Change of heart

Change of heart


Sweet are the outcomes of a change of heart. Harassed daughters-in-law will vouch how the change of heart of their mothers-in-law had brought back lost peace in a joint family.

Though they will also be quick to add that from that significant day, the other in-laws in the family had begun to act cranky, indicating that peace in a joint family is but notional. Yet, a change of heart always brings with it wonderful surprises for all. Like this story, where a change of heart let an accident-prone driver walk scot-free from the premises of a police station where his victim had lodged him.

The traffic lights at the busy four-road junction, was all set to change red from the blinking amber. Like wild children, vehicles whizzed past taking a sharp left turn. Our protagonist, an NRI from Dubai, accelerates to sneak through the amber. But better sense prevails, and with his NRI status to live up to, he slams the brakes to get his Honda Accord to come to a sudden halt.

The villain in the drama-in-real-life, that incorrigible chauffeur, driving rashly out of years of habit under the self-crowned status of ‘the king of the road,’ is following him like a cop tailing a fugitive. Without any reaction time required for his hypothalamus to send him the warning signals to bring his small car to a halt then and there, he rams into the sophisticated gentleman’s big car.

The second scene is only too familiar for all Bangaloreans, who, at one time or the other, have either been in the place of the chauffeur or in the shoes of the victimised NRI. In a jiffy, car doors open, those behind the wheels jump out of the way like a hungry leopard leaping towards its prey. Pedestrians gather from out of thin air, the traffic cop does a catwalk to the spot and the blame game is about to begin.

“You idiot, can’t you see the signal changed?” yells the NRI. “Sir, don’t use bad words, I can also call you an idiot for slamming the brakes suddenly,” defends the chauffeur. After a brief examination to the damaged bumper, the NRI explodes, “Officer, look at what he has done to my bumper! Where is the nearest police station?”

The chauffeur puts on an authoritative look to inspect the damages. His brain is now working on an alibi to save his face. Pronto! An explanation flashes into his head. “These are old damages, sir. The dents do not look like fresh ones. I have nothing to do with them,” he concludes with the confidence of a forensic expert.

Arguments and more arguments follow. The inevitable ensues. The gentleman drags the chauffeur to the nearest police station. To his surprise, the place is deserted but for an ayah who seems to be in full charge. “Lunch break,” she tells them in a half-dazed state.

The determined NRI decides to wait. But after an agonising hour at the rundown and unkempt police station, he throws up his hands, cursing the red tape. Strangely, he feels a sudden rush of empathy for the chauffeur. “Okay man, let us forget it. There is just no point waiting like this. Make sure you keep a safe distance while driving,” he advises kindly.

The relieved chauffeur too gets a change of heart. He vouches to maintain distance between his vehicle and the one in front unconditionally. Not to mention his new found appreciation for the traffic police and their lunch hours!

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