Posted in Short stories

Wounded Then, Wounded Now

Venugopal Narayanan is an Accountant at the Royal Treasury of the kingdom of Pallavas. He was a talented young man and led a principled life. His morning routine was getting up to half hour of yoga at 6AM and then bathing in the river for 20 minutes as he practiced his singing. He then spends another half hour walking to the Palace to start his work for the day. King Mahendra Verma Pallava took care of his officials very well. Gopal, as he was called by his colleagues, was very glad to have a breakfast and Lunch from the Royal Kitchen.

The same Venugopal Narayanan in the present day works as a Software Developer at one of those big buildings at IT Corridor in Chennai. He wakes up as early as 7AM gets ready in an hour and eats in a small restaurant outside his apartment complex and starts off for a 1 hour ride in his bike to his office. His lunch is usually in the office that serves a variety of rice items in small quantities or steps out for an Andhra meals. Gops, as he was called by his colleagues, was very glad that he has a decent job, earning decent money.

Gopal is having a busy day today. They were getting close to the Royal Budget session of the year which means he had to work harder on the numbers as the staff would have to face the yearly audit by the minister. Gopal usually spends a good 1 hour eating his lunch, but he had to cut it short to 30 minutes and get back to his calculations. As the afternoon passed, Gopal’s friend had to leave soon for the day as his wife was in labour. Gopal took over his friend’s work and stayed a good 2 hours late to finish up before tomorrow’s audit. It was 7PM and it was now dark outside. He had to walk back to his home in the dark, all alone.

Gops is a manager’s favorite. He can code as much as 40% faster than his peer programmers. He likes to take additional responsibilities and so he was working harder to get everything ready for this weekend’s project release. Ever since his co-developer Madhavi had gone on a Maternity Leave, He had been working an hour late everyday and today he stayed back a full 2 hours late. He finished his dinner at the office and wasn’t ready to go until 10PM.

Gopal borrowed a lantern from the Security guard and walked home. As he got out of the palace, he felt unusual silence. He was not used to going home at this hour. The roads were empty and the air was filled with the noise of crickets, which was the way he identified silence. Gopal is a brave man but he was afraid of dark. Perhaps a feeling of not knowing what’s ahead and around, makes him afraid.Gopal treads for a few minutes carefully holding the lantern. He hears a rustling noise of the leaves and turns his head towards the noise. It causes 2 seconds of distraction making him look away from the road in front. But those 2 seconds were enough to make him miss a huge stone lying on the side of the road. Gopal stumbles upon the stone and falls on the edge of the road and rolls over to the side into a ditch and hits his head to the wall of the ditch. He sprains his legs and is unable to lift himself up.

Gops is used to driving back home at nights. A busy city like Chennai always had bright road lights and people moving around until 10PM, Just like Bono sings – “In the city of blinding lights”. So there was nothing to worry about except uncertainty. The roads were where the scariest of the accidents took place. Gops was driving back home in a one way street and quite unexpectedly he saw an autorickshaw coming towards him from a No Entry. Only 2 seconds he had to correct the course of his bike. But 2 seconds were too little for him and the autorickshaw to adjust as Gops goes too wide and falls into the middle of the road. A speeding bus comes from his behind and the driver of the bus notices Gops and his bike. The drivers takes aversive action that makes the bike, fall prey to the behemoth. Gops has enough time to roll over but only so much to leave his right leg to be run over by the bus shattering into pieces.

It was painful for Gopal to even lift himself up. He tried to use a cloth torn out of his dhoti to stop the bleeding from his head, but in a few minutes he went unconscious. There wasn’t much loss of blood, but it was enough to knock him out. There was no one in the vicinity. Gopal was all alone unconscious accompanied by the noises of cricket, the occasional breeze rustling the leaves of trees. After about 3 hours, a passer by in his bullock cart notices the broken lantern on the road and follows to the ditch. He sees Gopal lying there unconscious and without a second thought he bends down and pulls him up. Gopal was still alive. The stranger freshens him up with some water and cleans the wound. Gopal is then put in the cart by the stranger and is taken to the doctor’s home to treat him.

