In a tragically familiar tale, a reunion of 14 school friends from Mumbai ended in grief as two of them drowned at Bhushi Dam in Lonavla on Sunday. According to the Pune Rural police, this is the fourth drowning incident reported at the dam in one week.
Dams, waterfalls, lakes, in fact all water bodies are immensely popular picnic spots this season. Even the beaches are packed on weekends. Tourists are drawn to these places, but we see wild and outrageously unbecoming behaviour from them in the guise of fun. They jump into the water even after there are signs warning them not to do so. This is a common occurrence at beaches, where lifeguards are often not to be seen or cannot get to the spot in time when a distressed swimmer is swiftly carried away by the currents.
Many times, revellers seem oblivious to obvious dangers as they are high on adrenaline and get caught up in the moment.
Many picnickers are inebriated, which is deadly. They often find themselves in real trouble as they wade into waters too deep, or fuelled by alcohol and empty bravado, explore other dangerous options.
Authorities have often spoken about how people go swimming at such places despite repeated warnings not to do so. To these revellers, signboards are little more than decoration, to be largely ignored.
In this recent Bhushi Dam death, officials say the youths had crossed over to the danger zone and had actually jumped into the reservoir of the dam! Officials stated that the boys were disappointed with the scanty rainfall and so they entered the restricted area.
Signage, warnings and restrictions may be the job of the authorities. To heed them is our responsibility. In the end, one has to take onus for one’s own life. Throwing caution and common sense to the wind, is reckless and uncalled-for behaviour that has resulted in huge tragedies. Sadly, we know we have not heard the last of these cases.