An Expressway to Death

Srishti Sharma

- Srishti Sharma

And, in Mumbai lived this busy man, along with his wife and two kids, dreaming big. He hardly remembered his mother, planning career moves, thinking money.

That fateful day, the dramatic action happened in this sequence:

In the island city, the son waking up in the morning. Kissing his kids.

Whereas, same time, in the suburbs the mother waking up. Picking up a photo of her son and kissing it. Also, a slight smile on her face, thinking about him.

The son prepares the breakfast for himself.

The mother remembers the breakfast he loved and how lovingly she cooked for him. (In the process of packing (Besan ke ladoo).

The son gets ready, trying hard to match the correct tie with the shirt.

The mother remembers his favorite grey colored tie with a crisp white shirt and a well-fitted trouser. (Packing up his favorite set of shirt, pant and a tie to gift him)

The son leaves for the office bidding bye to his family.

And the mother leaves from her home to meet her beloved son.

What happens next is hard to believe.

Throughout the journey she was remembering her son’s childhood. How they used to go on a long drive back in the 90s. What fun it used to be, driving on roads where there were hardly any cars. Yes, people did follow rules. The road meant for ‘driving’ was actually being used for that purpose.  Those golden days had a different charm. She was checking her bag constantly just to make sure whether she has kept those ladoos for her son. His favorite set of a tie, shirt and a pant which she had selected very meticulously and patiently. She was in such a great mood because it was after so long had she finally become gutsy and after a little effort did she finally get a cab booked and she started her surprise journey towards her son’s home. It was a four-hour drive but alas! The car stopped with a sudden jerk and the mother had to wake up from her beautiful world of the past. She asked the chauffeur, what’s wrong? Is there something wrong with the engine or the wheels? What’s the matter? The driver coolly explained-no madam, this is a normal traffic, don’t worry. It’s just a matter of half an hour and we will swiftly move ahead, after this square. The mother tried to relax herself, wiping incessant sweat even in an AC cab. Because, it was for the very first time meeting him, in years. From the time her son got married, she had never moved out and before that she was busy in the household chores.  But, like other commuters, she was getting very impatient with the slow traffic. Her worried eyes seemed to search for something. She wanted to open the window but the driver suddenly stopped her as there was air conditioner on. She was breathing heavily due to the asthma. She then inserted a pump and tried to distract. Slowly and gradually, the cars were moving ahead. The driver played soft music to pacify her mind and tried to relax her with small talk. She closed her eyes and for a few minutes, was in a deep sleep. The traffic was moving at a snail pace. And, there was a sudden loud honking of horns behind their cab which roused the lady. She again got petrified and started looking out of the window with a gasp. She couldn’t resist herself and finally opened the door and let herself out, as if there was some emergency. The driver started yelling at her, “Madam, please get in we have to keep on moving the car as the traffic has begun moving.” She didn’t listen to him. She kept on asking the people around her, knocking at their windows, would they mind telling her what’s wrong and no one paid heed, as some were glued to loud music and a few others in their smart phones. And, then the driver had to let her inside to move the car forward in the grid. She somehow sat down again. And the car started moving ahead. She was keen to know the reason of this delay, though, for the others it was a normal traffic jam in which they have to spend at least half an hour or an hour minimum. She was after the driver, urging him to drive the car as fast as he could. As she had to reach her son’s place so that she could throw a surprise to him and his wife and kids.  The driver was pacifying her by saying that he cannot increase his speed as they would get caught by the police. It was hard for her to understand this logic. He pulled out a CD which had all the audios of Road Safety which he had saved as he had lost his brother due to a terrible road accident, when his brother was attending a call, while simultaneously driving. Hence, it was a big lesson for him and he tried his very best in collecting the best of ‘Road Safety’ measures and ‘Tips on how to drive safely’ in order to save his passengers’ life. He halted the car, took it to the corner, pulled out the CD, inserted and played it with a message to the lady ‘Madam, I am paying a heavy price, even though my brother was the only one driving the bike, but he got killed because he was not following the safety rules propagated by the government through social media and other media platforms. First for not wearing the helmet and then, talking on the phone while riding. I vowed from then, I would help as many people as possible by spreading the word ‘Drive Safe, Be safe, Ro safe ‘. Relax for a while, have a sip of water and just listen to what I play. I rest my case in your hands madam. She was quite when the whole dialogue was being said by the rather clever driver. He played the CD thinking it would be of a great effect. But, the driver was wrong. As the lady got alert by listening to the audio. But, again she started hurrying him up because she believed that God is everywhere and god will save her from any untoward accident. Meanwhile, the lady received a call from her friend, that was the only time when the lady was quiet for a total of five minutes where she and her friend where discussing about an accident which occurred only a day ago. They were talking very casually about today’s youngsters and how they are indeed so careless as they go clubbing and come back home drinking and on the top of it (in majority of cases) driving. And, some superstars do the same and get bailed out because they are filthy rich. But, what about the person’s family whom they lose in the accident? Madam tried to bring her to normal and confidently uttered ‘No, my boy doesn’t drink. Leave alone drink and drive’. Her friend said ‘God bless you’. We will talk later. And then again began her hurrying ‘’Driver, please be fast. I am bored all the while sitting inside the car. Don’t worry; just for today, drive fast, as there is no one on the road and god is with us. Nothing will happen; all is good, drive quickly. And in that hurry for the next two seconds he forgot everything and rushed the car and jumped a traffic signal. There was an SUV coming from the other side which accidentally hit the cab and the owner of the SUV who was also driving escaped. There were severe injuries to the driver and the mother. They were left on the road for many hours. In the morning, some good civilians took them to the hospital and they were declared dead on arrival. Meanwhile, the son took the morning newspaper in his hands and read the news of a lady and a driver dying due to an accident and he was slowly remembering the route through which he returned back home. He received a call from the police. His hands were shivering, he picked up the call and the police informed him he needs to come to the mortuary as his mother was killed due to a terrible road accident. And he visited and soon after arrested. And he was cursing himself throughout.

So my dear people, God cannot help you for all the wrong reasons.

‘Drive Safe, Be Safe and Ro Safe.’

Preach and practice.

If we can’t be soldiers, we can at least be road safety preachers.

Let’s join our hands and collectively help the government’s initiative and make our country a better place to live in.

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