Protecting the pillion rider!
You come to any road and you find the most used vehicle on road for transportation, the two wheeler, the motor cycles. With wider tyres and more exposed internals it provides better maneuvering, mileage etc. Add to that a mannishness – definitely male some advertisement say and we have Indian males mostly preferring this as a model of communication. Further add that you also can show your face to the world (that is greatly dominated by the FB.). And face is such an important part of our body. Never mind the fact that what defines us is the brain that sits behind the face like a pillion rider. We all love Salman Khan, not less because he said Jai jagannath, a pretty face, never mind what was done to the sleepers by his vehicle. It is this infatuation with a face that is killing, maiming and mentally damaging the millions in India.
Most of us riders of motorcycle dislike police because sometimes it enforces wearing a helmet on us. Look at us. We have almost never used a brain in our lives except for storing and retrieving almost on a Garbage In Garbage Out principle. So what is there to protect in helmet? Something we never use? And the irritating police forces us to hang a helmet from the handle bars etc. Irritating, more so when you are fined for that. How can you show your S K like face to the world inside a helmet?
Let us look at the other group. Most of them go around looking like terrorists with their face burkhas! Of course they want their valuable face to be protected from the sun, the vagaries of rain, wind etc. In the world of FB where a face gets over 700 likes, what comes ehind the face and from the brain never gets more than 70 reactions. When in Rome do as Romans do. So, no issues. If only our love for our face were able to protect our lives!
That brings us to the pillion riders, in India, that meaning mostly women. The burden of bearing a child, holding a child as a pillion rider is as much the women’s responsibility as it is to hold on to the Indian culture of wearing a saree with a pallu or odhani etc. Two very dangerous attires but never mind the vulnerability, the culture sure gets protected. In a land where even Sati pratha is promoted, who cares for a few women dying on the road?
So a woman million rider, leave aside the youngsters, have to seat sideways, and since he has to hold on to the rider for protection, the relationship becomes a barrier! And even if it is the husband, the holding is more symbolic than holding a grab bar. Frankly I am yet to see people holding on to a grab bar. I DO, a few times I have got lift. I Do as my life depends on it even though I seat astride.
A woman has to sit in a way almost a quarter of her body hanging out. Then like a trapeze artist she has to balance a child, a bag or some packet.
The designing of motorcycle is all male but the riders are 50 percent females. Add to the precarious travel is the wonderful thinking of pillion riders not required to wear helmet (it is your own head that you protect, not the police person’s! ).
Then we have nice roads built on which we zoom fast. Some motorcycle are tuned so beautifully that they can wake you up in the morning even if you are sleeping 10 miles away from the rider. And they utilise the roads, burning the rubber as they say. But even there, one is never sure of the protection part.
And because we feel threatened by the motorcycles we produce or dream to produce, we create humps without bothering to warn the riders about it. And we have all kinds of bumps named as humps, Rumblers, mountains, bone breaker, etc. They function similarly for the pillion rider, to unseat her mostly and him sometime because he sits astride while she mostly sits sideways, especially true for not so young women.
A few days back, a friend’s wife fell from the motorcycle and is now struggling with her life. She never wears a helmet. She was thrown off the motorcycle when the husband could not make out the recently built hump which had no lines drawn to mark it.
Major accidents are major accidents and we, the great believer of a good or more than one god writing the script of our lives down to the minute details, take it as predestined. But science has given us motorcycles. And science must give us the protection. Why can’t the manufacturers make a foldable back support as essential, such as a seat belt in a car? Why can’t the seat be designed that there is less chance of slipping off the seats and severely injuring the pillion rider? Shouldn’t we be demanding better protection for the women?
And shouldn’t we be considering going out without a helmet as equivalent to going out into the street naked? We, of course, cover our genital and some other areas related to sexual feelings. Otherwise we feel naked. Shouldn’t we be not exposing our brain, believe it or not, the sexiest part of the body, to damage?
Few of us realise that you can damage your brain even when you are walking and you fall head over heels hitting your head. Science has developed our abilities but medical sciences have not given us the wherewithal to undo the damage done to even the spinal cord, a pipeline to the brain. Less than that, it is almost like any other spare part. So, we must give priority to saving the brain. Even when we do not use it for our decision making, it is essential for day to day functioning. YOU DONT WANT TO LIVE A VEGETATIVE LIFE. A human life is a life that lives with dignity. Let us not take away the dignity but unnecessarily leaving our brains exposed to damage. A seat belt, a helmet go a long way in protecting our right to life with dignity. I know people have lost their lives when they thought the helmet was not essential because it was just a short trip to the market! Accidents can happen anytime. More than your good, tabiz, blessing or daunria, your helmet will save you. It will save your near and dear ones. If you care for yourself, wear a helmet and if you care for your near and dear ones insist on and don’t move out without your pillion rider wearing a helmet. Otherwise it will be a hell met on the road.