The old man strereotyped us because we were young and said we were rash drivers

Old man on Bengaluru road blames youngsters for his rash driving and everyone believed him
Blog Friday, July 01, 2016 - 15:19

By Noopur Shalini

I am so heartbroken today. Just when I think I should have faith in humanity and our Constitution, someone makes me realize I am taking the wrong way.

We were on Old Madras Road in heavy traffic in our i20 car and were trying to take a left turn (our indicator was already blinking). But an elderly man drove up along our left side to take a right turn. Since there was a lot of traffic in front, he suddenly applied the brakes, causing us also to brake suddenly.

He got out of the car and started shouting at us without paying any heed to the traffic, blaming us “youngsters” for rash driving. We requested him to take his car to the side of the road because it was holding up traffic, so that we could talk and sort out the issue. He tried to get inside our vehicle, and meanwhile a bus collided with our vehicle so badly that our car fender was badly damaged on the left side. We told him that the chaos he created caused loss to both parties.

But he took us to Indiranagar Police Station and said he would punish us, file cases against us for what we had done. We apologized a 100 times, explained to him many times that he overtook us from the left when we were about to take the turn. But for everything, he said he was an older person and that we were nobody to say that he was wrong about anything.

All my life, I’ve been taught that rules are rules. Traffic rules are for everyone, whether someone is young or old.

At the police station, a policeman said both of us were at fault, and asked us to mutually sort it out as both vehicles were damaged. But the older man insisted on lodging a complaint, repeatedly saying that we are youngsters and rash drivers. He also made comments on our character. The policeman then asked us to go to the traffic police station and lodge a complaint.

Meanwhile, the old man punctured our vehicle without our realising it. When we started the car to go to the traffic police station, we realised what had happened. We approached the same policeman and told him what happened, he helped us fix our car, for which I am very obliged to him.

We reached the traffic police station a little late, and by the time we got there, the old man had left. But we learned that he had manipulated the police, and wrote in his complaint that we didn’t turn up because we were at fault. He also said that we tried to hide our identity, which is completely false because when he asked our names and what we did, we told him without any fear as we knew we were not wrong.

The traffic inspector (I don’t know his name) too spoke to us rudely and wasn’t ready to hear our story. He told us to write a complaint and let the court decide. We told him that the old man overtook us from the left to a right turn but the cop shouted at us: “No one follows traffic rules in Bangalore. Don’t teach me these things. Pay him the amount and settle this.”

So basically, if everyone breaks traffic rules, we can’t tell people to follow rules? Seriously?

I wasn’t able to control my emotions and I broke down. I later apologized to the policeman for raising my voice, but if they had listened to us instead of saying we were wrong, and ignoring us unnecessarily it wouldn’t have happened.

We don’t have a problem paying for the damage. We aren’t asking the old man for money or even blaming him for getting our car damaged because of his stubborn behaviour. But if we support what is wrong fearing a court case or FIR when we are not at fault, we have no right to dream about our country becoming a better place to live.

Threatening a person who is kind has become a habit these days, and this is what happened to us. The old man in fact lied to the police, saying our left fender was already damaged. We can pay the money when his dent gets repaired but with this, I have lost faith in the police. I have always admired and respected the Bengaluru police and their work, even tweeted about them many times, but the biased behaviour of some people breaks my heart.

I know so many responsible young people (my friends, colleagues, neighbours) who don’t violate traffic rules and make the effort to make India a beautiful and better place. This stereotyping of young people as careless, rude and rash drivers, should stop. When we told the elderly man we don’t want such court cases unnecessarily, he said: “You people should learn a lesson. If it takes your career, I don’t care.” So is it revenge he wants? I don’t understand and don’t want to understand such complexities. I just want people to be fair. If we accept our mistakes why can’t others also do it instead of frightening people and taking advantage of their politeness.

The worst is that the police supported something wrong. It breaks my heart. This is not the country we dream about. Tomorrow we will pay him for the dent, take responsibility for the damage to our left fender, but restoring our faith in humanity and justice will definitely take more time. 

(This is an edited version of the writer’s blog which was first published here.)

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