Are you a perfect driver? Do you know the nuances of driving inside out? Are you a stickler for road rules? If your answers are in the affirmative, gosh, you are a misfit to be a driver in Chennai city [taro-city] where drivers on the road, mostly the atrocious auto ones, create chaos and anarchy not for them but for others.
So, it is good if you know driving by halves so that you could be a slanging match to those half-boiled drivers on their bizarre driving. For, they learn driving only though a half-a-day capsule driving class as their dying wish is to sit behind the wheels of a car and not to learn proper driving.
I met with a touch and go accident on a Monday morning while I was returning back home from Marina beach after a hectic jogging. The mishap occurred because I made a grave mistake: I observed the traffic rules. There were many occasions when other drivers on the road badmouthed me; calling me names coz I was driving normally observing the prescribed speed limit.
Even my family members always loathe traveling in my car. ‘Who would like a camel-ride on a metro road’, they would quip. Once a flippant little girl said to me sarcastically: ‘uncle, do you know there is a part called accelerator exist in every car.’
Coming to the accident, this was how it panned out. I was driving my Santro on the extreme left on the road, halted my vehicle when a schoolboy in front had difficulty negotiating a pot whole as big as a shrew’s mouth. But then, a biker from behind rammed into my car. She did as a normal drive would do in Chennai. Yes, bikers here won’t accomplish two things at one go: driving and at the same time observing traffic rules.
After slamming her vehicle into mine, she did what any reasonable person will do in the circumstance: varoomed off and disappeared in a split second. The young school boy too cycled away without noticing that he was the cause of the accident, a freak one at that.
When an accident occurs even in a remote place in Chennai, you’ll first see a crowd rushes to the spot from nowhere … like a flash in the pan. The arrival of the crowd has always been sudden and swift like a lightning. And then, somebody in the crowd, instead of offering first-aid, will start advising to whoever is in a state to listen. That means, to anyone who is technically not dead or dying.
Naturally, I too was at the receiving end. ‘You should have been more careful’, I heard a lady speaking from the throng. ‘I was careful and that’s why I stopped my car’ I bellowed hiding my usual thin, subdued voice. For, I know the crowd psychology… I know the way a throng would behave in such a situation. That’s way I shouted in a falsetto voice so that the people standing around me would think there was nothing wrong with my driving. The lady who shouted at me now looked at the other way.
‘Was she drunk’? Another scrawny man, seemed a peddler, shouted. ‘I don’t know.’ I spouted my lips. There was an awkward silence for a few seconds before someone chimed… a pesky intrusion. ‘You’re lucky. Last week a cyclist mowed down a motorist in the signal. The driver died on the spot, his skull was broken.’ This is an exaggerated morbid fetish … a hyperbole. The speaker must be a script writer though he did not let any such airs’, I thought amusingly. You will always have people like that, recounting gruesome accidents in the most ghastly ways to someone who is beginning to reconcile with the trauma he/she is involved.
Seeing the commotion, a beat constable came running over to us. When I started narrating what happened, he cut me short and asked: ‘Did you notice the register number of the bike?’
‘She sped off even before I could feel that someone hit my car’ I began slobbering.
‘Oh, there you’re. Educated people are like that. You aren’t alert, but blame the police for not booking the offenders,’ the beat constable shot back accusingly.
‘Can you at least tell me how she looked like?
I didn’t want to disappoint the cop this time. So, I happily started giving forth the facial features of the biker who rammed into my car:
‘The biker was a lady, sir. She was incognito, covering her face with duppatta. Her whole face and head was shrouded. She wore sunglasses. She had long gloves pulled up to well over her elbows.’
The policeman stood aghast, looking at me sternly.
The road was now getting busier with heavy morning traffic. I started off my car hoping the police would net the lady soon.
Image courtesy: Google
Inputs source: NT