I have reported many deaths but I was never so close to it. Just fractions of a second and I escaped (!) (yet I have no reason for rejoicing the fact...)
It's early winter here in Delhi. As usual I have to force myself out of warmth of the blanket, for the day's work. After I crossed the busy (somewhat) heart of the city, Connught Place, the traffic became scanty and slow moving.
By the time we reached the wide streets passing through the head quarters of the Ministry of Defence, the bus was nearly empty with only two of us as passengers.
Bus passing through the sunrays sneaking in through the leaves of the trees covering both sides the of the street, the FM radio playing recent chartbuster Hindi song, defence personnels rushing in clusters on the foot path...
I was trying to enhance enjoyment by adding some more colours to the milieu with the brushes of my imagination.
I was brought back to realities when the bus came to a sudden halt. The driver and his assistant tried to restart it but all their efforts were fruitless.
The conductor approached us with a sorry and refunded the rest of the ticket. The next stoppage was just a few steps away. We proceeded towards it.
"Can I get a direct bus to South Ex.?"
"I do not think so. You'll have to change a bus at Moti Baag," I replied.
I tried to utilise the moments of wait by observing the hurried movements of the armed force personnels in between the office. Even their indiscipline has a pattern, a discipline.
A screeching sound brought me back again to reality. Something skidded from the street and slammed my fellow who was standing not more than two feet away from me.
Some reflexes of my nerves and I stepped back from my position. It was a biker that somehow lost its balance and...I felt my body parts became just as rigid as a corpse...by the moment I regained my breath, the armed force personnels came into action...war footing...ambulance, nurse, doctor, police...the two bodies were laid on stretchers on the side of the road, covered head to toe...how can that be? The one that just talked to me was lying motionless...It could have been me too!
I pulled myself back to actuality and unlocked the cell to call News Coordinators in the office.
"How many died?"
"Any one injured?"
"Kya yaar, you are telling us to report an accident in which only two died? Who will be interested in it (Who will buy it?). Just because you are there, you are becoming emotional. Forget all these and come to office."
Yes, we reporters are not supposed to be emotional. We are not supposed to be shaken by "mere two deaths". That's not so hot. They do not excite people, they do not add up to the TRP (Television Rating Point)...