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Speed Kills But Thrills

When I reached my son’s swimming class this morning at 6.30 am, the security guard said to me, “Ma’am, do you know? An accident happened just outside our hotel 30 minutes ago.”

I was shocked and said, “Oh God! What happened? Hope nobody got hurt?”

The security guard replied that the guy who was hit by the bike died on the spot and the biker too suffered grievous injuries. The biker’s head had hit the footpath and his brain had spilled out. It did not appear that he might survive either.

I was speechless. It happened just outside the hotel where I have been taking my son for the past 25 days. And from the terrace I could see the mangled remains of a bike and a helmet a few meters away. Apparently, the biker was a young chap, who had completed his night shift IT job and was heading home. He was riding at a high speed, and might not have expected someone to cross the road at that early hour. The unfortunate victim was a security guard, who had just had a tea from a nearby shop.

The entire day I kept wondering why youngsters are obsessed with and so passionate about speed. The biker must have began his career only a few years ago. If he survives this accident, which will call for a miracle, how will his life be? I instantly remembered a young colleague of mine, who survived an equally bad accident on the Chennai-Bangalore highway. It took him more than 3 years to get back to work. He lost his job and all his savings, had to move back to his village, and had to depend on his parents to fulfil all his personal needs. At an age when someone is just about starting their life with responsibilities, an event like this can jeopardise one’s entire future.

In this post, I would like to discuss one of the key causes that drive youngsters to this situation:

Many fathers entertain their children with speed. Especially when the child is a boy, the father could be expected to take him on his bike or car, and demonstrating the adrenalin high that results from driving fast. I have seen many people ask their child, “Shall we drive fast?”, in order to get them excited. They also passionately discuss fast cars, bikes and aeroplanes with their children. For a girl child on the other hand, the discussion may revolve around other, softer topics. Am not trying to discriminate gender here. But the fact is that, boys are the ones who really face these types of accidents.

By the time a boy turns 6, he begins collecting models of these cars and bikes. The house will be filled with hotwheel cars and tracks. Then the boy gets into video games where he races and gets exposed to the excitement that comes from speed. In due course, he graduates to competitive online video gaming, and movies that glorify speed. By then, the sub-conscious mind of the boy is addicted to speed and he begins to experience a high only when things are done faster.

When the boy attains the age when he can have his own bike, he is excited to live out all the pent up fantasies of his childhood – speeding, skidding, racing, wheeling and what not.

As parents, it is our responsibly to prevent our children from getting addicted to speed and indulging in this dangerous pastime. I do not imply that it is wrong to get him a bike. But it is our duty to teach him how and where to use it. And what not to do with it.

Many parents these days tend to keep their children occupied by giving them tablets or phones. No one, including the child, knows how the games played impact the subconscious mind. If our subconscious mind is made to believe that speeding is cool, then that’s the way we will behave. Mindsets are formed this way and patterns are created. These patterns override a person’s ability to act rationally.

After all, we have one life. Let’s stay calm and enjoy it. Why complicate it? Live lifefully.

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