Friday, June 13, 2008

An idiot's guide to deal with accidents in India

As I was scribbling a travelogue in my picturesque balcony here in Monterrey, like a bolt in the blue, I heard a loud thud followed by the screeching tyre sounds that typically emanates due to breaking. I was almost sure that there was a crash, I got up from the hammock to witness the scene. A man had ignored the stop signal and the speeding lady crossing the intersection had crashed into the other car's fenders. I thought there would be some loud mouthed conversations, if not those typical "Indian road fights". But the scene was quite tranquil, both the lady and the man walked out of the car, shook hands and called their respective insurance agencies. I presume the man had accepted his mistake of ignoring the stop signal. They then waited for the insurance field agents to attend them.

That made us start a conversation about how to handle accidents in India and here are some of the thumbrules, to be followed or atleast be aware of:
  • If you crash against an auto-rickshaw (three wheeled taxis), then no matter who crashed or how it was crashed, the auto-rickshaw driver is always right and you (unless you're a son of a cop or a minister) are always wrong. You'll be amazed by the crowd build up in such an accident, nobody knows what would have happened, but they support the auto-rickshaw driver for no good reason. Smart thing is to pay up and quit, rather than argue and get beaten up.
  • If you're driving a bike and bump against a car, the car guy is always wrong...why? Coz the dude in the car is richer and cooler; he can pay up. The whole scene will turn into a theatrical one with the bike guy acting as though his limb or hand is broken. Once the car guy pays and quits, automatically the bike guy becomes healthy and sees his way.
  • Never hit or get hit by a taxi, coz they drain the last rupee you have in your pocket.
  • Regionalism plays a major role in dealing with accidents. If a certain Vikram Singh or Pankaj Sharma is collided by a Senthil Muthusamy in Tamilnadu, no matter whose mistake it is, Senthil is gonna win. A certain Binoy Kutti or Hanumappa will be in similar trouble in Rajasthan if he gets crashed by a localite. It's not a bad idea to travel with a Tamilian in Tamilnadu or a Marwadi in Rajasthan, for them maybe of some help.
  • Religion is yet another factor. If a Hindu is hit by a speeding car in a Muslim area, in addition to the pain of the accident, he may have to bear the contempt and the fine to fix the car. The vice versa is true.
  • Local slangs, a loud mouth and acquaintance with cops would definitely help you to a certain extent to win.
  • Though rest of the world thinks that women in India are trampled socially, they're seen with utmost respect at an accident. The lady in India can collide her car head-on and almost kill a poor guy on motorcycle or the lady can blow off the fenders of brand new Mercedez or she has unquestioned authority to cause artistic scratches on any car just by grazing hermotorcycle. Why? That's the kind of respect the lady commands from the crowds which get magically accumulated after the accident. So my advice would be to stay away from ladies, atleast on road. Woman has the supreme authority which surmounts all other factors mentioned above.
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