use being careful. Only prayers and sheer luck will keep you safe :(

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

RIP VK

I know how u feel ..... it cant even be put into words ....

At times , feels like all the work etc we put in , all the risks we take are of no use .

Jiby said...

All we can do is pray for the poor man's family. i came close to what would have been a potentially fatal accident a few days back...wuz travelling by a ksrtc bus at night to my native place and the driver dozed off for a second...instead of the cliffs and sharp falls for which my native place is famous for, the bus crashed against a load of metal gathered on the roadside for roadwork...

We were shivering with fright...i think god placed that metal there bcoz it cud very well have been an oncoming vehicle, or a gorge or a house at the recieving end!the new bus had its front totally damaged, the driver may be let off with a warning but i wonder would the ksrtc place him on probation or demote him to a less hazardous route...i doubt it!

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

and the worst thing is the bus driver just gets away ... of course he'll be punished for his negligence in the court above , but during their entire lifetime , VK's friends , family and all those people acquainted with him
would feel the anger and helplessness ....

Prayers for VK's family

RIP VK

Browser said...

I've been following your posts for about a month now and you do a good job. One suggestion is that you group together a true group of friends of VK and see what you can do to make the life of VKs family easier. It could be as small as each of you putting in Rs.100 a month for the education of VKs daughter or something like that. Attacking the beurocracy in this country is not the way to go - it takes too long and gets no results.

Nagu said...

Most accidents is investigated with negligence, no doubt about it. Prayer's to VK's family...No point in blaming the Judicairy

Sushil said...

hectSorry to hear about VK's demise.

naveen said...

Wht written is absolutely true. I 2 had close encounters with death!!!! real frighteners....The legal system used now is abt. 55 yrs. old Me thinks it shld be updated.

Jagan said...

hey ..am really sorry to hear this . and i too am frustrated about these "facts" ..for i had lost a friend in a bike accident and i too had met with an accident tht almost killed me ..

?bLeAk?!! said...

My deepest sympathies for VK's family. Reminds me of the risks of my(and my frds') rash driving. Life is too precious to be lost carelessly.

silverine said...

@deepa:Yes, the bus driver will get away, but VK's family will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.
@Jiby: You were very very lucky. That was a close call.
@browser:His freinds and collegues have taken on the task of looking after the family through some fund generation.But we just cannot say that it cant be helped. If we the people press for it, the govt will feel the pressure to change the laws.
@nagu: It is not the judiciary,it is the law makers who are to be blamed. Even we are to be blamed as we the educated citizens are not doing enough to push for change.
@Sushil: Thank you
@Naveen and Jagan: The law needs urgent change to cope with today's traffic woes.
@Bleak: VK was a safe driver. But that is not enough if other drivers do not follow road rules.

hope and love said...

true... the loss of a life can never be compensated.. but an accident is an accident.. and it can happen to anyone..we all can make mistakes while driving.. we all tend to be absentminded at times..
i saw a tv show recently in starworld..(oprah) a woman hit a six year old girl.. the child died on the spot.. the woman kept crying and crying on the show.. u can imagine the guilt involed..and the childs parents were supporting her so much..
i once hit a scooty driver.. it was his fault.. he came fast out of a gully .. i couldnt brake fast enough.. he lot two teeth.. luckily he had no head injury.. i can still remeber how dreadful i felt as a waited for the scan report..

Anonymous said...

Almost been there - And almost done that . Totally understand what you are going thru and what VK's family is going thru.

Partly one's actions and partly destiny. Fate. If you gotta go, you gotta go. And about silly laws - all a waste of time and energy. Whoever made them would be unable to spell common sense.

And about a prev comment on value of life in USA - not entirely true. There was a burglary in the apt opp mine a few mths ago. A lady doc living alone there was attacked by a burglar at 1AM. Since she was physically fit, she managed to attack him back. He scratched her face etc, but didn't kill. She called 911. Been over 5 mths now. No sign of the attacker. He still roams free. Molesting other women elsewhere.
Cheers.
A.

crossblade said...

hmmmm
life is really subtle aint it?

...in my final year of B.Tech a guy from my batch died in my projectmate's arms..as we were tending to him after a bus had hit him......

He was there....asked water and the next moment he isnt responding....

so that's life

injinuity said...

first and foremost my sincere condolences on the sad demise of your friend.

I do have a difference of opinion on your first point, if you kill someone unintentionally then one should not have to do time in prison... since it was not premiditated you can't call it homidice...

if there were demerits added to your license for every accident or rule you break and at reaching a certain limit, if the license were to be revoked; one would be more careful when driving.. I know I would be... thats the only solution... sending someone to prison for an accident is not the answer.

Naresh Krishnan said...

More than the pain and wretchedness on the loss of a dear one, it's the indignity and a sense of no justice being done, that riles us.

