Posted by: cochinblogger | March 26, 2012

Drowning on Dry Land

There’s something strange afoot on the streets of Cochin these days. Or perhaps it’s just the effect of the unrelenting summer heat. Soon after the freak accident I described in my previous post, I was told about yet another freak street mishap by an eyewitness who took an active part in the proceedings. It all began when a woman walked out of Krishna Hospital (on M.G. Road) after her consultation. Perhaps she was mulling over what had transpired during her visit or maybe she was in a hurry; anyway, her foot slipped into a crack between the pavement slabs (the photo above shows where it happened). One leg went in through the gap almost up to the knee, and she was unable to pull it out.

There was a petrol station nearby and an auto stand. The auto drivers rushed to rescue her, but try as they might, they could not free her foot. The woman now became frantic; she began screaming that her leg was broken. An auto driver unscrewed his seat from his vehicle, and the woman sat on this. Someone called the police, who took their own sweet time to come. The woman was now becoming hysterical. The police came but were unable to do free her. This was the last straw for the trapped woman. She fainted.

The police called the fire brigade. The firemen came promptly, and dislodged the slab without further delay. By now, press reporters, photographers, and TV crews had assembled there. The woman, free at last, was in shock: she was disoriented and had lost her memory. She was taken back to Krishna Hospital, and was discharged after she returned to her normal self in the evening. (In the meantime, because my auto driver played a principal part in these proceedings, he came home late for the school pickup.)

The next day, accompanied by my auto driver informant, I visited the spot and took the above picture. Observe that the cracks have been stopped up crudely and red markers placed by the police to prevent a repetition of this mishap.

But on the opposite side of the road, I beheld this evil eyesore.

More than two years ago, I’d posted this: Criminal Negligence: Why Are We Like This? Needless to say, today that slab is still missing, and will be replaced only when someone has fallen into the drain.

I can only repeat the question I asked then: Why are we Indians like this? Why do we, who create such exquisite beauty in our music, dance, philosophy, literature, etc., tolerate this kind of ugliness in our public spaces?

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