Wednesday, October 24, 2018

24th December

Image result for road accident

24th December 2017 was a day that changed many a lives that I know of. I was in the middle of a nearly 3200 kilometre train journey from Assam to Kerala when I was informed that my uncle had met with a road accident. He was driving a car, returning from his new born grandson’s choroonu ceremony in Trichur, Kerala.

A retired space scientist from VSSC, he was my local guardian for seven years (2000-07) while I studied at Sainik School near the state capital, Trivandrum. He was amongst the fittest and intellectually sharpest septuagenarians that I know of. What was initially thought of as a minor accident turned fatal, as the extent of internal injuries, came to the fore in the days and months ahead. He succumbed to them after nearly seven months of intensive care in one of the most advanced hospitals in Kerala. By the time he had left the body, he was barely a shadow of the living great that he was.

His, wasn’t an isolated story.

As the quality of Indian roads improve and the capabilities of our vehicles rises, so does the rate of accidents and the number of avoidable and premature lives that are lost.

Recent death of renowned musician Balabhaskar and his two year old daughter had broken the hearts of lakhs in Kerala and beyond. This tragic accident was only one among three accidents reported in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper on that fateful day, just from the southern states. Sadly, there isn’t a day now, a road accident and associated deaths fail to find column space in our daily newspapers.

Today wasn’t any different either, as I shockingly read about an accident that happened in the outskirts of Bangalore. A speeding car had rammed into a two-wheeler on a flyover taking with it the lives of a 41 year old and his 12 year old son. The report went onto say that the father was taking his son who complained of headache to a nearby clinic. The crash was so impactful that the boy’s body got crushed and severed around the waist into two halves. He was a 6th standard student who only wanted his headache treated. As per the report, both the riders were without helmet and the car driver fled away from the scene.

A few weeks ago, I was witness to another fatal accident, this time on the access controlled peripheral expressway, NICE Road, connecting two ends of Bangalore. After taking the toll from Electronic City, I was speeding my way to Tumkur Road exit to attend to my next client meeting of the day on the other end of the city. A few miles down the road, traffic began to slow down and eventually came to a crawling stop. There had been an accident in the opposite carriageway. A speeding car had hit a scooter and the rider had died on the spot. A middle-aged looking man, wearing light blue denims and a stripped t-shirt, he was lying in a pool of blood with severe damages to his upper body & head. He was without a helmet.

I’m overcome by numbness when I come to think of these victims and those moments that mattered. I am sure I’ll never forget the face of a van driver whose body was pulled out from under an overturned van climbing down the Valparai hills on 1st January 2017. I will also never forget the man in denims & t-shirt who lay still on the NICE Road. And so many more.

Momentarily we bring down the speed of our vehicles and drive cautiously. Soon that moment passes and we all get back to the hurry-burry of our daily lives. Driving recklessly to that next stop. As if we are invincible. Thinking such an accident would never happen to us.

We need to change!!!

Bloomberg reported in January 2018 that there are nearly 150,000 yearly deaths related to road accidents in India, or 400 deaths every day.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Roads - The Beast Within

For a normal guy, the “aam-aadmi”, I’m a very frequent traveller. I relish every opportunity to pack my bag and go on a trip, be it for work or personal purposes or on a holiday. The road excites me always. It inspires me, gives me joy & tells me stories. Irrespective of the destination, I look forward to each journey for the time I get to spend on roads.

The thrill of speeding away on a highway, negotiating tough twists, turns & hairpins are as important to me as the scenic/cultural experiences and adventures at the eventual destination. It’s no secret that any riding enthusiast would love to test the power of the vehicle when cruising on a long highway. I feel most powerful, alive and in control of life when I’m in control of a vehicle that is zooming past others and cruising at high speeds. So in these conditions, how do we ensure that safety is integrated into the whole equation? How do we make sure one reaches the desired destination in one piece?