The loss may never be compensated while the system is built to damn the victim, but I hope the concern you've shown would extend some solace to his family.

And I hope as the shadows lengthen, and the world has long gone its way, the young family would have good friends like you to count on.

slain_angel said...

i understand that these r really tryng times and i guess all of ur colleagues are frustrtaed by the judicial system prevailing in the country....so am i

but if u wud take one moment to look into the details,u cn find tht all are sad and unhappy about VK but no1 had actually taken a step to help bring justice to the wrongdoers,itz lame to sit back and say tht judiciary is bad and so we cnnt do a thng,itz the ppl who created it,they an make mistakes and as ppl,especially as ppl who knew VK,it becomes a kinda ur moral responsibility to fight back against the judiciary wth this same judiciary as a weapon so tht u cn bring justice to his widowed wife and his child,atleast it will b a gr8 help to them psycologically and i trust u r dng smthng in ur power to help them financially and get a stable job,right??

silverine said...

@HnL:In your case it wasn't your fault, in VK's case the driver was at fault and what is worse he will get out maybe in a months time. The Union will ensure he gets back his job.And that is where we are at fault, by not fighting for change in existing laws which would have made the driver of the vehicle more careful.I guess we deserve the laws we enact or tolerate.
@A:It may have been fate or it may have been preventable, but then we need strong deterrents for aberrant behavior.
@Crossblade: That is so sad, my sympathies are with you.
@Injinuity: That is exactly what I have been getting at. We need to send out the message that rash driving will lead to loss of license or punishment and not just a token fine. Even fines must be made stiff.
@Naresh: VK's colleagues, friends and even his company are chipping in to help his family. His daughter and yet unborn child will get education support from his comapany.
@Yes VK's family has got help from every quarter, but that is besides the point. What riles me is that we are not willing to fight to bring changes in the system which could have prevented this tragedy in the first place.That is why I have said that somehow I feel that we have all failed VK by remaining mute spectators to such preventable tragedies.

>|' ; '| said...

my deepest condolences to vk's family.

we never know whats going to happen to us un the next second. we are frail. we live through a miracle of chances. i also ride a bike and death has spared me till now. i have had some near wipeouts. the roads are akin to killing fields, here.

as someone said, in india, the licence to drive, is a licence to kill. the judiciary is outdated and illogical when it comes to this matter. and cursed with a generous helping of loopholes.

>|' ; '| said...

as injinuity said, there can also be cases of negligent driving and sheer accidents resulting in manslaughter. the correct solution is to enforce traffic rules with an iron hand. draconian measures must be adopted to attain that.

Sonia said...

You mean to say that if a person wanted to kill someone, all he/she has to do is run them over and it’ll automatically be called an accident? That’s ridiculous.

Leon said...

I come here to ask you how your trip to Goa was and what do I find..

Shocking news.. The laws leave a lot to be desired. Why don't we do something.. Like an official petition to change the law or something? It won't bring VK back.. but may help someone down the line..

Do your best for his wife and child..

Matter of Choice said...

Life is cheap in India. And i am not disparaging my country, just making a statement!. The saddest part in the entire thing is that all of us are collectively so caring about the lives our dear ones, but when it happens to a stranger we are somehow emotionally detached to it.

Here in chennai everyday there is fatal accident in ECR road, still the road has no good lighting or divider available. All of us know that first aid treatment is most important after an accident. But often we see people after accident not getting the same. The ugliest stories i have heard is of accident victims who are turned away from hospitals who are afraid of police cases.

I am so sorry to hear about VK. My prayers are with his family and friends

Partly the blame is with our system but then all systems are ultimately created by us...so each failure of the system demands us to change it!. Each VK is a question mark for us. If we dont do any thing next would be you, me or our loved ones

anish

Sujit said...

Its sad that, it happened so horribly to VK. More irritating is the judicial system that does not value life and its dependencies. Moreover BMTC bus drivers are really horrible drivers. Once it was said proper that the RED colored BTC was a real danger and so it still causes the damage after color change. Hope and wish things go well for VK's family in futre.

kd said...

"VK was the only earning member in his family. "

That is another issue as well. I wonder at the false sense of security that a working husband provides to a housewife. Everyone knows it is not for ever. So how come nobody does anything about it. Just goes on to show how important a job is to a woman.

Laws of our land are made to create inconvenience rather than people. Sad..

Pradeep said...

A poignant posting. Complexities, and worse the absurdities of legalities notwithstanding, one option we have in such occasions is to calmly accept it as the will of God, for what has happened is in the past and can't be recalled to the present.

When I was in Hyderabad, while I was on my scooter, I lost balance after I was nudged by a protruding mattress on an auto that overtook me. I fell down in the middle of the road. As I stood up, I saw a bus passing by. I thanked God that the bus hadn't run over me. I still count my blessing.

