Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The dilemma

by KParthasarathi Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It was around 8.30 in the morning and my children had left for school and husband to the office. I heard a commotion on the road outside my house. When I looked out through the window I saw a cluster of people in the middle of the road by the side of a truck. I heard screams of pian.Must be another wretched accident. I rush out and hear people talking of a young boy run over hit by the fast moving truck. I inch closer only to see blood splattered across the road and a mangled body of the urchin in khaki shorts and oversized blueT Shirt.. I could get a glance of the boy’s charming face with the eyes closed partially and the face contorted in pain. He would have been 11 or 12. He must have died instantaneously as otherwise the on looking passersby would have had him removed to the hospital. The driver of the truck was caught and held. Some people in anger showered him with blows till they were stopped by some onlookers telling it was no fault of the driver. He was shivering in fright and a sense of guilt for being the cause of the boy’s death. He was repeatedly pleading with others that the boy saw the approaching truck standing on one side of the road and suddenly plunged into the middle of the road. The hapless driver was telling that the boy did not give even slightest indication of his intent to cross the road. Meanwhile a policeman appeared on the scene and soon followed by a police control van. After a quick survey, they covered the body with a white cloth. Soon there were marking the place with chalk piece and the driver taken inside the van.
The thought of a very young life snuffed out in a fraction of minutes and the waiting mom and other folk in his family was too much to bear. There was the feeling of nausea from the pit of my stomach and I rushed into my compound. Tears trickled involuntarily from my eyes. I could not bring myself to my normal self and sat on the portico dazed. In the matter of an hour every one had left and there was no trace of an accident except for the blood mark and white lines of chalk piece. I went in and got busy with my daily routine of loading the washing machine and the dishwasher. A little while later I heard a wail from the roadside. Not having gone out the hangover of the ghastly scene, I came out to investigate. I saw an aged woman from the working class looking hither and thither and asking the passers y whether they had seen her grand son. It was a busy road with no shops or a shade of tree. Cars and vehicles were moving fast. None had the time or the inclination to stop and listen to her. When she saw me, she came towards my gate. I went out and asked her what the matter was. She said her grand son went out to get tea for her more than two hours back and hadn’t returned. She added”Normally I wouldn’t worry as children when they see play mates start playing and forgetting the job. But I have brought my grandson from the village to take him to the hospital. You see this boy’s vision is not good in the nights and these days he found it difficult even during day time.” When I remonstrated with her as to how she could allow such a boy to go out on a busy road, she said the boy had told her that he would not cross the road and that he can manage without much difficulty. “Foolish as I was, I did not stop him. I don’t know whether he got into any trouble. I am afraid as he is the only child of my daughter. “ When she confirmed about the boy’s age and the colour of the dress my worst fears turned true and I was in dilemma whether to tell her what I knew..
“Amma, did you see my grandson by any chance? Can you tell me how I can trace him? No one has the patience to listen and answer” she told me sobbing all the while. I had no mind to break the sad news. I steeled myself and said that I have no idea. But as an after thought I told her ”You see, there is a police station after a furlong on this road. They normally help in tracing the children. They also keep in safe custody lost children till they find the parents. I think it is best for you to go there without asking anyone else.”
She replied”Amma, you are so kind hearted. You will live long happily. I will go to the thana as you advise.” I saw the bent figure walking in hurried steps towards the police station with hopes and anxiety. I felt bad that I had to lie but took solace from the sloka “…..na brooyath satyam apriyam….”(never tell the disagreeable even if true)

1 comment: