Thursday, May 5, 2011

Was this in reply?

It happened last Sunday! We went to the Malleswaram market as Tara wanted to buy flowers and such. I found a small niche between trees to park, right opposite the market bus stop and thought it was my lucky day to find a spot so close to the market. I then noticed half visible behind the tree the 'no parking' sign! I did not get the logic of creating a niche well clear of the two parallel lines delineating the lanes and the no parking sign.

I thought 'Oh well! It is the weekend with normal traffic flowing and Tara will be out soon'. I sat in the car waiting, the ploy to adopt when you park where you should not. First you try and negotiate a couple of minutes when the police appear and then move on, if they insist, with a sheepish smile or a grim face depending on your personal aura. Normally it is the later you see.

A few minutes later, a scooter which was parked a little ahead of me also moved out. 'I should go a little ahead and closer to the footpath' I reasoned. But the traffic was smooth and I was clear of the white line and I had also noticed the pavement was a foot higher than the road. No way I could open the door if I got too close. I got lazy and stayed where I was, a mistake! I could possibly have moved another 10 inches away from the traffic flow.

Tara came back with two boys in tow carrying stuff, got them loaded into the car and then she went missing again. I kept busy watching the activity and it was fascinating to see cars constantly being parked in the no parking zone, those with hired drivers parked right in front of the bus stop and right where commuters waited. The commuters were actually waiting on the road as there was a shrine on the footpath. Also it is better to be on the road as often the bus drivers will just drive on if the commuters are not seen.

This is the Indian dharma of the roads! The drivers park cars and buses halt wherever it is convenient for them. I wondered if the rishis with their supreme intelligence had envisioned the future chaos and had written shastras fixing responsibility and due punishment for the guilty. I hoped it was there somewhere only to be discovered. Our only hope.

I wondered whether even gods would be in the net. In this case it was Ganesha, who had blocked the footpath and had forced the commuters on to the road. What if one of the speeding buses who braked hard but did not stop a few inches from the commuters as is normal and knocked one of them down. Was God culpable or would it be the devotees who had built this shrine or the driver who should have known better?

As I was trying to reason out the dharma sukshma I heard a big noise, saw a flying motorcycle along with the helmeted driver falling alongside my car and my car had moved more than a foot even though it was, I think, on gear.

I got out with all kinds of fears in my heart when I saw the helmeted rider get up and noticed the whimpering woman down on the road. In a trice there were scores of people around the scene of accident and helped the woman to her feet. Luckily while she was hurt she was not bleeding and only complained of her shoulders hurting. An auto was hired and they were off with the motorcycle rider, who had lifted his vehicle from the scene of accident and had parked it a little away. He seemed a decent guy and was still in shock. No police was in sight!

As I examined the car for the damage, a boy who would surely be a lawyer or a politician or both, fixed the blame on me as I was parked in the no parking zone. I just ignored him. There was another witness who was philosophical and said: 'Thank god it was not serious, no one was hurt seriously and again it was not the riders fault. The woman just rushed past the bus as she panicked'.

I asked him, whether he had heard the loud noise and whether in his opinion, the rider who braked and skidded, was driving at a normal speed or he was too fast. He had no answer.

Anyway the crowd had cleared and I continued to wait for Tara and wondered whether I was answered!

Truly, we were all at fault, the woman who panicked, the impatient bus driver who did not wait for the lady to cross and speed happy rider who would have zoomed past zigzagging except I had parked where I should not have. Lawyers would call it a vicarious offense! It is called karma by others.

Another lesson: Beware when traffic is normal, expect the worst. Drivers go berserk in Bengaluru.

1 comment:

VATSALA said...

Serendipity at its best. However, in the Indian pecking order the car is √°lways'at fault! next the motor bike never the pedestrian or the bus.
All's well that ends well.