Destiny. Tragic for the driver and ‘fortunate’ for us. It all began with that new car.
Roads were smooth like butter. There was a not a single pothole or a bump. They were gleaming with newly laid asphalt. Summer sun was shining bright and was draining life out of green Ashoka trees, lined on both sides of the road. Monsoon was far and heat showed no mercy. The car moved slowly through the wide roads, crossing Rashtrapati Bhavan, perched proudly atop Raisina Hill on the left and India gate on the right. She entered Lutyen’s Delhi with the confidence of a toddler, who had just started to walk, unaware that
she might fall, the very next step.
Sometime in the mid ‘80’s my parents thought of upgrading our car. We sold of our white Fiat Padmini and bought a new ash coloured shiny Maruti 800. She was a priced possession of my family. New in the
market, in vogue, in society. Maruti 800 was the beginning of a new era, it was the new hot favourite. She took people’s heart and market by storm eventually leading to the end of once famous and preferred, Fiat Padmini.
The car moved slowly from one road to another, gracefully curving on the round about, giving way to other cars. We were in no hurry, since we were not headed anywhere. We were out on a joy ride in our one
week old possession. The car turned towards right to enter one such round about in Lutyen’s Delhi. She was moving very slowly along the circle when a bike rider came from left and in a bid to overtake, bumped into
our new car. He and his bike fell with a huge thud on the road. His head along with his helmet hit the hard concrete asphalt.
We parked the car and got out to inspect the damage, to the car and to the rider. The left door on the passenger side had taken the brunt of the accident and was curved in because of high impact of the collision. The bike rider’s hand and back was badly bruised. He was bleeding. We took him to the hospital where necessary check-ups were done. His cuts and bruises were nursed. The new car with a new dent was
sent to the workshop.
On the dining table that day, each member of the family grieved in various proportions. We discussed and analysed whose fault it was and if it could have been prevented. We were very disheartened. A brand new car with a major accident was not a good omen. The solace was that none of us were hurt; even the bike rider didn’t get any major injuries.
Accidents happen. They can’t be explained, that’s why they are accidents.
A week went by with a heavy heart and then she came back. Brand new, shining in all it’s glory, she was a sight. I had to credit the mechanics for her new spotless appearance. They had done a
brilliant job. There was not a scratch or dent to remind us of the fateful accident.
The car was comfortably parked in her new abode, our bungalow’s garage. It was swept clean by our trusted house help, Kamal. He was the only member of the family who was not delighted about her return
as he had to vacate the garage and move indoors with all of us. The car could have been parked in the porch area but it was best to provide her a secluded space post the accident. The car was priority and
he knew it too well, even to debate it.
Family members couldn’t be trusted with driving anymore. Only two people, my father and my elder cousin had the skill. Even they were not trusted by my grandfather. Once beaten twice shy. A
driver was hired to take us around the city. He was selected on the basis of the years of driving experience he carried and his knowledge about handling the car. One of the selection criteria was that, female members of the family would use the car more frequently, so he should be able to tackle basic problems, in case of a breakdown.
Kaushal came into our family, heavily loaded with his experience and capabilities of fixing the car. Second day on his job, he was reversing the car out of the garage, on to the main road, when another
car collided into ours. Though the driver tried to control his car but still hit our’s with force.
Our house in Delhi sits pretty on the main road and witnesses traffic, moving in from both the directions. Traffic was sparse and not a problem in 80’s. In fact, you would barely spot a car every half an hour. It was difficult to fathom, how the accident happened with no traffic on the road. More so, when it was driven by an expert and not an amateur like any one of us.
Again, accidents happen. At times, there are no reasons. No explanations.
Dining room was super tensed that day. Meal was on every plate but none had any inclination to eat. Mood was sombre and grave. After all, our car was back in the workshop, getting the back door fixed, dent removed, worn out paint scrapped. Amidst the silence of souls and stillness of night, my grandfather,
suggested to sell the car.
Idea of selling our new car was not something we were expecting. We thought it would be a regular conversation about being careful and destiny’s role in the accident. It wasn’t. He was very serious about
selling the car as soon it was back from the workshop. My father unsuccessfully tried debating but my grandfather was in no mood to listen to any counter reasoning. He was certain that the car was not meant for us. She would always bring us bad luck, if we continue to keep her.
He had reasons, coincidence only happen once. If it has happened twice, it’s by design. Destiny did not want us to have that car; it was telling us to get rid of it. Universe gives you signs, it’s for us to listen or to ignore. Universe had been kind, all this time. None of the car passengers had been hurt in any of the accidents though the car got badly damaged in both the accidents. There was no telling that if it would continue like that, much worse could happen.
We sold the car as soon as she was back from the workshop. In total she was with us for little over one and half month, out of which she was in workshop for one month.
The car was bought by a Punjabi couple who used to travel between Chandigarh and Delhi. Their driver was supposed to pick the car and drive it down to Chandigarh. As planned, he collected the keys in the evening and drove away our freshly painted, beautiful Maruti 800. We stood on the terrace with heavy heart and sad eyes to bid her adieu, to admire her one last time. That evening was the last we saw her.
The very next day, early in the morning, the telephone rang. We were informed that the car had met with an accident with a loaded truck on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway. They were guessing, that in the darkness of night the driver couldn’t see the iron rods jutting out of the truck and he drove straight into it. Driver died on the spot as the iron rods pierced through his body and the car got damaged beyond repair.
It was a strange situation. On one side we were thanking god for saving all of us from such devastating tragedy and on the other we were extremely saddened for the driver and his family.
Accidents happen. Coincidences don’t happen more than once. Universe is always trying to communicate, you need to watch out for the signs. Tony Robbins once said, ‘It is in your moments decision that your destiny is shaped’. Had it not been for my grandfather’s decision to sell the car, perhaps it could have happened to any one of us.