Experience an ambulance in Bangalore. First, the ambulance is apologetic at being on duty (so shy its siren, so soft its beacon.) It has no power and I haven’t ever seen a Bangalore ambulance speed up. To be fair, I must mention that it cannot speed up. Too many automobiles are in a swarm round it and they have no clue what to do. The ones behind blow impatient horns at the ambulance, those on the side strive to overtake it and the ones in front do not want to give up their lead and like to press as much ahead as they can. When this slow-moving swarm (comprising chief executives, other executives, academicians, doctors, lawyers, great achievers, students, regular folks) finally reaches a junction, the policeman is too bashful to summon up some energy, clear the way, and get the damn ambulance going. I have never seen a volunteer jump out of his car and wave about to clear a path for it; I must admit I haven’t done it myself. I have only gazed at it: The upended hanging bottle showing in a dim light, and by it, people who bear no impatience, no ill-will, and who appear to have surrendered to fate the moment their journey began; fortunately, the patient and the expression on his face are never visible.
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