We have a vehicle harthal today. Reason; politics! The price for petrol has gone up by Rs.5 and there’s talk that it will go up again. Just like that, Rs.5 more for the liter. So the opposing parties have called a total vehicle strike (known as bandh or harthal in India) from 6am till 6pm) and no buses, cars, taxis, trucks will be on the roads for the 12 hours. I’m not sure about bikes but they said that they will allow emergency services like ambulances and supply stuff to ply on the roads. Offices, shops & business will be open but with people unable to make it unless they live nearby or travel really early to their work place.
Since my office is doing a 10pm till 7am shift, we either had to leave earlier than 6am and make sure everyone reached home early & safe or duke it out in the office from 7am till 6pm – a whole 11 hours after a 9 hour work shift! That did not sound appealing to us. Some of us had bikes and so we decided that we would leave by 3am and ensure that those without their own transport means would either get a bus that’s running at that hour or be dropped home by a car that we had. So by 3 am, 3 of us were in a car heading towards the city. I was nodding off in the passenger seat and the guy in the back seat was also nodding off. The guy driving also nodded off briefly – which was all it took to lose control of the car for a couple of seconds!
But the car was going quite fast at one particular curve near the De Paul College in Angamaly. We were going quite fast on a curve, sloping slightly downwards and we did two crazy turns on the road and then hit the median! The side of the car got a nice big old dent and the front fender is broken. Worst was the back wheels alignment got screwed and we couldn’t continue driving the car. We had to call up a local garage who brought a van and towed the car back to their place. It looks like a Rs.5-6k work for fixing the car.
Although none of us were injured, thank our lucky stars. Not even a scratch! I waited for a while and was able to get a bus heading towards my area, one of the last two to run before the harthal starts, and was able to reach Kacheripady by 5am. In a few minutes I was back in my room and took a nice nap.