It wasn’t any of us this time, but it was really bad. We were coming back from a wonderful dinner not too far from home. It was about midnight (we closed the restaurant, something I hadn’t done in a long time!) and the roads were eerily quiet. Then we heard the screeching of breaking metal, a sound that gives goose bumps to anyone who has suffered a bad accident. There was nobody in front of us for about 200 meters, and it was rather dark. Then I saw the body, laying in the middle of the ground, in a white shirt and shorts. Absolutely motionless. A mangled motorcycle laid on the side, in the sand. A helmet that he may or may not have be wearing wasn’t far. It only took us a few second to reach him, we stopped, and I started yelling “help”. I also told my poor husband “Call someone”. Ok, but who? A van with several men had already stopped on the other side of the road, some of them on their phone. Were they talking to their buddies or calling for help, I don’t know. I ran towards this man, with my helmet still on and saw that his mouth was full of blood but he made a faint sound. Good, he’s not dead. Not good at all, but not dead. I placed my hand on his, careful not to move him, but I felt silly telling him “It’s gonna be ok”, so I simply smiled at him. Several men on our side of the road were approaching, several cars had slowed down, none of them passed us since we were blocking traffic. Then a young man jumped off his motorcycle and grabbed him under the shoulders to move him. I was about to scream not to do that, that he may have a broken spine, things I had learned in CPR class, but then reality kicked in: what were we going to do? Leave him here in the middle, waiting for a non existent ambulance, or a notoriously inefficient police and get run over by a speeding car? He asked me in broken English “You accident?” I said no, that he was alone. A tuktuk with a customer stopped, the customer stepped out and they shoved this limp man in it, on his way I believe to a hospital. All of this took no longer than 3 minutes.
Then we left in a furry, it started to look bad for us. Maybe it’s just paranoia from having read too many stories of foreigners involved in accidents in India. A crowd started to form, most probably to gawk at the accident, but after the question of whether we had caused it, it was time to get out of there as soon as possible. There was nothing we could do to help him. It would have been very easy and tempting to pin the accident on us. Staying could only hurt.
We left fast but drove slow. I wonder what that man thought, assuming he was conscious when I heard him moaning, when he saw a white woman with a helmet leaning over him and smiling!
We read a lot about Indian apathy when a crime is committed, when someone is hurt, but that night, a lot of people helped. The young man on the motorcycle who came to his help, the tuktuk driver who didn’t argue for his fee, the tuktuk customer who was now left with no transportation. We have checked the newspaper for information but haven’t found anything. Maybe tomorrow. We were told at the dinner that night “Human life is cheap in India”.