Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The day I realized the need to follow safe road practices (A blog by Winner 1 of Expressia)

The day I realized the need to follow safe road practices
- MADHUMITA

It all happened too quick for me to even realize and construe. All I heard was a loud, deafening crash followed by screams for help and wailing cries of distress and pain. Then suddenly a slew of blurry images appeared before my eyes...they were arranged in a carousel like fashion and moved in front of my eyes. Each of these images, became clearer as they came nearer and nearer to my eyes.. And after seeing one of those brutally gruesome images, I realized that I had mowed down an entire family, right there...in the middle of the road. There were people running across from all directions screaming and cursing at me, but I was too drunk to even comprehend what had happened. I knew there was no escape...they say that sometimes your life comes to a halt and it takes just one second to completely turn it around.. That was pretty much how I felt that night.......

Before I move forward, let me give you a little background...
Being the only daughter of two super conventional parents, I was always pretty reckless (Only outside of home, obviously). My parents were...umm... for the lack of a better word...super stuck up (I am sorry, euphemisms are not really my thing!) Yes, I know I sound mean but the truth remains the same. I was raised to believe that to touch alcohol is a sin. I was always asked to behave , talk and dress a certain way because I am a girl belonging to a very respected family. If I ever made a mistake, the instant reaction of my parents would be to cover it up rather than help me out of the situation, because they did not want the family name to be ruined. All this led me to do exactly the opposite of what I was told (discreetly , of course). At age 21, my biggest dream was to go to Bangalore and party at Skyye Bar. Because someone had told me that it was a place too hip and was situated on the sixteenth floor of UB city, from where you could spot Vijay Mallya’s helipad. These things will obviously fantasize the hell out of a 21 year old wannabe rebel-in-the-making hailing from a city where hanging out at Café coffee day was considered the coolest. But unfortunately enough, I had strict curfews while staying in my hometown, so the probability of getting myself to a bar in Bangalore was near to none. Hence, I decided to make the best of what I had. During my last semester, I got into drinking. I used to lie to my parents that I was held up because of project work and drink all day with my friends. And, since I was the only one with a car, I used to drop off all my friends unmindful of how drunk I was.

I still remember that day. It was one of my friend’s birthday and we had all decided to get some drinks and go for a drive. I, as usual, lied to my parents about going to college . But in reality, we were at least a hundred kms away from my college, having lost our way and hearts to the stunningly scenic roads en route the Ooty hills. Naturally, we were so enthralled with the place and to combine that with alcohol, we lost track of time. I did not realize until I saw my mum’s phone call. I started freaking out and checked the time. It was already 7 pm- one hour past my curfew. It was a miracle that my parents had called me an hour past my curfew time. I quickly got my friends to pack everything and revved up my engine and hurtled right towards the city.

Meanwhile my parents were frantically calling me. I couldn’t ignore their calls for that would only make matters worse. So I decided to pick the call. From the minute I picked up, I could only hear my mom screaming accompanied by my dad screaming behind her. They were not even willing to listen to me. I promised them that I would reach home in half an hour. There was no way in hell I was going to make home in time. My mum called me exactly 29 minutes since her last call. This time she yelled with twenty times the intensity.” You told me you were 5 kms away when I last spoke. There is no way you could be taking so much time! Do not lie to us...”and it continued. I was too hammered to talk sense. So you know what the precocious-drunk-me did? When you are a South Indian and your parents are mad at you, just throw some random, unrelated facts of science or math to show their money’s worth. It is just to reassure them of a good ROI and also to prove that you have not fully failed them. MOMMMM! Stop hyperventilating...Will you? I screamed.. Don’t do this math to me. Do you know the Heisenberg uncertainty principle? It says you cannot determine a particle’s velocity and position accurately at the same time, even theoretically. Did you listen to that Ma? Even theoretically ...You know in reality, factors like traffic, alcohol(I wanted to say but...) ,deranged drivers (Like me) are the reason for the delay. So will you please calm down and let me drive (Meanwhile I was already on a road rage)If set A was my dad being super mad and Set B was my mom being super mad, the probability of me getting screwed was P(AᴒB)=1, nothing less. I was getting super paranoid about going home that I did not even realize how crazy I was driving. There was a family of three in a scooter too close than I had anticipated. I almost knocked them down and the shock made the guy lose his balance. However he regained composure and started hysterically yelling and following me. I looked through my rear view and to my utter shock there were around ten people yelling at me to stop my car. I pressed my accelerator as much as I could...however one guy managed to get ahead of me and blocked my way by scooting right in front of my car. They all started yelling and cursing me and thankfully I had the sense to not open my mouth as I was drunk and that could have gotten me into a bigger mess. I faked an apology and got into my car cursing those “poor losers”. Finally I reached home two hours later. And as for my parents’ reaction...Lets not even get there. That night still gives me PTSD.

Fast forward to ten years and suddenly one night , I dream about that same family being mowed down by me. They say that dreams are an extension of your subconscious. I don’t know why or what made me dream about something that happened years ago and which, honestly speaking did not have much of an impact on me until that night. Probably it stayed in my subconscious all this while. Probably God decided to pardon me a little that night. And after all these years, He decided to take it all on me...at once. Although it is the most horrifically vivid dream I have ever encountered , I thanked all my lucky stars that nothing of that sort actually happened. It is a wonder that I am not dead or in prison today, considering the number of times I have put myself and others’ lives in danger. However, I am happy that I have come a long way from what I used to be...And I am happier that this realization occurred naturally without the need for something horrific to have happened.
As an end note, I am sure that many young adults must have gone through or are still going through the same issues as I did. Not everybody might get as lucky as I got to be. An advice to all the parents and future parents- Forced abstinence is never the solution. Be a friend more than a parent to your children. Tell them it’s okay to drink and have fun provided they know where to draw the line. Teach them to call you or a cab whenever

they drink. Make them believe that their parents should be the first ones they should reach out to in case they get into any mess. Children make mistakes, your job as parents is not to stop them from making mistakes... rather it is to make them learn from their mistakes. And finally , teach them that ITS NEVER COOL TO DRINK AND DRIVE.

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A Blog by Winner 1 of Expressia