Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy Re-Birthday

June 9, 2002 , France

Jab Axay Sharma, Ashish Chandra, Rahul Kapoor aur Animesh Pathak - hum 4 bande saath mein South-of-France road trip kar rahe thhey.

Socha tha duniya ki laga denge.

Apni lag gayi!

Indeed... the conversation went like this.

Animesh [in navigator seat of a Renault Twingo] : Abey Rahul... it has rained badly last night.. reduce speed
Rahul [in the drivers seat] : Don't worry man... I have driven this track [Marseilles to Nice] before.

[they see a sharp right turn ahead, a minivan is coming from the other side, the Twingo's turn would not be able to be sharp enough]

Animesh: Shit [cannot hear others]

[collision of car with side of van... then to inner wall of the tunnel]

[some time passes.... dunno how much]

Animesh [wakes up with his head in a deflating airbag]: huh...

[thinks he is dead.. then realises he is not.. thinks others are dead.. realises they are not]

The car only has two doors.. one of which is not jammed. All 4 slowly come out of the car through the single door.

..... continuing in first person.. this narrative style is tiring.

So, thankfully.. the other car people [Husband, Wife and 2 kids] were all safe and not very angry. They flagged down a cyclist and used his cellphone to call emergency.

Soon the police and the paramedics were there... they offered us medical help but we were all fine [and wanting to get away from it all ASAP] so we politely refused, following which they made us sign a declaration that we declined medical help! Something weird to us Indians who are used to people (mostly) not-helping out when accidents happen.

My french came to the rescue while explaining to the policeman what happened.. and why he should let us go :-).

Then we caught a train back to Grenoble.. then to Paris, since the car was smashed completely.

Akshay is running his own company in Delhi now [after graduating from IITD]. Ashish is working in U.K. I don't know where Rahul is ... and I am here.

All I know is that if it was not for the seat belts and the airbags [and a lot of good wishes from our well wishers], I would not have been typing this today.

Happy re-birthday folks!!

If any of u three are reading this.. definitely leave your comments!



  1. Happy 2nd Life, 3rd Birthday... I guess ;-)
    Although I must confess I was expecting the word "Autobahn" somewhere in the post :P


  2. Actually.. we never used the Auto-routes, since they are not free :D

    Auto-bahn is a German word.. and Je parle Francais.

  3. Jaako raakhe saayiyaan maar sake na koy...
    lagta hai ki abhi tumhare paapon ka ghada bhara nahin hai

  4. Anonymous8:19 PM

    happy b'day :-)..I remember the very first coverage of the event.....

    Acche logon ke paap ke ghade kabhi bharte nahin hain...aur jo thoda bahut paap kabhi ho bhi jaate ganga snan un sab se hamein mukt kar deta hai.....:)

  5. Sirji...You become a story writer :) You will do wonderfully...

  6. Hey,

    Happy re-birthday (belated) to you too...

    The day has become an annual ritual for me to look back through the years. Unlike the b'day and the new year, when ppl are gnerally too busy to think over stuff, this day actually makes me go back a few years to chase lost memories.

    When I met you for the first time at the french embassy (or say talked to you for the first time) I didnt knew what all we'll end up doing.

    I guess with 4 ppl in the car, we had 4 "paap ke ghade" (pots of sin). Tera shayad pura bhara nahin tha... I went to vaishno devi just 6 months before going to france, so it was pretty much empty. Akshay ne apne ghade mein chotta sa ched kar rakhkha hai... (given his rate, it never seems to fill up!!. Bacha Rahul... he is the unknown quantity here.. but I guess he came with us when we needed him, so it helped him a bit. And on the whole our average was sufficiently low to survive.

    Moral of the story is that -
    a} Next time you rent a car in south france, make sure you are not high on pot.
    b) It does not matter how empty your pot is, double check who you are sitting next to.

    Neways... hope we continue the tradition. And as I said, we have to finish what we started ...

  7. Happy B'day Bhaiya... hope ki dobara aapko kabhi re-birthday celebrate karne ka mauka na mile :).

    Well an important thing now... where is the TREAT ??? :D

  8. Seatbelts & Aribags! Seatbelts & Aribags! Seatbelts & Aribags! Seatbelts & Aribags!

    And Happy Re-Birthday! :-)

  9. @Aman. Thanks. The Aribag was thankfully filled with good Ari :)

  10. Glad to know you're ok Animesh :)

  11. Hey Animesh!

    I'm glad to see that all of you are doing well!

    It recently came to my attention that this day has become a sort of a ritual. It is pretty amazing, but it seems like it affected you guys much more :D! After this event, most of my friends back in Delhi couldn't but comment on my improved safe driving.

    It was really only luck that we escaped the car. Thanks for your French, Animesh.

    I am also in London these days, have just completed my MBA from LBS; I was just forwarded this blog. It's almost surreal to read this!

    Would be great to catch up now!


  12. Anonymous7:09 PM

    I kind-of disagree with the statement - "Something weird to us Indians who are used to people (mostly) not-helping out when accidents happen."

    I think Indians are one of the most helping people in the world when these kinds of things happen (In fact I thought that was a common fact)