May VK rest in peace. May his family and friends have the fortitude to brave the tragedy and survive it in the best tribute to the departed soul.

crazy schmuck said...

i agree that we have to make the laws tighter. but who exactly is 'we'? and how do 'we' go about making new laws? and even if 'we' vote some self-proclaimed do-gooder to the government 'he' is not going to do anything in this regard unless 'we' collectively get out on the road and protest. but check out our public, when the government did introduce a useful law making it mandatory for bikers to wear helmets, 'we' got a court order to stop it. because 'we' don't have any team spirit.

my condolences to VK's family. and if anyone can tell me how to contribute to the foundation supporting the family then please do so.

Praveen said...

Really shocking! But it isnt surprising that BMTC was behind this one, I mean, there are pretty reckless drivers around in BMTC and many a precious life has been lost because of this. Not so long ago, a friend of mine was also a casualty, he was barely 18 at that time.

Jake said...

i lost a friend recently to a road accident. i know it hurts, and i know the helpless rage.

silverine said...

@poison:This was not an accident. The driver was supposed to keep his eye on the road. He was far enough from VK to have applied the brakes.
@sonia: Yes, you can mow down a person with your vehicle and claim that it was an accident and get away with it. Ironic isnt it that we mutely follow these laws ?
@Leon: Many people have come forward to help the family and educate his wife so she can earn a living and support the family.
@MoC:That's exactly what I am trying to say. We ned to do something about overhauling our arcane laws.
@Sujith: The BMTC drivers have a record of killing people thru sheer carelessness and rash driving.
@Nithin:What you say is absolutely true, but in the village from where VK's wife hails from, most girls, even from fairly well-off families, do not get an education.
@Pradeep: You were very lucky.
@crazy schmuck:A helmet would indeed have saved many lives. I think the people who went to court need their heads examined.
@Praveen:That is so incredibly tragic.God give strength to his parents and family.
@Jake: My condolences.The whole system is so frustrating.

>|' ; '| said...

i am sorry..

silverine said...

@poison: VK would have been alive if not for the sheer carelessness of the driver. If the laws were stringent enough to punish erring drivers severely then the driver would have been more careful :(

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

laws and dug roads ... dug roads are more dangerous

Joker said...

I just can say i know what you understand. I lost my best friend and my brother in separate accidents. and here the guilty parties were the rash drivers they were with. Both of them having been hauled up many a time for their rash driving... but they still retained their licenses. Our laws need to be scrapped and new ones made. we still hang on to the bloody vestiges of the Raj and how many people suffer from the loop holes in these archiac laws? not just the traffic laws, but every other law as well?

Wonder when these Goofs that we elect will sit down and do something about it.

Joker said...

*HUGS* to you! and prayers for VK's family

Alexis Leon said...

I was really shocked to read the news and could not post a comment for a few days. I know exactly how his family and friends feel. I was in the same situation some 11 years back. Only difference is that, I am still living… Do you know that the maximum amount that an insurance company or the guilty people have to pay the victim is for mental agony is Rs. 20000. The law does not take into account any of the factors that are important from the victim’s side like mental agony, problems in the family, physical agony, and a lot of others. My deepest, yet inadequate, condolences to VK’s family. And you said it right “It's no use being careful. Only prayers and sheer luck will keep you safe…”

susubala said...

My sincere condolence to VK's family. Poor lady with 2 year old girl baby na...

Really pathetic yaar...

Vinod/Kakka said...

Very sad. Loosing a person in the prime of his/her age is the worst loss.
I have seen more than my fair share of death, but still, I am at a loss of words..

silverine said...

@joker:Really saddened to hear about your loss.It must have been terrible.
@Alexis:What you say is so true.The pain and suffering of the victim and his family is immeasurable. It is sad that nothing is being done to give justice to the victimised.
@Susubala:It is a tragic loss especially for his wife who will have to bring up her daughter single handedly.
@PP: He was so full of life unlike many people his age with so many plans, especially for the small plot of land he had.He worked on the land during weekends and used to say that he never falls ill because of the physical labor he put in during weekends :)

abhishek said...

It is truly a tragedy when someone dies of an accident, especially because it is avoidable. Road accidents happen all the time in the U.S. as well, and is only minutely better than the conditions in India. But, it is the process afterwards which is so screwed up. Lawyer collusion, public bus monopolies, antiquated laws - all these speak of horrible systemic flaws that could easily be cleaned up. Political will however is lacking. Why can't it be easier than this?

silverine said...

abhishek: Incidents like these makes you realise how powerless you are :(

Vishwas Mysore said...

Very true...Makes you realise that the common man's life comes for dirt cheap prices...The government itself fixes the price at ridiculously low levels....

silverine said...

Vishwas Mysore: Thanks for dropping by my blog :) You are right, these ministers who rise from the slums forget soon the realities that were theirs not so long ago.