Death is Unfortunate But Death by Accident is no Way to go
Babloo was a silent worker. He spent the entire day at work but spoke little. He rarely showed emotion. Crack a joke in his presence and gauge its quality by watching Babloo's expression. If you caught a hint of a smile, your joke passed the test.
Babloo was a video editor. I would interact with him closely every year during the pre and post-production of our biggest awards show - The Indian of the Year. At the award show, I would try something different for the 'walk music' at the grand finale. It had to be a 20 second piece which played when the winner was announced and faded out when she/he began her/his acceptance speech. I would suggest a track and indicate a specific portion which I felt would work best. The rest was for Babloo to do. He would line up all the walk-music a day before the awards for me to preview. I enjoyed these previews. I am not sure if he did.
The bigger challenge was to cull out a promo after the event. The two hour show would have many special moments but the promo could not exceed 45 seconds. It had many sponsors, so the overall length would be close to a minute. Babloo and I went through the motion each year. No one else needed to be there. I'd brief him the specific soundbites I felt should reflect in the promo and Babloo would do the rest.
All 10 awardees had to be showcased, the key bites needed to be there along with the best cutaways. Babloo would assemble it all and once done, call me on my extension to preview it. In the first couple of years, I'd ask for half a dozen changes. Over the years, the number of changes I sought reduced, till there came a time when no change was required. Babloo knew exactly what to do.
We spoke very little but had begun to understand each other better. Sometimes, the least communication is the best communication.
On Sunday morning, I woke up to find a text message on my phone. Babloo had met with an accident while returning home from a wedding ceremony. A truck hit him from behind and he came under the wheel. His wife and daughter survived with minor injuries. Babloo passed away on the spot. He was 38 years old. I spent the day thinking of how life can be treacherous. How traumatic it would be for his wife and daughter to see him go right in front of their eyes?
Babloo is not alone. Thousands of people die in road accidents in India, many of them at a very young age. Nothing really happens to the perpetrator of the crime who gets away at the most in a couple of years. The victim's family lose their loved ones forever. When it happens to someone close to us, it affects us badly. We feel we should do something about it. We raise it in different fora. It catches attention for a while. And then nothing happens.
In March 2011, a father turned Citizen Journalist on CNN-IBN to stop running of overloaded trucks on roads. His son died due to one such truck. He had made it his life's mission to ensure what happened to his son does not get repeated with others. Last November, I received an email from Ashutosh Soti who lost his 16 year old son in a road accident. His son Shubham was a school prefect, a sports captain and had a promising future. But his life was cut short. Mr. Soti wanted me to sign an online petition which he had drafted asking Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to direct all states to create a Road Safety Authority. Laws are in place but what's required is strict enforcement. Link to his petition is here.
Babloo was universally known by his nickname. His name in official records is Parshu Ram. India has a two name culture. A name is given which is used in every official document and a nickname affectionately used by the family and close friends. But in a few exceptions, the nickname is universally used. Babloo was one of them.Those who knew him always had affection in their heart for him. May his soul rest in peace.
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