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Saturday, December 13, 2014

:)For A Change, Follow D Rules:)

    This blog post is a part of NSDF (Nissan Safety Driving forum) contest. NSDF is a nation wide road safety campaign with the concept of SAFETY BEGINS WITH ME. Nissan says that road safety is a responsibility of all vehicle drivers and should not be taken leniently by anyone. Road safety is not only about taking care of one's own self but also a responsibility towards all others we are sharing the road with and also pedestrians.
The NSDF began in 2012. Today its influence is of course, all over India but mainly covers eleven cities:New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi and two lakh people. Hats off to Nissan for spreading this message of road safety. It emphasizes on wearing seatbelts!!!
We sometimes blame many factors like other people, and government, for the accidents that happen on the roads. We need to realize that unless and until we begin the safety drive from ourselves there shan't be any order...if we do not understand this simple thing Nissan is putting forth, "Safety begins with me!" than even roads that can accommodate eight cars in a row shall have accidents!!! Here's a story that makes us aware of this grave issue of road safety...

Navin glanced at his all new car. In that month, Navin had got a lot of new things….a new TV. A new washing machine! A new and better job! And an all new smartphone! His name, Navin in itself was a new name he had kept for himself which also meant new! It had proven lucky for him…ever since he had kept this name for himself, he was getting everything new.
He pulled open the door for his sister, Prachi. Quickly he sat on his seat and headed for his parents’ home, to show his all new car to them! However, he was a driver who never followed any rules. And drove his car recklessly!
 He turned right and entered a narrow road. Seeing an empty road, he changed the gear and dashed forward. At a sharp right turn, that he was quite well aware of, he suddenly turned. First it was a swissssshhhh…and then a dhum…
Oh god! Navin exclaimed. Prachi got down and was agitated at what she saw and barked back at Navin, “What did you do???
A few minutes earlier, Ravi had just unlocked his gear cycle and left from school. He was heading straight when he collided with an SUV that came into his way, from behind all of a sudden.
Now he was lying under his cycle and a huge crowd had gathered around him. Ravi was a young boy. Navin began scolding him. What you young kids? Don’t you know you should see and then take a turn!
“Hell! I was not taking a turn you dumb fool. It was you who tore into me.” Ravi was just thinking all this in his mind. He was in no shape to even move, let alone talk. If his cycle had not wounded his leg, Navin would have by now been crouching with pain...no matter where!
Navin’s car had been on the left hand side, and he had taken a right without seeing Ravi’s cycle right beside him. The crowd had dispersed….anyways it was no crowd at all just three or four people who now had better work to do than fall into local issues.
Navin was angry and was clenching his fists while Prachi had already been asking the boy where he lived. Reluctantly, Ravi told her but did not take her help. Prachi had tied his leg with a napkin to stop the bleeding but Navin was furious and revved the engine of his car.
You should have been careful! No matter what.
“Careful? How could I have avoided this! That stupid boy was riding so damn slowly…how could I have taken a right?”
But at least he was on the left side. He had to go straight! You should have been on the right if you knew you had to take a turn!
“Ok! So now you will teach me? You are nineteen so why don’t you drive the car. We are still only halfway through.”
Prachi did not respond.
“Afraid, are we?”
No way! Park the car on the left.” Navin gave a wry smile and screeched to a halt. Almost again, banging into an old lady! The lady, surprised, looked back and continued on her way.
Prachi sat in the driving seat and put on her seat-belt. “Safety begins with me...
Navin continued without his seat-belt. Prachi said, with a tone usually used by Principals to scare children in Assemblies, “When you drive, I have all your bakwaas and listen to all you say. Now it’s my turn.” Navin was bewildered.  “Just put on your seat-belts!” She said a bit louder. Like a “good” boy Navin did as his sister told him to.
“Rule no. 1. Never ever go faster than 30 kmph on these narrow roads!
“Now what’s this madame?”
Just listen. Do not ask. It wasn’t Prachi. Her eyes said it all.
‘Ajeeb daastaan hain ye…kahaan shuru kahaan khatam…’
“Pick up your phone Prachi!”
I can’t. Pick it up.” 
Navin asked, “Why???”
Because I am driving, you nut!”
“So what? I always talk on the phone when I am driving!”
But you shouldn’t. You don’t even follow the traffic rules??? You know what, you do not deserve this car.
Navin gave her an annoyed look and picked up her phone. “Yes Mom. We are on the way!”
The voice on the other end said, “Hey why are you talking while driving! Chalo. Keep the phone down.”
