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How Safe Are Our Gated Communities?

How times have changed, when I was a kid, for most of my life I walked to school. I never felt unsafe, when it was time to cross the road I would simply hold hands of one of the senior kids who walked with me and they would make sure that the we smaller kids were ok.

How Safe Are Our Gated Communities? - Drive Slowly - In Kids Play Area

When I grew up I took the same responsibility of kids in neighbourhood without anybody telling me. This is when we have moved to different cities and neighbourhood. The roads were safe and there was less traffic.

Walking to school or cycling to school was not a big deal if you lived close to school. But things have changed today. When we had our first daughter we moved to a gated community hoping for a safe environment and play area for the kiddo. Ever since we have tried to live in a gated community, when the kids are playing in the garden or walking on the apartment roads we always felt safe.

Not anymore. In last 3 months, two painful accidents have happened within our complex. In each case a kid has been badly hurt.

In first case the kid got down from the school bus, and rushed towards the society gate, not seeing a motorcycle coming from the other side. He was badly hurt and had one of his legs fractured at multiple points. The motorcycle rider was also badly hurt as he fell on ground. I tried to find out later why some elder from his family was not there to pick him up. Apparently, every day the kid walks to home on his own as the mother feels safe in the gated community.

In second case, a little girl all of 8 years was running in the compound when she did not see a car coming on the society inner road, nor did the car driver, an elderly gentleman, saw her. Result again a fractured leg and a very remorseful elder gentlemen who was unable to come to terms that he has hurt a little kid.

The third is the worst of the cases. Though not in our society in Hyderabad, but it happened in Gurgaon (some of you may have read it in papers). One of my friends called me from Gurgaon as he was too shaken and wanted to talk to somebody.

A kid got down from school bus, ran away from his mom and came under the wheels of a car, right in front of his mother at the boom barrier of the society. Eyewitness says, that the lady in the car was trying to speed away before the barrier got down after the car in front of her moved out. In the rush she did not see the little kid running. I don’t know exactly what happened during those few seconds, but the kid died in hospital.

I can’t tell you how sad this made me and I cannot even imagine the pain his parents must be going through at this irreplaceable loss. The lady who was driving the car was arrested but was released on bail after a few days.

I have been thinking about it ever since. In each of the cases, the parents were comfortable that since they live in a gated community surrounded by gates, security guards, etc. the kids are safe to run around. I am part of that belief system, but my faith in the walls, the barriers and the good sense of fellow residents to drive carefully has totally shaken. We no longer feel safe if the kids are not in front of our eyes, and still the sound of a car makes me anxious. I don’t blame the kids for they are doing what they are supposed to do – play around with the belief that they are safe in the society.

But do I blame the drivers who themselves are parents of some of these kids playing, for driving fast? I have no answers except for appealing that we should all drive as slow as possible where kids could be playing. I also pray to God that I never forget what I expect from others and drive carefully making sure that I do not hurt anybody ever while driving.

Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.