I didn’t understand the full meaning of this advice until today.
This afternoon I was out walking around our neighborhood. I had to pick up a few things and I also stopped to read a little at my favorite café, Coffee Day. I was about a block away from our apartment, when right before my eyes I saw a car hit a man on his bicycle. Mind you the driving is nuts around here, but we have yet to see an actual car accident…mostly we see very near misses. As soon as the man got up (he looked as though he hurt his back badly), a crowd began to gather. I quickly walked past the car and crossed the street. I know that mob activity can quickly happen here in India and I wanted to get out of the way as fast as I could.
First, there was a lot of yelling and pointing. The car made a couple attempts to drive away (even one time hitting an elderly lady), but people blocked their escape by positioning themselves all around the car. Bystanders then proceeded to start banging on the car. This provoked the three passengers of the car to get out and fight back. It was so intense to see everyone attacking each other and nothing could be done. Lots of pushing, more yelling and even punches were thrown. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.
Traffic all around had slowed down and a lot of drivers had pulled over to either join in the action or just watch from a far. One man found it very amusing to watch my reaction to all that was going on… you can see him smiling at me in the pictures. Finally, after about 20 minutes, the police arrived. They made a lot of bikes and drivers move along and ushered the car (that was in the accident) to move over to the side of the road. Wow. I have to say that I am thankful for the rules of the road in the States. I know now, on a deeper level, to heed the driver’s advice and to just stay in the car.