Gops was surprisingly conscious and was able to look at the pieces of his legs even in the sheer pain. Gops tries to stand up on his one leg and collects the pieces, still crying aloud in his pain. With the pieces in his hand he looks around. There were about 10 pedestrains who looked at him but were not willing to help him up. A cop comes around and marks the area as the accident spot and gets busy diverting the people and the traffic. The bus and the autorickshaw involved in the accident flew away from the spot. There were a lot of vehicles passing by that side, which had the civilized lot like the doctors, engineers, lawyers who were slowing down to look at Gops but none of them stopped. There must have been a 100 onlookers in a span of 1 minute but no one wanted to help Gops. Gops catches an autorickshaw, probably the only kind soul, who agrees to take him to the hospital. It was the hospital where his uncle is a surgeon. Gops is immediately taken in and operated on. The pieces of his legs are put together and his uncle takes care of him very well.

Gopal was thankful to God to send a passerby at that time of the night. Gopal thanked the stranger for saving his life. Gopal lived his life the fullest from the next day onwards.

As for Gops, There was only one thought in his mind. He wasn’t thanking God or thanking his Uncle or thanking the auto driver who brought him to the hospital. He would do that later, but right now he was pained by the fact that there was no one who cared about a stranger in distress. He could not even imagine what would have happened if he didn’t have an uncle as a surgeon in a hospital. It took several months for Gops to recover but the pain of his fellow human beings leaving him by himself when he was a victim of unorderliness for a fraction of a second left him scarred.

In an advanced civilization with a lot of people around and a lot of advanced technolgy on hand, Gops was left to stand on his own. Gops became stronger and lived his life as a brave young man achieving all the dreams in his life.

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Author:

I am a Software Engineer by profession. My interests are in Computers, Science, Technology, Movies, Music, Photography and Writing. I love to do a lot of things, but am still searching for the ultimate thing that I can love to do. You will find here all the volcanic outbursts of my creative side as I explore the world through my perspective. Well, mainly fun, what's world without any fun!

27 thoughts on “Wounded Then, Wounded Now

  1. I think its fear which stop people from helping each other. Fear of police and fear that the victim might just be acting so that he can rob the helper.
    Its ironical how trust loses its meaning in the modern world.

  2. Brilliant story – loved the way you interlaced the lives of Gopal and Gops. It is unfortunate and sad, that we have moved to the times of Gops from the times of Gopal. If humans knew that this is what technology would do to them, make them all alone in an over-populated world, wonder if they would have thought pursuing technology was worth it…

  3. Gops is used to driving back home at nights. A busy city like Chennai always had bright road lights and people moving around until 10PM, Just like Bono sings – “In the city of blinding lights”

    Wonder when it will become at least 11pm .. 😀

  4. Is this really what technology has done to us? Or is it population? nonchalance? This is a brilliant story that leaves one with many questions…

  5. Too good Dinesh.. very well written! And the laws today are such and also the police reaction that people are afraid to help each other!! how very sad!! 😦

  6. Vishesh
    Well we are born alone and die alone and as mourned,it is left to what we owned and by whom we

    are owned
    We are owned by ourselves and we own nothing other than that. But there is just a little of

    consideration that needs to be shown to others as we co exist.

    Amit
    I think its fear which stop people from helping each other.
    You are right. We refuse to do a lot of things out of fear, I do that myself sometimes.

    Its ironical how trust loses its meaning in the modern world.
    It is hard. But if we work towards being someone who can be trusted then the world will be full of

    trust worthy people. Everyone can trust one another without an ID.

    Reema
    Aww the story made me sad.
    Do not be, just infer the reality.

    How alone we have become in this crowd.
    That is the simple truth behind the story.

