Anyways. This particular incident caught my attention and I was moved by it to a certain extent- may not be an emotional feeling but still some kind of a trigger that pinched me inside. I was on my bike going home at around 8:30P.M. and I saw an auto-rickshaw trying to pull itself slowly along the road. I used the horn twice or thrice and then decided to overtake it quickly. I managed to move closer to it and a slight pressure on the accelerator would have put me ahead of the three wheeler, but a casual glance at it changed all that was going on in my mind at that moment. The auto rickshaw was carrying ten people in all. By the appearance of the commuters, I understood that the driver was taking few children home from school. The driver's seat accomodated three persons including the driver, of whom the other two (boys) had their feet dangling in the air. The back seat (the main seat) was too crowded and accomodated nearly eight girls with two of them almost hanging out from the side of the auto.
I slowed my bike and stopped it in front of the auto. I got down from my bike and asked the driver, "Is this enough? Or shall I get in too? Are you crazy? There are ten people in your auto and none of them would be younger than ten years, when in reality, an auto rickshaw can carry only four at a time including the driver. This can lead to accidents. Just look at the way the kids are trying to hold on to the side rods to prevent themselves from falling down. Why are you doing this?" I couldn't say anything more than that. I just gave a sympathetic look at those kids and left the place.
The boy sitting beside the driver felt amused at the way I posed this question to the driver, and I won't blame him nor any other kid in that auto rickshaw for their plight. For the next few hours, even at dinner, I thought about the different reasons that could have led to it.
The conclusion is that the auto was on hire on a monthly basis to carry children from home to school and back. Now, who's responsible for this? Who is to be made guilty for this situation?
- The driver who wants to earn as much as he can in just a two-way journey apart from his regular fares?
- The parents of the kids who just think of sending their children to school as their responsibility and overlook the different good and bad consequences that may occur in the process?
- The traffic police who inspite of coming across such autos, fail to impose any restrictions and unfortunately either take bribes or let them go unnoticed?