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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Witness to a Death

By now people must have read it in the newspapers. I doubt if it figured in the bold significance of the headlines or just occupied a nondescript corner of the 'news snippets' or did it just miss everyone's eye.

The death of a poor bus-driver.

I along with three of my friends were busy fending off the rain from under the shade of a tea-shop yesterday when I saw this huge Krishnachura tree fall over the roof of a passing bus. It fell with a great thud and to my horror I saw the bus ripped into two from the middle.
The impact was so great that the bus stopped within 10 yards of the spot of the accident. We ran towards it. It was a horrible sight to see an otherwise menacing bus in shambles. The front half of the bus had not much left of it. The few people that were inside the bus were making their way out through the back door. I asked one of them if more people were trapped inside. He seemed to be in a daze and replied he didn't notice. There could be many more inside the wreckage. The sight of the mangled remains told us if the ladies' seat at the left and behind the driver's seat were occupied there was slim chance of them having survived. I was surprised to notice a middle-aged woman come down from the wreck and board the next passing bus with unnerving nonchalance. As if nothing had happened.

The rain was pelting down with more ferocity and before long we were headed back to our shelter in the vague assurance that not much harm had been done. The bus was not carrying too many people. Then a person came running along and said the driver had died on the spot. His lifeless limbs were hanging from his seat. That news was jarring. We all were left in a state of shock at having witnessed a death. A death of a fellow human being who knew nothing about his grim fate till a few moments back. How much of a compensation will his family get? Will the Unions look after their needs? Will the bus-owner be generous? No one knows.

Life is just so fragile. And one was snuffed out just yesterday in front of my very own eyes.