One of the things we do on getting back to India is to hire a help and end up adopting the family as well! Bhuvana, our help, has an younger brother who appears periodically and cleans the car. No matter he is expected to appear more often, but does a good job when he descends. He has moved north of Bengaluru and so he does descend!
Today is Ayuda Pooja and an important day. Santosh rang the bell in the morning and asked me to take the car out. He wanted to give it a thorough cleaning, better than normal as it was Pooja day. He planned to decorate it by tying two small banana plants on the sides, a huge garland in the front and so on. I disappointed him by telling him a few flowers should be enough!.
Went up for my shave! As I shaved, I recalled the story that Khsatriyas had to draw blood if they took their swords out of their sheaths ! Wondered what they did on Ayuda Pooja day. As I thought about this, sure enough, I cut myself and drew a little blood! I suppose the rules apply even to a mild brahmin!
Went down as soon as Santosh was ready and moved the car back.
As I thought about this ritual, my questions were: when did a vehicle become a weapon? Yes it has the potential to draw blood, even take life. And as most Indians perform this pooja; has it reduced Indian accident rates?
Here are some stats. Road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year: The world average was 20.8 and India was lower at 16.8.
I thought, not so bad! Hopefully the pooja was a factor! But again Sweden was the lowest at 2.9. So it must be more than just a yearly pooja that reduced accidents and thus fatalities. Suprisingly USA at 12.3 was much higher than what I expected. Eritrea was the worst at 48.4.
The summary also said: According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries caused an estimated 1.26 million deaths worldwide in the year 2000. The average rate was 20.8 per 100,000 people, 30.8 for males, 11.0 for females. 90% occurred in low and middle income countries, with South-East Asia and Africa having the highest rates.