  7. Amreekandesi
    Brilliantly done!
    Thank you 🙂

    As for the story of Gops, it is unfortunate, but quite real.
    True and that is the essence of the story.

    A-kay
    Brilliant story – loved the way you interlaced the lives of Gopal and Gops.
    Thank you 🙂 all Hollywood inspiration only 🙂

    It is unfortunate and sad, that we have moved to the times of Gops from the times of Gopal.
    Yes, some of them are unfortunate and sad while others are good and fortunate.

    wonder if they would have thought pursuing technology was worth it…
    When we create a system we are more concerned on how it will work, but we do not focus on its side

    effects and how it may be exploited. Technology must be pursued but it must be fool proof.

    Filarial
    Wonder when it will become at least 11pm
    Such incidents happen irrespective of time. You just need one unlucky fraction of the moment.

  8. Apar
    Is this really what technology has done to us?
    This is what we have done to ourselves with technology.

    This is a brilliant story that leaves one with many questions…
    and the answer has to be found within oneself and it is not available elsewhere. We have to choose

    the way we live or behave.

    Sakhi
    Too good Dinesh.. very well written!
    Thank you 🙂

    And the laws today are such and also the police reaction that people are afraid to help each other!! how very sad!!
    Fear is the reason for a lot of things that we don’t do.

    Rambodoc
    In these situations, it seems so true that “Everyone thinks that Someone will do it, but

    No-one does it!”
    Exactly. It is easier when there is only 1 person. Because atleast he/she will know that he/she is the only one and has to do something about it.

    Sharad
    courageous Gops.. world has changed alot since the days of pallavs…
    In these days, we can only survive by one’s own courage.

    Nikhil
    Lovely read. Reminds me of the first two chapters of Salman Rushdie’s Fury…
    Thank you 🙂 I haven’t read Salman Rushdie though.

  9. wah wah, the narrative style and the description suggests that you are a voracious reader. Is it true?

    You should have blocquoted alternate paragraphs, thus making it easier to read…

    nevertheless, nice, I likey…

  10. Good one Dinesh. But things ARE changing and people do help in such cases, at least in case of accidents- if you are simply being bullied by a few auto drivers or sops, now that is another issue. Nobody wants to come and help you.

    Inda flash back ellam black and white le potu, present ai colour le potta ennai madiri bulbukkellam usefulla irukumm illaya?

  11. 🙂 Nice.

    Interestingly, had the roles been reversed, Gopal might have done all he could to help a stranger on the roadside, without a second thought. Would Gops have even given a second look? At most, he would feel sympathy, wish he could help, perhaps even sent a silent prayer his way. Other than that, he’d just thank his luck – I doubt he’d thank God – it wasn’t him, and be on his way.

    To give him the benefit of doubt, maybe he would be willing to help. But who will file the FIR? Would they want him to spend most of his week at the police station? Would they detain him at the hospital for formalities? “Kaun jhanjat mein padega yaar!”

    Lucky stranger who helped Gopal, there was no rigid system stopping him from doing the least he could do.

    -g

  12. Maxdavinci
    wah wah, the narrative style and the description suggests that you are a voracious reader
    Really, Does it? I am flattered. I don’t read a lot, only a selected few when I feel like. I haven’t been reading anything at all for the past few years. Except may be nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss for a 100 times 🙂

    nevertheless, nice, I likey…
    Thank you 🙂

    Usha
    Good one Dinesh.
    Thank you 🙂

    But things ARE changing and people do help in such cases
    I hope they did when it happened. I hope it didn’t happen at all. I hope the auto driver didn’t break the rule and drive in the no entry. BTW, The modern day Chennai part is a True story.

    Inda flash back ellam black and white le potu, present ai colour le potta ennai madiri bulbukkellam usefulla irukumm illaya?
    PC Sreeram maari ore oru Bulb ( and one small meluguvarthi for Pallava times) vachu edukkalamnu irunthen he he …!