To understand this, I believe it’s firstly important to list down the major concerns & dangers constantly faced by drivers/riders on Indian highways & city lanes.
  •  Lack of lane discipline - One of the biggest challenges on Indian roads is the undisciplined jumping from one lane to the other, often without any indication. This holds true even in heavily congested city roads. This is not only dangerous to self & co-motorists, but also contributes heavily to traffic congestions in cities.  This is especially dangerous when an overtaking manoeuvre is performed through the left side of a vehicle. This is the cause of numerous accidents, and sadly, the Indian driver never learns.
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road - This one is especially truer in Tier – II, III cities and smaller towns apart from highways. While on a highway, how many times have you noticed a two-wheeler/tractor/mini trucks/cars/rikshaw driving on the wrong side of the road to save a few minutes/meters instead of using the appropriate U-turns?    
  • Unprotected highways – couple of years ago, one night while traveling by car in the Surat – Baroda stretch of NH 8, I saw a black cow lying dead in the middle of the road. It must’ve been crossing the road and must’ve been hit by a heavy truck, the driver of which may not have spotted the black animal crossing road in the dark night. Most sections of Indian highways pass through fields and a simple barbed wire fencing on both sides of the road is all it takes to prevent such avoidable incidents.
  •  Relentless use of high beams - a good percentage of high impact accidents on road happens as a result of driver being temporarily blinded by extra bright headlights from the vehicles on opposite side. How much effort does it really take to dim your light while on road. I believe it is high time manufacturers included automated systems on all vehicles to dim the headlight upon sensing vehicles approaching at an appropriate distance from the opposite direction. 

The list is non exhaustive and the idea behind this post is not to list out the existing challenges and problems, rather to share my suggestions to enhance safety on Indian roads. Many of these are well known to all, but out of stubbornness and “I-can-do-no-wrong” feeling, they are just plainly ignored. So this post is a way to reiterate these points again and again and again until they are registered as critically important in every driver’s minds.
  • Wear a seat belt/helmet, always! This is applicable not only to the driver, but all passengers.
  • Never ever drink & drive. You might feel invincible & awesome for a moment, but NO!!
  • Give proper indication prior to any manoeuvre, be it taking a turn, an exit or overtaking another vehicle. Use your lights & indicators intelligently to convey a message.
  • Maintain your vehicle in good condition. Go in for timely services. Ensure your brakes, lights, indicators, wipers, horn and everything else are in proper working condition.
  • And for god’s sake, please use the dimmer appropriately while driving in the night. This ignorance kills.
  • Calls, Whatsapp & Facebook can wait. Keep your phone away while driving.
  • “Taking a leap of faith” is a good topic if you are an inspirational speaker. But while on road, be 101% certain before attempting anything. Be careful, always!
  •  Respect the pedestrian & respect the road.
As Gandhiji once very famously said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”; take pledge to never go on the wrong side of the road or make an improper exit or pass on through the left side. Follow the basic rules of road and be a good example for your kids & juniors to watch & learn.

Every one of us has bare minimum common sense and knows the basic rules & regulations to be followed, but many of us lazily ignores most of them. We follow rules only on strict police monitoring to avoid paying a penalty. Why don’t we realize that life is worst penalty we will have to pay for our ignorance?  We have all witnessed a big accident on road at least once. We all read about them every day on papers. Yet while on road, many of us deem these regulations pointless and a few unlucky ones pay the price for this ignorance every day. 

…be the change you wish to see in world…
…be compassionate to your fellow motorists & pedestrians, for its not always you who pay the price for your ignorance…
… follow the basic rules & enjoy the road …

A big shout out to the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF), organizing road safety campaigns nationwide. This year alone, their initiative have reached 2 lakh drivers across the country spreading the message of road safety. As a passionate rider, I recognize that Safety begins with ME and support Nissan wholly in their initiatives. Let us join hands with Nissan and spread the message that road safety is each and every driver’s responsibility and your one unfortunate ignorance/mistake could lead to loss of lives.

Happy & Safe driving

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Page from the Rajasthan Dairy!!