“No. I am not driving. Prachi is!” Mom giggled and kept down her phone.
“Now there is a left ahead. After the signal!”
I know the road. And rule number 2...” She said as she moved to the left. Be on the left if you are taking a left. She added, “And also let the one behind you know.  A green arrow pointing to the left began glowing in front of Navin.
Navin had never done any of these. He had driven since eight years, but now he was actually being taught by his younger sister, who had not even driven for a year!
She took a slow left and kept a constant watch on who is coming from ahead.
Rule three…
Navin completed, folding his hands… “Drive slowly while taking a turn and watch who’s coming, meri maa!”
Prachi teased him with a smile, “You are learning kiddo!
Very funny! Navin did not word it out this time.
Now they had reached a massive junction which was just a few hundred meters away from their parents’ house. Prachi, for the first time in the half an hour went above the forty kmph mark…
She took the final turn that was usually empty at most of the time and said sharply, “And number four. Don’t go nuts when you see an empty road. Maintain your speed. This is no expressway and neither is it a race. These are city roads. We gotta go slow. Anyone at any point of time can come in our road. So be careful.”
Navin was still wondering what he was doing. His sister, 6 years younger to him was giving him driving lessons while he was just sitting.
Out of the blue, Prachi screeched to a halt. Oh gosh!
“What happened? I want to relieve myself. Why did you stop? Let’s get there quickly!” Navin said uncomfortably.
“I forgot Mom’s salwar. It is with the tailor.”
“But the tailor is way beyond the signal and it is jam-packed with cars. We can’t take a U-turn now!” Navin was already restless and after knowing that they were almost about to take a U-turn, he said, “Ok I will go. You can come back walking!”
He quickly got off and waved her good bye.
Remember the rules bro. Prachi said and left.
Navin glanced at her as she went and grinned. He put on the radio. He did not wear his seatbelt.  Clearly, he had erased everything from his memory. Now he was headed towards his home…he changed the gear and now was at 55 kmph.
Although, he was not wanting to follow anything Prachi had said, he was on the right. He knew he had to take a right and did not want to bang into anyone again.
Pop.
It was a notification. He removed his left hand off the steering wheel to get hold of his phone. He gripped his phone with four fingers, and with his thumb he opened the notification window. But a Moment before doing so, in a single glance, he saw that his parents had arrived there with his younger brother, Jay who had just turned sixteen.
He continued staring at his phone and then a vehicle sped by…with a jerk Navin turned right immediately. He didn’t know why. The bike had almost tripped behind him, but managed to balance itself.
While looking at his notification, he had not noticed that the car had slightly shifted to the left. This had caused the bike to edge towards the car…and Navin instantly had reacted.
Now, he was sitting head against the steering wheel, which was now throbbing a little, with pain. The mobile was now lying under his feet.
But something even severe had happened outside. The brand new SUV had crashed into a wall. Headlights broken and engine switched off. Navin looked behind to see if anyone was hurt. He could see his Mom and Dad worried and startled. A lot! They were running towards the car. Navin thought they were checking if he was fine, but he was wrong.
When he got down the car, he saw a face. A stunned one and totally in pain, but familiar! Just one name flashed before his eyes…which instantly filled him with agony, fright and horror. Jay.
The parents did not know whose car had hurt their son. The next Moment, the mother realised it was her eldest son, she got up and slapped Navin. Navin deserved the slap and he knew why, so he said, in a way to compensate for his mistake,, “Quickly take Jay in the car. He needs to be rushed to the hospital.”
Thank you.” Prachi said from behind. The tailors shop was closed, and Prachi had seen everything. She fled as soon as she had seen his car banging into the building wall.
Jay was taken to the hospital and they were told that he was fine and there was nothing to worry about. It was a minor injury.
No one had talked to Navin ever since all this had happened. But nevertheless they had forgiven him. Navin sat back in his all new SUV with Jay beside him and the rest at the back. Navin looked at Jay. Jay had a smile on his face which said, “I am absolutely fine. Not your fault.”
Navin’s head was bent with shame, but his eyes had not shifted from the road ahead him.
                                                                 driven by-
                                                                                   Shahen Pardiwala
                                  ©Shahen Pardiwala. All Rights Reserved.


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