Monday, June 6, 2011

Killed by a speed bump? Do we really need to use our money to rain sorrows down our heads?

I woke up this morning to read some really sad news in the newspaper. Four young engineering students from wealthy families crashed an Audi and two of the kids ended up dead.

I couldn't help but question, what on earth were they thinking? Well, obviously they were not thinking....

Back in the US, for a while I used to drive a Subaru Impreza WRX, manual transmission. I still remember how we ended up buying the car. One boring weekend, because we had no plans and because DH loves cars, we decided to take in the auto show at the Cleveland IX center. Once there, we immediately fell in love with the Subaru the totally uninterested one in cars fell hook, line and sinker for that one and encouraged DH to get rid of his beat up old Honda Accord and buy this car. I used to drive a sedate Honda Civic at that time. Well, first of all an STI was impractical for our needs and secondly we couldn't even dream of affording it and so bought the Impreza WRX instead, as the next best choice. After DH left for India, we sold the Honda Civic and the Subaru was entirely mine.

Initially I found the sheer exuberant power of that car intimidating but eventually, I fell in love with it so much that it was a wrench to part from it when I left the US. In fact I can get quite maudlin and talk about all the drives my car and I took together and thoroughly of the finest being tooling it around the curving, mountainous highways of West-Virginia. However, right from the beginning, I was conscious of its power and was careful to both give it its head and not take liberties unless I was absolutely sure of my skills in handling it on any fun or difficult stretch. Looking back I guess I was old enough and experienced enough to not lose my head and do something wild that would turn out to be a foolish risk, nothing more.

Coming back to these kids, the Audi is a powerful car for our Indian roads with its massive traffic, unusual occupants like dogs and cows and infernal speed bumps. These kids were driving along at 2.00 AM,on an empty stretch of city road, did not spot a speed bump, hit it full speed , the car flew high in the air and crashed, mangling itself and killing two of them.

Makes me wonder, do we really need to use our money so recklessly? I know this  is talking after the fact but   should young testosterone driven kids be indulged with stuff that's beyond their true understanding as they have neither the experience nor the patience for caution and forethought? Isn't it ridiculous that two kids on the threshold of life die on an empty stretch of road within the city limits because they didn't understand their car and didn't spot the speed bump? Killed by a speed bump? What can be sadder than that? And no, they were not drunk or high or anything like that.

I am beginning to think there's more to the traditionalists' claim of diluting our culture than what meets the eye. In some ways it worked in the past when parents were strict and the kids did not have a freedom that they were not capable of using responsibly. But then, most parents did not have the kind of disposable income that they have now to indulge their kids either!

So the question, how much freedom is too much freedom? Is it really necessary to spend money thoughtlessly because we have it and end up with heartaches and heartbreaks? How will the parents of these kids come to terms with such foolish tragedy?

For those of you planning your move back to India, please don't remain focussed on recreating your past lives here! The realities are far too different for life to flow along the same lines as it did on the other side of the world or any other country you might be coming from. But that doesn't mean you cannot be equally happy here. You can, if you work with the differences instead of going against it!

And now...let me go try to practice what I am preaching...working with the differences instead of against it....


  1. I read your post carefully but not entirely in sympathy of the event. It is alright to possess an Audi when young... it is passe to drive it if one has the time at 2 am when studying.. but even in Gandhi's land liquor flows by the barrel where audis, money and power combine. I guess youth... intoxication... power wheels all amount to a disastrous effect.
    "I will give my children what none has" is a very recognizable character of modern India where crass exhibitionism has replaced goodness and concern.

  2. As the mom of two young drivers, I have to say that this is one of the most terrifying things I live with -- that one of them will be involved in an accident. Unfortunately accidents like this happen everywhere, and it is incredibly sad when they do...