Gurgaon is a city characterised by the good, the bad and the ugly. On one hand, lofty and luxurious condos dot the landscape, and on the other, haphazard urban planning lays bare the primitive core of the city. Step out of your spit-shine house and you are encountered with filth and garbage. However upscale a car you may drive, the roads do not support you.
One evening as Prabhat Agarwal, a resident of DLF Phase I, was enjoying his tea after a brief siesta occasioned by the seething heat outside, a big bang was heard in the vicinity. Alarmed by the cacophony that accompanied the thud, he rushed to the entry gate of his residence and there it was!
"My three-box sedan had been cut short to a hatchback as some not-so-carful driver had rammed into it from behind," recalls Agarwal.
Agarwal's house is situated at a sharp bend in the road and that day, just as any other, his car was parked just outside the gate, between the greenbelt area and the street. There being nothing to break the speed of vehicles negotiating the sharp turn, the erring driver that day had failed to keep up with the sudden change in trajectory and had, consequently, cut short the length of the car.
"I had made several appeals to the authorities to install a speed breaker near the turn. In the past also there had been near-fatal incidents outside my house but an accident never occurred before this," said Agarwal. The drivers did manage to manoeuvre around the turn but only after the capabilities of their brakes were put to a surprise test. After the incident, however, a speed breaker was constructed around that hazardous corner.
Accidents due to absence of speed breakers and raging cars have been common in Gurgaon. Every year about 400 deaths occur on the National Highway 8 within the limits of Gurgaon. Following the expansion of the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road nearly a year ago, residents of a society situated along the stretch, installed speed breakers after a guard was killed in an accident outside the gate. Another similar incident occurred between Sahara Mall and DLF Phase II recently.
There is one thing Agarwal says whenever he remembers the fateful day of the accident. "It could have been an old man, a vendor or any other pedestrian standing around the corner that day, instead of my car."
(As told to Snehil Sinha)