Imagine you are riding on the road with panache. A girl on the pillion seat, and breeze through your hair. As you are about to break into a song, you are stopped by the Lord of Death himself, Yama. It may seem like your worst nightmare is come true. But this is no dream. This is the reality on Bengaluru roads.
The traffic police have hired Lord Yama, basically a man in His costume to do the job for them. This guy stops riders without helmets, and teaches them important lessons on road safety.
After imparting his universal knowledge on the importance of helmets, he parts with a rose to the rider. Another cool feature of this Yama are his red sneakers, that he adorns to traverse the snarling traffic of Bengaluru.
The man in the costume is Veeresh Muthinamati. The Kannada theatre actor and director has been recruited by the Bengaluru Traffic Police as their mascot for the ongoing National Roadside Traffic Safety Awareness Month.
This is not the first time that authorities have tried some eccentric idea to convince people to wear helmets. Mumbai police tweeted a photo for PUBG players to wear helmets. There was even as advertisement in which Gods and Goddesses like Lakshmi and Ganesh would wear their crowns like helmets before sitting on their ride, whether a bird or a rat.
Care so much for your head in your virtual life and not in real? Not the best game plan! No area may be safe without a helmet, so you must wear one #SafetyFirst #WearAHelmet pic.twitter.com/sZIduSkz5D
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) July 2, 2018
In a unique campaign, Odisha police has roped in the priests of the highly revered Maa Sarala temple in Jagatsinghpur district that attracts thousands of devotees. The priests have been asked to not conduct puja done specially for vehicles, if the owners turn up without helmets.
The authorities in Bangaluru and Odisha seem to have realised that in India religion has more influencing power than logic and rationality. While it is common sense to protect your head while on a bike, people would look at safety instructions with disdain. But when a God tell them this, they seem to readily accept their mistake and mend their ways.
Probably, we should start using this tactic for other issues. Like a man dressed as Ganesh on every street corner requesting people not to litter. A man dressed as Ram requesting villagers to construct toilets in their homes.
Eventually, the purpose is to evoke a corrective action. Whatever works!