Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Accident Averted!

It happened this Sunday. The church service got over. Said the usual goodbyes and we were driving with our parish priests, Rev. Roy Varghese, on the highway to CBD Belapur where we live. The priest was at the wheel.

There is a row of vehicles on the other side of the road. An accident on the road, a usual thing. It’s nothing new on the Bombay-Pune highway, which has now become an expressway. A trailer had twisted around; its cabin and front wheels had turned, telescoped, kind of, into its back. The main body of the trailer, what is called the “bed” (FYI, I used to be in-charge of the “plant” in Saudi Arabia and I knew these terms) had on it a hulking container, containing granite slabs.

With the impact, which I could discern had inflicted considerable damage, the container had spilled into the road, and sat in the middle of it blocking traffic. We pass it. In the distance, down an incline, I can see this huge state transport bus coming straight at us from the wrong side of the road, I mean, our side.

The Rev. Varghese is driving straight ahead at the bus that is coming at us around 80 kilometers per hour. We were going steady at around 60 kilometers per hour. I think the priest has seen the bus and would swerve. I point and shout, “See that?”


He hasn’t seen the bus. The bus doesn’t slow down, doesn’t even acknowledge the small missile that is coming its way. I can see what the end is like. A colleague had met with an accident recently and this is his story.

“Those fools are coming straight at us.”

The good Rev. Varghese swerves. He is good. Luckily there isn’t another speeding vehicle to our left. The bus passes with a roar and a whoosh. I dither, I can’t breath. So this is how it ends. You are crippled even if it wasn’t your mistake.

Driving in India can be a harrowing experience. That man who drove the State-owned transport bus needs to be shot, trussed up, mounted and displayed in some museum. Any volunteers?

Bombay | Pune | Driving | Accident

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