A slow moving desert delight with a hump in its camel.
The rhythmic bumpy strides of a camel is one thing you should try at least once in a life. I took my chance during my visit to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. In the picture, two locals on their camels in the Great Indian Desert, the Thar!
I hope you like these pictures, give me your feedbacks. Link to my Facebook album -C.l.i.c.k.e.D

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Abandoned! A bundle, a bag, an axe, two beedi’s and two human souls.
When I clicked the above picture, little did I know that I would speak to those two, a few seconds later. They conveyed the following story, in part hindi and part gujarati.
“They had cooked Roti for the man in the Rickshaw for years & now the man had abandoned these two in the highway claiming that they had stolen some money. They showed me a Rs.100 note, which he said the man in the rikshaw had given them for their survival. On my question of what the bundle in the lady’s shoulder contained, I was told, the bundle contained all that they possessed. The man turned philosophical when he said, “We come here empty handed, so do we leave”.”
Possessions of a lifetime in a bundle. Can you imagine yourself being in a similar state? Pray! You are Fortunate.
I hope you like these pictures, give me your feedbacks. Link to my Facebook album -C.l.i.c.k.e.D

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eclipse, A Spectacle!

Lunar Eclipse, a Celestial Magic, a True Spectacle!
Sadly, I couldn’t capture better and more photos of the event.
I hope you like these pictures, give me your feedbacks. Link to my Facebook album - C.l.i.c.k.e.D

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finding the Feet

If the ball pitches short of length, you will need to rock back onto the back-foot to adjust to the bounce. If it is pitched full, you move your feet to the pitch of the ball to place it in the gap precisely. If it’s on middle and off, you shuffle your front foot across to play the ball into the midwicket region in leg side. If it is a spinner tossing up the ball, you might judiciously jump out of the crease to the pitch of the ball and loft it over the infield. The longevity of a batsman’s career at helm depends on how well he moves his feet to counter the fearsome balls thrown at him, but it’s not just the life of a cricketer that depends on the rule of finding your feet.

The story is similar for every one of us who ventures into a new thing or another almost every next moment. It might be a gadget that you just brought, a course you just opted for, a new person you just met up with, a relationship that you’ve just entered into or a new job you just got appointed for.

Just like the T-20, ODI& Test variants of the game, the above mentioned moments also classifies itself into various kinds, based on the significance and influence those events are bound to make to your life and into your foreseeable future. Some of them are like the normal T-20’s were you don’t waste time trying to find your feet, rather just go after the bowlers from the word ‘Go!’. You just go by trusting your instinct or hunch were in you might succeed or may even lose, but who cares, it’s just a T-20 and not the end of times. Then there are others like the 50 overs a side ODI matches, were you can’t afford to throw it away right at the start. Again, you wouldn’t want to waste a hell lot of time finding your feet, because then you’ll be lagging behind your mates with the task at hand.

Then comes the very random, occasional opportunities or events like a test match, were you are completely new to the situation and have a lot of time to compromise and be content with. The successful ones here are those people who accumulate the crease the longest, survive the most, for which you have to find your feet and get it moving exactly at the right times. First days of a job is one of those big opportunities and I am now padding up for that big test of mine. The conditions are totally unlike anything that I’ve seen ever before. It’s a challenge, but also an opportunity.

Many of the so called big problems in life may seem gigantic to many of us, but in fact it’s just a matter of finding the feet, changing our attitudes or perspectives of how we look at it. Picture them as challenges like seeing off the new ball in a test match and it is surely going to be an interesting chapter of our lives, which we are bound to come over with valuable investments of our time and our efforts.

Friday, April 29, 2011

~CoLoUrS~ A Photo-Exhibition.

… Colours when portrayed in the right proportions has a magical effect in soothing your eyes…

… here is an exhibition of random snaps clicked by a friend of mine, Shiva Krishnan. This is only a tip of the ice; catch the complete collection in his facebook album “CoLoUrS... My PhOtogRApHiCaL JoUrNeY”. Leave a comment to describe how you liked the pictures. Add on this guy in facebook for more of his photographs later on

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24th December

24 th December 2017 was a day that changed many a lives that I know of. I was in the middle of a nearly 3200 kilometre train journ...