The rain had stopped a few minutes ago but the petrichor still persisted. I slid the side window open and looked out to see the bus I was in moved slower than every other vehicle on the road. The driver occasionally stopped the bus to have some water because it’s summer and he needed some time to set his body Temperature right (that’s what he told me). He was an inexperienced driver. It was the time when all the departments of the state were on a strike and our university had shut down and declared holidays for a month. My instincts told me the holidays could be extended. These holidays were declared in the middle of our academic year due to the agitations going on for a separate state. The people were divided based on the areas they lived in. One side wanted a separation and the other wanted to be united. The government wanted a solution while the political parties wanted to take an advantage.

While I was enjoying the smell after the downpour, a baby girl crawled on to me and started biting my shoulder. I turned to my left and saw her father smiling at me. This triggered a conversation between us and we started talking.

“I wish our government ran the local transport even in these kind of times. I know there’s an agitation going on but these private transport services can’t be trusted. This driver looks so amateur and so is his driving.” He said while taking a guava from his wife and handing it to me. “I’m gonna take a leak. Are you coming?”

“No, but the bus has been stopped so many times already and it’ll be late by the time we reach the city.” I groaned.

“Just a few minutes. I am bored sitting in this stupid bus.” He said and stopped the bus. His wife got down with him to catch some fresh air. 

I looked out of the window to see him running towards a shepherd boy who was about to be hit by a bike. He dragged him to the side and advised him to be careful the next time. A few seconds later, I looked a little to my left and saw him coming into the bus, sobbing and begging people for a phone. I didn’t carry my phone that day as it wasn’t in a working condition. Confused, I looked outside to see if that boy was hit again but shocked to see a woman on the other side of the road just beside the divider, badly injured and struggling for breath. A little further were men throwing stones at a car speeding away. 

The woman was his wife.

The passengers got down the bus and rushed to the woman except an old man who tried to call ambulance. It was too late by the time the ambulance reached us. The surprising thing is, people who talk about rules and ethics stood around the woman’s body, staring at her while she bled to her death. Where were their ethics now? 

They were so busy in cursing the person who hit her and drove away that they had no time to call an ambulance. I guess people are so afraid to face the police that they find it better to stare at the dying person.

This is what my friend is called the Bystander effect, the probability of help offered is inversely proportional to the number of bystanders.

‘Psychology’

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2 thoughts on “The Bystander effect.

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