I almost ended up confirming my ticket to hell, which only got cancelled at the last moment with a bit of luck and a presence of mind.
I woke up in the middle of the night when the city was still sleeping and getting ready to report for an early morning shift. The clock ticked by even as I waited to receive a missed call on my cell that would indicate that the pick up has arrived but it did not happen. So after some time, I called up the transport supervisor who told me that the car had already left but he would call me back again to confirm it.
I decided to go down and stand on the road just in case the car was yet to arrive. I got a call saying that the car has already reached but I could not see it, the roads were empty and there was no sound of the engine running that would indicate its presence. It was only when I turned around and had a look at the car parked a few meters away from me that I realized that the pick up had indeed arrived with the driver sleeping inside the car.
I knocked on the window, which woke up the driver and then I got into front seat of the Indica which seemed a little shorter as the head touched the roof of the car. I asked the driver if he could drive and he replied affirmatively. He took his own time before he turned the ignition key and we were ready to go. Everything was going fine until the driver took a U-turn.
I observed that the car had picked up the speed and then saw in front of us a tempo parked on the road which was small enough for two vehicles to pass through without slowing down. The speed of the car refused to come down even as the distance between the car and the tempo was getting shorter. I raised my voice at the driver who had fallen asleep behind the wheels. My voice brought him back to his senses as he saw what lied ahead. By then it was too late….
The car ended up hitting the tempo on the corner instead of a head on collision as the driver took a turn and hit the brakes. The good thing was that I was alive and kicking and not much damage was caused. This would not have been possible if the lower back door of the tempo which was open and down (covering the open space below it) which the car ended up hitting. I would have probably left this world as the level of the tempo stood at crushing my head if there was any impact minus the open lower back door.
On reaching office, the driver asked me not to report the matter, but I had little choice over there. When others in office came to know about what happened, it was like a skeletons tumbling out of the closet. It seemed that they too had witnessed incidents of drivers falling asleep but it was never that fatal.
What happened the next day was something out of the blue. I had again called up the transport supervisor who told me that pick-up should be arriving, only later to be called again and told that I would have to come by my own. As I stood on the road, I saw the same driver waiting for me this time driving a bigger car like Tata Sumo. It’s anybody’s guess on why the supervisor lied. Needless to say I hopped on, and this time the driver was fully awake.
P.S. I don’t blame the drivers for not getting enough sleep and ending up in accidents as they sometimes end up working 12-13hrs with the day/night difference not accounted for. It’s for the people who handle them need to take care that they don’t end up jeopardizing the lives of other people, but who has the time to look at that. If a driver did ended up in an accident they would simply shift him to some other place or would make sure that he doesn’t do the pick-up/drop for the same people. It’s only in extreme cases, would they remove him.
I raised this issue with the management when feedback was being asked for transport improvement, but I only received an individually marked email from my superior appreciating my concern for raising the point. One can guess what happened after that.
Read the comments from the previous post to the “accident” point and I must say that many people seem to read it wrong. I did get injured but it was while riding a cycle as a kid. I hope this clarifies it :). The above incident is the closet that I have ever got to death.