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Monday, July 11, 2005

safety an illusion

‘Safety first’ are two very important words that we grow up with but, the safety that we all crave for is an illusion. Close-in fielders are supposed to be athletes par excellence who are expected to latch on to the most difficult of chances, when the safe hands of such reliable close-in fielders puts down a sitter, the team feels let down, accusing fingers are raised.

There are safety pins, safety razors, safety matches. The engineering industry builds a factor of safety into its goods. In flight it is mandatory to keep your safety belts in position during take off and landing. In automobiles it is necessary to keep your safety belts fastened, at least on roads and junctions where the hawk-like eyes of the Law scour the traffic and wait eagerly to pounce on the offender to extract their pound of flesh. Safety helmets keep cropping up in the news – while some accept its necessity, others find flaws with the elaborate headgear. Screen heroes could be roped in to spread the message and start an awareness campaign – they could do it as a social service activity or, better still, make the helmet manufacturers sponsor the footages. It is quite surprising that a product like this does not attract attention – we have several products to take of dandruff, of white hair, of dry, oily or brittle hair but no one spares a thought for the head on which the hair has to grow. If there is no head, where, pray, will the products for the maintenance of hair go? Therefore, it is in the interest of all concerned that the head be brought into focus.

We have the police to safeguard interests in our day to day lives; we have the armed forces to safeguard the interests of our country. We keep adding sophisticated weapons to our arsenal to discourage opportunists; we maintain special security groups to ensure safety of our leaders. In spite of all these, crime is not contained, adventurism on the borders does not stop, militancy continues. The worst part is that the moment safety is breached, people bay for each other’s blood. Those who are actually responsible for the breach, go scot-free!

When we build a house, we take the utmost care to install alarms, interlocks, safety latches. Those who occupy ground floors take extra care to barricade windows. We have telephones in our houses to summon aid in case of emergencies. But, when the bad elements strike, we discover that all our safety measures are to no avail, they cannot prevent dacoities or robberies– the criminals resort to brute force to enter the premises. Some of them use trickery, especially in housing complexes in large metros where they identify themselves as the boy from the electrical, telephone or the plumbing department or even door-to-door salesmen!

Therefore a question arises – how safe are we? Once we step out of the house, we may meet with a road accident or get run over by a train or be a victim of bombing or shootout. We may meet our maker while trying to help the needy. Under the circumstances, why shout ourselves hoarse over situations that are beyond our control. Is it not wise to accept the fact that, no matter how powerful we are, we are helpless in the hands of destiny?

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