Wednesday, January 12, 2005

don't worry mom

cops, originally uploaded by seamonkeylifeboat.

Well. Just the other day, we were driving up to Nasik to check out the tasting room--which is looking fine I must say. A bunch of folks from the winery were coming up for a meeting so Sula hired a couple of Toyota Qualis (SUV's) and drivers to get us all to the winery. I felt like a giant, slightly lighter due to earlier food poisoning, doo doo because I had been bequeathed Stefanie's only whiteys get it flu that involves delirium, 102+ fevers and all that fun stuff. I had really planned on bailing on the trip, but somehow ended up in the car at 6 am and didn't know how to get out so away I went with all the rest.

Our car was packed and, luckily for the rest of us, laureL actually likes the very back back seat. Not only that, she can read back there on windy mountain roads. So off we go, horn a honking, car a swerving, vehicle a passing. Our driver seemed to really believe he could not be harmed. After a few close calls where we were passing trucks into oncoming traffic and actually forcing oncoming traffic onto the shoulder, we all asked the driver to chill out. This seemed to have some effect and, lulled into a false sense of calm coupled with the fact that we'd all gotten up before even the most confused roosters began crowing, we all started to drift in and out of sleep.

I can't really say what the sound effects were, but I opened my eyes just as a large white Ambassador (an Indian car whose design hasn't changed since the 50's) was deflected off our front fender with a sickening crunch of metal which could only be rivaled by the sound of crunching metal on the other side as we bounced into the side of the truck we were passing. Basically, we were squeezed out between the two vehicles like a big square metal bar of soap. We shot out sans our sideview mirrors and some paint. As the driver regained control, he began accelerating despite our protests to pull over and do the right thing.

I think laureL and Stefanie and I chose to follow the lead of our Indian counterparts and when they stopped protesting and just accepted that we were continuing onward, so did we. Hell, I don't have this country figured out yet that's fer sure.

We continued winding our way up the mountain at a slightly more leisurely pace for about 15 minutes until we are overtaken at high speed by the white Ambassador which proceeds to cut us off so that we are forced to stop. In the heat of the moment, it seemed like 20 guys (probably 4 or 5) piled out of the Ambassador and start beating on the car. One guy has a hammer and is threatening to smash things. Another guy picks up a big rock and tries to smash the windshield but only succeeds in cutting his hand and bleeding on the car. People are yelling.
Women in the back seat(but not the very back one) are screaming. Fists are pounding. They want the drivers blood.

The driver starts to open the door and someone reaches over the door and tries to pull his hair out. Adrian, who is sitting in the front passenger seat, opens his door and someone climbs over him and takes a swing at the driver. To be honest, I think everyone in the car kind of wanted to take a swing at the driver too, but we didn't think it was appropriate. I can't blame the guys in the Ambassador for being mad, but it was beginning to seem a litte too much. Meanwhile, a group of men begin to cluster around the car. There are a few motorcycles parked, but nothing that could transport the 20 or so additional guys that appear. It seems like some serious mob violence could happen.

The driver gets out of the car and starts getting man handled by the guys from the Ambassador. Adrian gets out to try to talk to people. I get out to reduce the threat of violence to the driver and start actively discouraging people from hitting him and see laureL, calmly holding onto one end of the hammer man's hammer telling him "no." "No." "No." until he lets his hammer arm go limp. Now there is shouting and gesturing all around. People are milling back and forth. People are yelling at the driver. People are yelling at Adrian. People are yelling at the guys from the Ambassador. People are yelling at people who weren't involved in anyway. The threat of violence seems to have subsided so laureL and I get back into the car. The tide seems to have turned and now the people who just appeared are yelling and threatening the guys in the Ambassador. 1 guy from the Ambassador climbs into our front seat to ride with us to the police, but the crowd outside is getting more hostile to them, so his buddies take off and he gets out of our car and starts yelling and getting yelled at and then suddenly hails a cab and splits. All of a sudden everything is calm. People are smiling and shaking hands and patting the driver and Adrian.

What the *$%@!

Adrian gets in the car and explains that all the random dudes are villagers. They are upset because the Ambassador guys were threatening to hammer us in front of their village and they don't want the bad PR. Our accident happened in front of someone elses village. It turns out they were threatening to tie the guys in the Ambassador up and then just leave them in their car as punishment for the behavior but Adrian convinced them not too (or so he says).

Anyway we all get in the car and start off again. This will be the end of part one of this story. I'll finish it later. I apologize for running on and on in a very non poetic fashion. Sometimes the words just flow out and sometimes each one is a painful burning sensation.


Blogger Scott said...

Yah-ha! I knew all the Marin Conservation Corps experience would pay off for you Laurel. See? Teaching youths not to sword-fight with running chainsaws translates to telling people not to beat bad drivers with a hammer.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up, Andy. So they have road rage in India too. Glad you all survived unscathed. Laurel was a real heroine with the hammer man. Love the fact that the villagers didn't want any trouble in their village no matter what!
"Don't worry mom"

8:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home