Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Single Wheelers

Yesterday a friend posted a video on his facebook page about ‘one wheeling youngsters’ somewhere in Punjab, Pakistan. It was pretty amazing to see these daredevils ...flying away their 70cc Honda’s on a single wheel… no helmets… no worries…no regard for safety.

The video also showed half a dozen or so riders riding their motorcycles through fields, unpaved stretches and dirt paths (the kind of terrain fit for an ATV)…and maneuvered through them on a single wheel quite skillfully! One of the daredevils was actually pulling a ‘wheelie’ while his burqa laden girl friend held on to him, I was flabbergasted!

The story went on and included interviews of one of the riders mother, who explained that she has tried talking to her son several times about the dangers of riding in that fashion, but he is a thrill seeker and he doesn’t listen to her and the motorcycle is his only toy. The next scene in the video was that of a funeral, the young rider had succumbed to the injuries he met in a motorcycle accident. He was in his early 20’s.

Like anywhere else in the world, the youth in Pakistan like engaging in thrill seeking behavior, and in this case they were pretty good at that stuff too, only that there were not a lot of outlets for them and they chose the dangerous behavior of trying out their stunts in public, endangering not only themselves but the common public, while I don’t think they should be encouraged for this behavior, I am inclined to learn more on the reasons that cause them to behave in this reckless manner. One of the comments posted on the video surprised me… in summary it stated that the problem with the youth in Pakistan was that they had an ‘Iman’ (faith) issue. And due to this ‘Iman deficit’ they chose the wrong path. I was blown away. How can this be an issue of religion or a matter of faith?

It is obvious that the choices made by the ‘single wheelers’ were wrong and dangerous and one of them ultimately paid for it with his life in this example, but isn’t the issue that there aren’t many outlets for our youth? There is no recreation for them to safely indulge in, there are no fields, no sports (other than playing cricket in crowded streets) for the masses.

What exacerbates the situation is the instead of finding a practical solution (building riding tracks, providing safety gear, regulations etc) it’s considered ‘okay’ to drag the poor religion into all matters.


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Stuff I have to say: The views expressed here are solely my own. My employer, clients, colleagues, neighbors, family, have got nothing to do with this….although I am thankful to them for putting up with me!