I had a road mishap today – accident is hardly a word for it. Of course there have been some scrapes and even an episode of road rage once (by the party of the second part, not me) but this was the first time any visible damage was done to the car. On my way to work this morning, a scooter leaped without looking and knocked out what I thought at first was a light, but later found was the plastic cage the light is protected by. So this was my first experience of the Great Indian Crowd Trick. Even before I got out of the car there were people around it. Someone pointed out the fallen piece and gave me some masterful advice on the extent of damage it represented. And such was the authority with which he spoke that I actually wondered for a second if he had any. But it was merely a superior quality bystander.
Luckily, the mishap took place under the watchful eye of a traffic cop so the usual exchange of acrimonies was dispensed with, as was the tradition of extortion by the crowd. As soon as the plastic bit was rescued from under the wheels of a passing bus and dusted off, it was clear that nothing was wrong with it apart from the fact that it wasn’t attached to the car. It was found (by another bystander) to fit back into place quite easily. The attendant scratches just joined the hundred others that Bangalore’s traffic has already inflicted. (A mechanic said: “Bangalore after all, Madam, let’s wait until there’re a few more then we’ll do all together.”) So when the policeman asked me if I wanted to file a complaint, I looked at my watch and said no. The Greek chorus approved and told me why.
Interestingly, this happened right in the middle of Whitefield Bus Stand but I didn’t recognize a single person in the group! I think the policeman knew who I was, though – he seemed more than ordinarily relieved that I didn’t want to return to the ‘tation for paperwork, as if he knew I had just saved him a visit from my Dad baying for justice and blood.
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