One night before Diwali, my 18-year-old nephew was injured in a serious car accident near the DND Expressway. He was in a car with six children, the driver being a minor, when their car rammed a stationary truck. My nephew sitting next to the driver in front took the brunt of it. He was critical for the next 10 days.
What was horrific was that the child in the driver’s seat, who was unhurt, made a call and was picked up either from the scene of the accident or from close to it by his father, leaving the rest at the accident spot. No call was made by the boy’s parents informing either the police or an ambulance service about the other five children.
The local BJP MLA and owner of Noida’s Kailash hospital happened to be driving by. He took the three unconscious boys to the hospital, sending two of the girls who had minor injures home. When he found the children, the driver was missing. Had he not passed by, my nephew would have bled to death.
After the accident, we learnt that the minor who was driving has been doing so for two years; the car was a gift on his 15th birthday.
The incident has raised several questions. The first relates to parents handing over cars to their minor children who drive without licences. What is the urgency to entrust your child with a car when he is neither mature enough to handle the responsibility nor legally permitted to do so? Do they feel no fear or do they feel they are invincible? Are accidents something that happen to others? What can be the justification to give the keys of a car to a child at an age when he is most vulnerable to misusing it — children in their teens are rebellious, they often drink and tend to drive rashly more often .
Second, in this case, I am appalled at what the parents are teaching their son through their actions. The boy and his father fled soon after the accident. They are teaching him not to value anyone else’s life. They are asking him to abandon a friend (in this case several friends) in need. What kind of parenting is this?
The Noida police have not taken a very serious view of the episode because “no death has taken place”.
I see what has happened to my nephew as far more serious as he as an 18-year-old and we as his family have to live with the repercussions of this for the remainder of his life. His vision is affected. Our healthy, warm and cheerful 18-year-old will be changed forever. — Anjuli Bhargava