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PremKudva's Journal
Premnath Kudva, Mangalore, India
Safety first! 
24th-Feb-2009 10:39 am
On the one hand we have chaps who wear their helmets on their elbows while riding their bikes, and on the other hand we have chaps who wear their helmets and walk into a store or restaurant since they have no time to remove it.

I don't think there is another developed nation like ours where its citizens have utter disregard towards safety. You ask them to wear the seat belt in your car and they stare and you acting as if you have asked them to stab themselves through their hearts.

There is an aunt while seeing us off who snickers saying "why the seat belts? do you have to pay a $50 fine?" Obviously she has been to the US where she has her daughter, and where they wear their seat belts because they have to pay a fine. I remind of a friend of theirs who is paralysed from the waist down during a car accident, everyone else in the car walked away with no injuries. None of them were wearing seat belts, but if she was wearing she wouldn't be in a wheel chair today. That aunt gets a stunned look when I remind her of that friend of theirs and keeps her mouth shut.

There is an uncle who when asked to belt up by me says "Oh so it is a rule here now!" for which I serve him a rather caustic sermon on how we don't care for our own safety. He then goes on to say how the helmet wearing rule is a conspiracy between the Govt and helmet manufacturers. And instantly regrets it after listening to me second more caustic sermon.

Then there is an uncle who tells us that in Cochin they enforce the seat belt rule. And how he was once stopped. And how he said that buses should also have seat belts, and that Cochin with its clogged roads [and max speed of 20 kmph as per him] doesn't require seat belts. All this he delivers to the local constable who has stopped him, in the hope that the constable is able to abolish the seat belt rule. The constable unfortunately is unable to do any such thing. So our high moral ground uncle bribes the constable Rs 100 and drives away.

The same uncle's wife tells us with utter shock the way Mangloreans drive. I whisper to my wife that most of the time, chaps on the wrong side of the road, happen to bear KL registration plates [same place that the uncle is from]. Two days later another relation who is driven by the afore said uncle comes back and narrates with utter shock the abhorring way in which the said uncle drives.
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
25th-Feb-2009 04:57 am (UTC)
Heh! Heh! Yes we are.
24th-Feb-2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Hilarious post :) The Udipi/Mangalore buses definitely need seat belts..!
25th-Feb-2009 04:55 am (UTC)
They definitely require seat belts and air bags too;-)
25th-Feb-2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Anonymous
are the buses so bad?? Infact the bus we travelled while going to Kaup was comfortable and when the next stop was approaching, it would be announced.
25th-Feb-2009 06:12 am (UTC)
They are good and bad. They can be utter ruffians in heavy traffic. But they might be good to their passengers, when they are not trying to kill them.
25th-Feb-2009 04:59 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Yes, we have utter disregard towards safety. I remember one guy here who wouldn't wear helmet because it spoils his hairstyle. He would hang it on his bike and in case he sees a policeman, he would temporarily put it at the cross road and then again remove it. Another guy wouldn't wear it and says that while driving you can't hear horn from the vehicles behind you.
Here when they made helmets compulsory, lot of noise was made but afterwards they gave some time to riders because there was lack of helmets (availability). Now also its not very strict and once in a blue moon they will start checking and fine people. Even if they are caught, the fine is Rs.50/- Same is the case for seat belts. Random checking and you give bribe of Rs. 10/- or 20/- and the policeman will let you go.
25th-Feb-2009 05:19 am (UTC)
My friend won't wear his seat belt because he feels uncomfortable while wearing it. As if he is tied up he said.

Once friends of ours offered him a lift from Bangalore to Mangalore. This chap said in the rear seat and wore the seat belt only when the remaining three had belted up and were waiting for him to belt up.
25th-Feb-2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Yep I have also heard about that from few people. It reminds me... did I wear it when I was there?? Most of the time I do it. But I guess I must have, otherwise you wouldn't have even started :-)
25th-Feb-2009 06:15 am (UTC)
Of course you wore it.

The only time I don't insist if they person it very old, very fussy and is going to die soon regardless of a seat belt or not.
25th-Feb-2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Great post - I'm glad you care so much about safety and enough for your friends and family that you will lecture them!
26th-Feb-2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Heh! Thanks! Sometimes I fear that I might hit and injure them in anger there by defeating the whole purpose of safety;-)
27th-Feb-2009 12:22 am (UTC)
:D
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