Bystanding is a national timepass!

Last weekend, R,Namnam & I went out to enjoy the lovely weather. Yes,the scorching,sweltering summer is slowly giving way to the cool,breezy winter. We celebrated this change in weather by roaming around Souq Waqif,a traditional market situated in the heart of Doha.

Now the post is not about our visit to the Souq. I’ll reserve that for a later date. Maybe,I’ll share some snaps of our visit in my next post. This post,instead is about what happened after leaving the place.

On our way back,we saw an accident on the opposite road, where a cyclist had been hit by a motorist. By the look of it ,it seemed like a terrible accident. The cyclist was lying on a stretcher,right in the middle of the road, being attended to by the paramedics.

As much as it was a disturbing sight to watch, what was also pathetic to see was how much this incident was garnering interest among all the passersby. Everyone was so glued to that unpleasant sight that they were causing a mini-traffic jam in the process.

R was so pissed off with this attitude that he was on the brink of getting out of the car and shaking the drivers to get moving. We didnt understand what was so interesting to watch. What was the need to stop and watch a poor man fighting for his life? Unless of course they had some help to offer,which they clearly didn’t. The ambulance was there. The paramedics were doing the needful.

By-standing seems to be in our veins. When someone is beaten mercilessly, or when a woman is paraded naked or when there is a scuffle in the locality,all we do is stand by as mutants and watch. I’m not saying we enjoy it,but we don’t seem to mind it either.

If we cant offer our help or speak out against an injustice ,we should just walk away and move on. At least its less miserable than being bystanders and adding to the sufferings of those ill-fated souls.

37 thoughts on “Bystanding is a national timepass!

  1. Oh this is really so bad Deepu .. let alone an accident, even a petty quarrel on the road or aside is enough for ppl to stay put 😦

    D: you’re so right,Swar! It is sad 😦


  2. Oh yes, Deeps! This is so common! It is unbelievable how people do this. I haven’t seen so much of it here, for some reason – but it is so common in India. I think bystanding makes it even worse for the victims.

    D: I know,Smits! This was precisely what R & I discussed that day. The victim must already be feeling so miserable and then on top of that imagine him/her having to counter thousands of glaring eyes. Pathetic!


  3. oh yes this is so common and irritates me beyond measure… they dont want to do anything yet stand but u know oflate I have seen it improving really have atleast in Blore and that makes me very happy

    D: Thats a positive sign!


  4. This is so so sad…
    and it’s so much common.
    A friend of mine lost his life in a road accident because people first chose to watch him lay on the road before the ambulance arrived… he died on his way to the hospital 😦

    D: Goodness gracious,Pix! Thats so unfortunate. This shows people can be so insensitive.


  5. A very sad state of affairs:(
    People are more interested in watching with folded hands rather lending a helping hand.

    D: So true!

    Where are we heading with this kind of ridiculous attitude?

    Thanks for sharing Deeps.



  6. not about serious injuries… but if i see a fight somewhere… I m compelled to stand and watch !!!! πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    D: If I see a fight I get really scared πŸ˜€

    it sucks… but lol cant help it ! πŸ˜›


  7. More pathetic is when people take snaps of the accident.If the a person is caught taking snaps he will be fined.

    Here atleast people call police and ambulance when they see an accident but in india they just watch to see whether people are alive or not,i have seen many times in a minor accident people just stare them and very few people go to them and lift them from the road.

    D: Yes,Sari. Its sad that people don’t realize that by standing there as mutants they are not helping the victims,instead they are making them feel even more miserable.


  8. You are absolutely right. The situation is pretty much the same in India. I remember during last years NSG operation at Nariman house people were gathered around and perched on rooftops just to watch the spectacle.
    Back home in Kerala though, the bystanders are anything but mute! Accident victims are rescued and dispatched to the nearest hospital within minutes and brawls are broken up before it gets too serious.

    D: Really? In Kerala? That sure is a welcome sign.


  9. What to say these are the typical mindset of a common man.I never even dare to look at those sights coz i’m hemophobic.

    Everyone was so glued to … May be there are in a dilemma, like should i save him or not or something like that.I don’t know

    D: But,Anish,what if they are clearly seeing help is being given by the concerned people??


