Dallas-Fortworth. It's a cold, winter afternoon.
The drawl is distinct, and the twang sharp. Quite different from the softer, more unobtrusive tones of the Pacific Northwest, but I’ve come to enjoy this tone over time as well.
The sight too is familiar. People are larger, and a little louder. Ten-gallon Stetson hats are on many heads, including the gentleman’s on my right.
His attire is typical. Clean, well pressed full-sleeved shirt, crease-free jeans, Stetson, and thick leather belt with a six-inch brass buckle (and an engraving of a rodeo). Sharp, polished cowboy boots.
There’s a tinkle, and he grabs his cell-phone from it’s raw-hide leather holster. As he drawls in to the phone, he tweaks his handlebar moustache, and a finger reveals a signet ring with a little cross engraved on it.
The Wild West is still alive, at least in spirit.
I couldn’t help but think that my thin frame, passionless beige trousers, thin-frame spectacles, small noodle lunch and laptop on lap made me a quintessential “girlie man” in these parts.
All it took was a moment
Monday evening, and I’m walking home from work. There’s a little street that I walk towards to cross. I see this kid (probably a freshman or sophomore) jogging towards the street. He runs across, without looking.
A car’s coming up the hill, at about 30 mph. Perhaps the driver doesn’t see the kid. He reacts too late and the brakes screech. It’s too late, and I hear a sickening thud, as the boy is hurled 3-4 feet across on to the sidewalk.
I run towards him. A lady on the other side of the street also run towards him. She gets there first.
“Are you alright?”
The driver of the car, an elderly gentleman, is also by the boy’s side, horrified. The lady calls 911.
I run across the road (carefully) as fast as I can to the hospital (it happened right in front) and call the medics. Then I run back.
The boy’s hood is soaked in blood, and there’s blood all over his face. “Will I make it? Call my brother!” he’s screaming.
The cops pull up. Within minutes the medics are there too. Nothing seems to be broken, but he cant move and his speech was becoming slurred. Still, they think he’ll be fine. A friend of his is already there, and she’s sniffing in worry. He’s lifted on to the stretcher and taken away.
The cops take our statements and contact information, and are gone.
It’s all taken a total of fifteen minutes. The road is clear again. Students continue to jog across the crossing. Nothing could ever have happened at that crossing fifteen minutes ago.
i saw a similar incident once, but the kid was on a bike. he didn't look before crossing, either, and the driver was really zipping through the intersection. when i stopped, he was bleeding at the back of his head, but it was relatively minor. he was scared, of course, so i used the only cpr skill i felt was appropriate: told him it wasn't that bad.
someone else drove him to the hospital before the cops arrived. i called the hospital later and the kid was fine. i hope the kid you saw is okay, too. the slurring is worrisome.
when i went back through the intersection two hours later, no one knew there'd been an accident.
Such is life. Rabindranath after the death of his daughter said (not an exact translation):
" I look onto the skies, hear the birds sing and everything is just as it should be. Nothing has changed in the world. Except that my daughter is no longer in it."
Momentary perturbations in the space-time continuum with echoes that live only in the mind.
The Texan snippet reminded me of he song "Raw Hide".
In the second snippet, it is heartening that people rushed towards him to help - the lady called 911 and you, the medics and he was taken to the hospital, the police was there.
Lots of things happen in a second, but it is what transpires after that second that's the stuff of life. And here, life was as it should be. I do hope that the old man and the kid come out of this without too much damage.
I'm always alert when I drive in a residential community because you never know when you might see a kid. Once, I saw a ball roll right in front of my car. My instincts told me to slam the brakes hard. Sure enough, a little child ran after the ball right in front of my car. But, to tell the truth, it might have been that the kid ran in front of my car only because I had already braked. But it shook me up a bit, nonetheless.
maybe you should grow a fierce moustache that you can keep twirling?
as for the accident, am glad people rushed to help and not merely to satisfy their morbid curiosity. see it happening all the time in India - people rushing to n accident spot and gawking. sometimes at the cost of breathing space and aid for the victim...
The road is clear again... Nothing could ever have happened at that crossing fifteen minutes ago.
Since a few years in Madras, the police have been marking on the road spots of fatal accidents with a picture of a stick man in a circle of red. I read somewhere that people got the message and were more careful in those areas.
The other night my husband and I were crossing the street. The signal was about to change to green so I rushed across before they did. By the time I reached the final lane however the signal had changed and I came within an inch of being run over by a 4X4.
Now I look before I cross and am trying to remember those rhymes they taught us in ukg about crossing the rd :D
I once heard that a person I knew not-so-well passed away after meeting with an accident - essentially because he lay at the accident spot for a long time without people taking him to any hospital. Reason : they were afraid that, should anything happen to him, the police might register a case with them and/or torture them. I don't know if such an issue is still there in India.
Thanks for all the comments. I didn't access the net much this weekend...so couldn't respond.
Pluripotentate....i think most of us encouter some such incidents in our lives......and rarely think about it after that.
GB.......yes indeed. Speaking of Tagore....there's a story of his, Kabuliwalla (which i read in hindi) that's a long time fav of mine.
Sujatha.....actually, i was thinking of rawhide while writing this post!!
Michael.....i'm sure you were shaken up....but you had the instincts to slam the brakes. But what's funny is that in india, i've seen people speeding up when they see some one cross the road! I wonder what that says...
Charu.....there have been many many reasons given for why people gawk in india, and not rush to help. It will help though if there's a dedicated line (like 911) which people know about, and can call. You had an old post on some thing like this...i remember.
Srikanth....that's one nice idea the chennai cops have had.....and if it does have an effect...we need more of those.
Shoe fiend...scary. But remember what we were told as kids.......always cross the road carefully.
Frog.....i don't know what happens in India now....but i do know that a friend of a friend was hit by a truck in Chennai some years back, and no one took him to a hospital for 5 hours. He died bleeding on the road.
Hey, that Dallas trip was recent?
yes....it was...about two weeks ago.
I travel to texas very often....more than once a month.
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