10. Missing car wheel cap
Hit but no Run - Half asleep at the wheel and reflexes slowed
This happened in Nov 2016 when I was just reaching the notorious Silk board traffic signal from the Koramangala inner ring road in Bengaluru. Suddenly, my car was hit hard from the right, so hard that my laptop bag, purse, tablet and smartphone were thrown helter skelter from the seat. Fortunately, I had my seat belt on.
Shocked at who did that, I thought of noting down the number of the car, and take a photo before the driver ran away, doing a ‘hit and run’. I thought the car must have been badly damaged, given the force of the impact. I had been in minor accidents in 10 years but this was the hardest I had been hit. All my plans for the day flew out of my mind.
The equally shell shocked car driver and passenger did not budge and remained in the car. Typically, in Bengaluru, the offender comes out and starts shouting at the one he has hit.
I searched under the seat and found my smartphone in a corner. I took a photo of the offending car and the damage to my car, which was localized but a bit deep. I called the driver and passenger out of their car. The driver looked half asleep, perhaps he had just woken up and was recovering from a boozing session the previous night. Numbed reflexes could have been the reason for not braking. I took their photo too. The driver looked like a North Indian and the passenger was an alert wide awake local. They were both working for one of the world’s largest, well known multi-national bank.
I asked them to pay for the repairs. Arguments ensued of where to get the repairs done, and whose fault it was. Due to continued casual ‘masti’ by those two, I was left with no option but to call the traffic policeman nearby and take them to the Madiwala police station 100 meters away.
The localite passenger misinformed the policeman in Kannada that “She is saying repairs will cost Rs 25,000 whereas my mechanic will repair for a few thousand only”. Only because I knew Kannada, I could immediately catch him and told the policeman I had said no such thing, as I did not know the estimate of repairs unless I asked in a garage.
The driver said “It should be mutual”. I said “It was not mutual. I did not want to or ask to be hit by your car. I was headed somewhere”.
Finally, the car was left at their mechanic for repairs. On collecting the car after repairs, I found a wheel cap missing and the petrol tank empty which cost me a few thousand Rupees anyway, for no fault of mine. I suspect the mischievous driver and his colleague had stolen the cap, as they live near the garage.
It has been 3 months but I am still trying to get ONE wheel cap, instead of paying for a set of four. I was okay to get a used cap from garages but no luck!
Update: I visited my regular car garage run by a sincere owner, Sreenivas. He quietly vanished into the back of the garage, reappeared with a wheel cap of the right size, and fixed it in a jiffy. He refused payment saying "let it be, it was lying in the garage anyway". What would he do with one wheel cap, he would have thought. The cap looks a little different from the other three, but I am happy to get one wheel cap.
Author: Rekha Chandulal