If you drive a vehicle around Kudla, you can be sure that someone will bump into you sooner or later. It’s nobody’s fault, of course. Blame it all on the bad roads, traffic snarls, and drivers’ inability to follow simple traffic rules. All these factors make it almost impossible for drivers to drive around the city without bumping into one another.
This morning, someone bumped into my car. The driver ahead wanted to turn left, but forgot to turn on his indicator. I hit my brakes when he slowed down suddenly. The driver behind me hit his brakes too, but a bit too late and bumped into my car as a result. Unaware of the nuisance he had created, the driver ahead of me turned left and soon disappeared.
Now as far as my car is concerned, I am overprotective. The tiniest scratch on it makes me miserable for days. I still remember the day a large bus scraped past my car, leaving its ugly green paint just above the headlight. When the guy at the service center told me that it would cost a lot to remove the mark, I decided to let it be. I also remember the day a speeding bike rammed into the silencer of my car, bending it out of shape. The biker had sped off in spite of the traffic cop’s attempts to stop him.
Terrified that the impact had torn a chunk off my bumper, I snarled at the driver who had bumped into me. He slowly passed me and pulled along the side of the road. In Kudla, drivers usually speed off after making sure that nobody is dead or seriously injured. If they stop, it is only to have a fight. Having had several unwilling fights with shopkeepers and drivers all over Mangalore, I was not in a mood to fight.
However, I was in for a surprise. The driver did not want a fight. He only wanted to apologize and to assure me that nothing had happened to my car. I had not lost a major part of it as I had imagined. We spent a few moments cursing the driver ahead of me, the one who had not turned on his indicator.
I decided to enter this into the Kudla Diary as a mark of appreciation for this driver. I have been driving in Kudla for the past 12 years, but this is the first time someone actually stopped after hitting my vehicle just to assure me that everything is alright. I consider it to be a pleasant experience I will never forget.