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The hands that help

All of a sudden, I saw a cyclist rushing towards me in the wrong direction.
Last Updated 29 March 2016, 17:18 IST

Our country is notorious for road accidents. The statistics of 3 lakh and more accidents in a year on an average doesn’t augur well for any country’s reputation as a safe place for road travel. My recent experience would corroborate what I have just said.

I was trying to cross a road at a busy junction in a Mumbai suburb. I never take chances by running across a road when the pedestrian signal is not on. Resignedly, I waited for the signal to turn green. When it did, I started walking hurriedly so that I could be across the road before the signal turned red again.

All of a sudden, I saw from the corner of my eye a cyclist rushing towards me in the wrong direction, shouting ‘Move, move.’ I stood still without knowing what to do. I was at my wit’s end with a Hamletian dilemma, so to speak. The cyclist was a boy, may be in his early teens. And he seemed to have lost control of his vehicle, causing it to move in a zigzag course. Perhaps he could be a learner.

The cycle hit me on the side and I fell prostrate on the road. Blood started oozing out of the wounds I sustained on both elbows from the fall. Without bothering to check what had happened to me, the boy pedalled away from the scene – may be out of fear that I would get up and retaliate.

Just then, another boy came along on a bicycle. He too was a teenager, may be of the same age as the first one. Braking his cycle, he parked it on the roadside and came rushing to me. Helping me to my feet, he took me inside the gate of a nearby building and asked the security guard if he could spare a chair for me. Without hesitation, the guard got up and pushed his chair towards me.

The boy took a mug of water from the watchman and poured it over my wounds. He went to a nearby chemist, brought a bundle of cotton and cleaned my wounds; all done by him in a matter of a few seconds. He then bought a small bottle of cold mineral water and poured the water on my wounds. That stopped the bleeding instantly. Sitting me in the chair, the boy went and bought one more bottle of mineral water for me to drink. “Are you alright?” he asked and when I said yes, he bid goodbye to me and left the scene as abruptly as he had come.

The boy disregarded my plea to let me know the cost of the bottles of water and the cotton he had purchased which I wanted to pay him for, as I knew, he was too young to be working for a living.

The boys were poles apart from each other – as dissimilar as chalk and cheese. The first one ran away from his responsibility. The other embraced it. He was, indeed, a ‘good Samaritan.’

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(Published 29 March 2016, 17:18 IST)

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