  10. Yep a typical mob behavior!!! In fact what is more pathetic in these cases is when a bunch of ppl would be ready to fight it out with the guy who would be responsible for the accident but would disappear when it would to come to helping the victim!!!

    It all boil downs to the fact that we are an insensitive bunch of ppl who enjoy seeing others in agony!!

    D: Couldnt have agreed with you more.


  11. This is part of our society to garner some kind of pleasure from other people’s interests, mainly their downfalls. Here in US, if there is an accident police do a great job of keeping the traffic going when the paramedics do their job.


  12. We are like this only!
    Some time it is necessary to be there and divert traffic away from the victim but most of the time it is a nuisance….
    It is a type of curiosity… there was a advertisement campaign was launched by national geographic channel or discovery channel where they show people standing by in various instances and then the punch line was that if you want to quench your curiosity watch the channel….
    We are like this only


  13. I have a few friends here in the US who complain at how lighting a match stick at home could bring 2 cop cars and a fire truck in minutes. While that’s a hyperbole, in most accidents, the first responders here are not only on the scene in minutes but secure the area and traffic. While at times it may seem excessive, like for a small fender bender, I have never been more happier about it give what you describe is such a common place back home and quite a few countries..

    Hope the morons did not block the paramedics too on their way out ..

    Heard this from a friend that may surmise our attitude about helping a person in need ” If Shivaji is going to be re-incarnated, let him grace the neighbors..” — meaning why the headache for us ; hope someone else will take the initiative ..

    PS : Thanks for the wonderful comment on my post..


  14. I second you Deeps. I just cant watch such incidents; not even when a policeman does his lathi charge. Its so depressing. I really dont know what pleasure those people find in seeing a human or an animal suffer.


  15. “What was the need to stop and watch a poor man fighting for his life? Unless of course they had some help to offer,which they clearly didn’t. ”

    There I agree with you.

    If people were causing a jam because they were offering some help then at least it means something. Otherwise this behavior is indeed time pass. Now they will discuss and narrate stories of their relatives and friends who had similar accidents before.


  16. It’s not just accidents.. movie filming,police lathi charging.. anything and everything.. we r a nation with cold feet.. nobody wants to bell the cat.. they just want to wait and see if someone will make the first move and crowd around the victim in the meantime.. really sad !!


  17. Hi Deeps, I thought, yeh ham dilli walo ki khasiyat hai, but Doha also!! You are right when you have nothing to offer in terms of help or assistance it is better to push off rather than causing a traffic jam.

    By the way sweetie where has your comment gone from my post ??? 😦


  18. Deeps, do you think it has something to do with the fact that people are not busy enough? I too am a curious person (but no, not for something gory but something interesting) and at times I wish I had the time to stop and watch something! I wonder how people have the time to just stand and stare!


  19. There are so many people with nothing better to do than watch a “tamasha” and recount it in gory detail. They are so interested in other people’s life but would run the other way if asked to lift a finger to help.


  20. When my car went over the kerb, I had a different experience, I was shocked into inaction and a lady came by, parking her car on the road and offered help. That brought me to my senses…So for every evil there is a ‘good’ lurking just behind…


  21. Oh yes, the curiosity of what next , makes people glued i think…

    by the way here at muscat, someone requested that if there is an accident, dont take action on your own but to call emergency…..

    because of poor handling, somebody dies because of poor handling by bystanders..

    since the ambulance will arrive within minutes of any accident, one can wait…but not backhome..


  22. Most of the time these bystanders will be hampering the rescue efforts of the paramedics. And if u really take note most of these bystanders will be Indians…..I guess it is in our nature to be curious:-P


  23. Dear all,thank you so much for your thoughts :). Am a bit tied up at home front, with the weekend setting in. Will be back to respond to your comments on the other side.

    And,Nance,yes,we are exactly 1hr behind you πŸ™‚

    Those of you living in this part of the world,have a great weekend and the rest of you have a great week ahead !!


  24. I don’t know what bystanders hope to achieve by standing and watching. They’re just making rescue effort difficult and prolonging the agony for teh victims. it is a known fact that asians and particularly Indian like to stare. i’ve not seen this behavior anywhere else.


  25. I think such ppl get some perverse pleasure out of watching such things. You see it on the news too, how they push to get in front & that sort of morbid glee on their faces. These are the ppl who really need to get a life instead of getting cheap thrills from other people’s troubles.


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