This festival season has been a little quieter than ever. Though Diwali is just round the corner, there is strong reason to believe that too, will be a quieter experience. Thanks to the Supreme Court, people can live peacefully during the Ganpati Immersion, Dassera and hopefully, Diwali.
On the day of Dassera, I had a different kind of experience. I was on my way to the Hospital, to see one of my friends admitted there. I stay at Vasai, a small township north to Mumbai. The hospital was around 15 Minutes distance from my place and the Visiting time ends by 7:30 PM. So I caught this Rickshaw by 7:00 PM so that I can be there well before the visiting time ends. Since Vasai is a small city and in the last 10 years, the population has more than doubled, the roads are not wide and well maintained. As a result, in the evenings, the roads resemble a busy Mumbai intersection. Chock-a-block traffic and blaring horns, dust and oppressive heat. I ventured out on such an evening.
The Journey took me 1 hour 20 minutes exactly. Reason? A small procession of Devi devotees was dancing their way to the immersion place. The motley group has around 30-35 people, including children and women. The road block was extended up to Ambadi Naka, from Stella, a distance of 1.2 KM! This is the arterial road leading to Vasai Gaon and they have blocked the road completely! Only a couple of meters space was available for a 4 lane traffic! I was made to sit in that dingy Rickshaw inhaling the exhaust fumes from the vehicles that were furiously racing their engines as if to speed up the procession. But they were taking their own sweet time. At last, after 1 Hour and 20 Minutes, we reached the front and I finally the hospital by 8:30.
Imagine a situation where a fatally wounded or heart failed patient on his way to hospital? Or a woman in labor pain? Haven’t these guys thought about it? How they, in the name of religion, can do this to the society? The police were seen busily controlling the traffic but what can they do when the road is totally blocked? They should have controlled the mob from the beginning and made them move through the side. But in
Can’t they do this kind of public processions at mid-night when traffic is light? Or can’t they select some less-traveled roads? We have to consider about others before we embark on something like that. What was that the got from all these? They pleased the god? As a society we cease to know what others feel. We have become a selfish lot. God Help us.