    Gauri
    🙂 Nice
    Thank you 🙂

    Interestingly, had the roles been reversed, Gopal might have done all he could to help a stranger on the roadside, without a second thought. Would Gops have even given a second look?
    Very interesting thought. May be he would have, may be not! It is very difficult to say.

    At most, he would feel sympathy, wish he could help, perhaps even sent a silent prayer his way. Other than that, he’d just thank his luck – I doubt he’d thank God – it wasn’t him, and be on his way.
    Realistically this is what would have happened. But I hope the times change and people start helping each other. That is our dharma.

    “Kaun jhanjat mein padega yaar!”
    This means the jhanjat has to be removed and then I think People would be more willing to help. If not people, atleast the Cops and India probably needs an emergency system as Robust as the west.

  13. “This means the jhanjat has to be removed and then I think People would be more willing to help.”

    Exactly my point. That’s why the last line 🙂

    Back then humanity was almost a given; it was your duty to help your neighbor. Now you will be called a philanthropist to do something as basic.

    Is this problem because people have become more self-centered & individualistic, or have people become more self-centered because helping someone has only translated into added hassle trouble for oneself? Who shoudl be blamed? It’s a vicious circle.

    And I ramble.

    -g

  14. Gauri
    It’s a vicious circle
    True. And a circle has no starting and ending point which means the reform can happen anywhere. If everyone points to the next person in the circle we are in a deadlock. If one person changes himself then the circle is opened.

  15. Hi Dinesh,

    The laws have changed in India. There is no compulsion that the person who helps the accident victim has to file the FIR, go to courts in the future and harassed by the Police and Judiciary. He can just take the accident victim to any nearby hospital and admit him. He would not be bothered beyond that. Even private hospitals are obliged to treat the accident victim. There is a Supreme Court of India ruling in this regard which I am not able to locate immediately. I will post it on your blog once I could lay my hands on that judgement.
    So, fellow Indians please feel free to help an accident victim without bothering about Police, Court case et al.
    KR
    Venkateswaran

  16. The advanced technology has improved the quality of life but failed to improve the human sensibilities in the same proportion. Your story beautifully illustrates this fact. However, there is a large group of good people who are always ready to help their fellow human beings.

  17. Venkateswaran
    There is no compulsion that the person who helps the accident victim has to file the FIR, go to courts in the future
    Thank God this is changed. But I wish it gets publicized much more. Obviously Media is busy covering the most important news in the world so they don’t care about something as small as this.

    I will post it on your blog once I could lay my hands on that judgement.
    Thank you so much. I will update this post once I get that info from you. Thanks for sharing.

    Sriniani
    The advanced technology has improved the quality of life but failed to improve the human sensibilities in the same proportion.
    I think we hav chosen technologies to work for us in the wrong ways. Our fundamental way of using and associating the technologies has to change.

    Your story beautifully illustrates this fact.
    Thank you.

    However, there is a large group of good people who are always ready to help their fellow human beings.
    I am sure there are a lot of good people and that is why the world is still spinning around the sun.

  18. He would do that later, but right now he was pained by the fact that there was no one who cared about a stranger in distress. He could not even imagine what would have happened if he didn’t have an uncle as a surgeon in a hospital. It took several months for Gops to recover but the pain of his fellow human beings leaving him by himself when he was a victim of unorderliness for a fraction of a second left him scarred.
    This literally sent a chill down my spine. Wonderful story to convey the message. This has been the very same thing that haunted my mind when I had an accident. But I was lucky enough when a blessed soul admitted me to the hospital in my unconscious state and called up my house through my mobile phone.

  19. Anniyan
    Wonderful story to convey the message.
    Thank you

    But I was lucky enough when a blessed soul admitted me to the hospital in my unconscious state
    I am sorry to hear about your accident. I hope it wasn’t anything big and you recovered. I am glad you were helped and I will be glad when everyone is helped in disaster.

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