Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Speed Thrills!

"Wooooo!!" Mahati heard her friend who was riding pillion on the motorbike that whizzed past their scooter. "Shit, shit, shit!!" she also heard her friend on another scooter who was already throttling at maximum after regretting slowing down. Just as she was being nudged by her pillion on the scooter, "Cmon, accelerate, go after them," another friend on a 250 cc motorbike overtook all the three bikes in the front. All the friends were enjoying themselves. They were all returning from a weekend party organised in a pub in a swank locality in the city. The pub was one of the few places in the city that was open till late in the night. They stopped while returning at a restaurant famous for its Biryani which also stays open late into the night.

Mahati and another friend who were sober took driving charges. They were well in the speed limits when a policeman stopped the group. The sober ones did the talking. The high ones did the acting. They convinced the policeman that they came to have food and went into the restaurant realising that they really were hungry after the dancing and a lot of dehydration. They were energetically charged and still high. The sober ones took to riding scooters, not realising the huge mistake they made, that is to give 250 cc motorbikes to drunken drivers, when they could instead be given 110 cc scooters. It all started when one scooter and started a fun race with a motorbike. Mahati was in the front, oblivious to anything happening behind her when the race intensified and people sped past.

On the last bike, the drunk guy and his even more drunk pillion were humiliated being in the very end, that too possessing such a motorbike. They decided to show who the boss was. As they sped past Mahati to overtake others and lead the race, she could only see them as a blur, a streak of black and red in the bottom and bright colours on the top. Fourteen kilometers were covered in a matter of ten minutes. The road was narrow and unimportant in the peak of the day. So the police never bothered about it, even in the night. The signpost bearing the speed limit only stood there as a mute spectator, as an unwanted piece of scrap, as if it did not belong to that place. The non functional CCTV camera stood there, like a scarecrow, hopelessly trying to control a few who respected its presence.

The road gave no room for them to overtake, so they decided to take the 'royal' route. They found a gap in the median and jumped into the opposite lane, easily speeding past the rest of their friends, booing them, booing their scooter and a mediocre 180 cc motorbike. The function of a vehicle is no longer easy transportation. It is the style and the looks (added to the Indian obsession of mileage). Just as they found another gap in the median so as to enter the race track, a truck came into view from the curve onto the road. The 250 cc motorbike's brakes were good enough for the price spent on it. The tires were as good as they are being advertised during cricket matches on TV. The sudden brake resulted in a wheelie by the 250 cc motorbike and overjoyed by this achievement, the biker shifted to the race track and sped away, winning the race, justifying the bike.

Mahati was not happy. She just spent time alone. She stopped talking to her friends. They did not bother. They had important things like Johnny Walker to deal with right then. They all slept through the day. They were all too preoccupied to read the morning newspaper which read, ".....................The fatal accident occurred when the car driver had no time to apply brakes when the truck stopped abruptly, because of a rash motorist breaking rules."