Monday, September 25, 2006

Early morning ramblings

Its 1.11am Monday morning now. Can't go to sleep. May be had too much of it earlier in the day. But there was a time when I hated the very idea of sleeping - sometime between the age of 17 to 23. No, I did not have imsomnia, just hated to go to sleep. To me then, it was a real waste of time. In fact at one point of time just after MCE, a buddy and I went 72 hours without sleeping. But off course, on the 73rd hour, we were a total knock-out and slept for more than 12 hours. Yup, we were plain crazy.

Also then, I was slightly on the mushy-mushy kind of guy. Usually at this time, my mind would begin to make poems and those sort of things. But, that was then. Now, I think its a bit dried-up up there.

There was also a time then, when I would just get into the car and drive aimlessly in KL. I do love drinving especially when alone and doing long distances. To me, the solitude gives the mind a time to think and reflect on oneself...amid all the din of the radio, I must add. But then...

This 1st Ramadhan, I had the urge to press the accelerator pedal to the floor. I did, though only for a short while. Then I was suddenly reminded of the many road fatalities and the two I nearly had. Well, actually, I've had several close calls. But these two were the ones that crept into my mind today.

It was around dusk and I was near Taman Mayang on my way to my brother's house in Taman Tun at what is now the LDP; it was a dead-end there then. The traffic light had just turned green and I begun moving. On the left lane was a Daihatsu Charade. As soon as we entered the now LDP, my eyes picked-up something wrong on the curve ahead. The lights of the opposing traffic seem to flicker. I could not make out the actual cause. Little did I know it then, but I was soon to find out.

The divider of the road were cement slabs which the road contractors could move according to their - it seems - whims and fancy. On that particular day, the contractors had moved the slabs to facilitate their work. But like any other driver, I hugged to the rightmost to prevent my car from accidentally jumping lane, especially at the curve. To my horror, there stood the culprit of my suspicion earlier.

Not 25 meters after the the curve, my mouth was agaped at the sight of a lamp post that stood in the car's path! I really cannot remember what transpired, but my right leg must have jammed the brake pedals even as the occupants in my car was screaming. Still, the car rammed into the lamp post, climbed up some several feet, and did a 180 degrees, turning to face the direction we had come from. By the time my mind snapped to reality, I could see people rushing to the scene to assist in whatever manner they can. My two cousins at the back was groaning in pain as did the other on the front passenger seat. I was like, dumbfounded - in a momentary state of shock.

The rear left passenger door was forced open by someone and both cousins were dragged out. Then, they assisted the other cousin in the front. All I could do then was...watched! It was when all 3 passengers were out did they come to my door and tried to force it open. But I could see the door would not open as it was slightly bent in the middle. Calmly, I told them to leave it be as I tried to crawl out through the passenger's door. It was then I felt a sharp pain on my left ankle. Somehow, the crowd got to the other side and pulled me out to the grass.

Moh, my fat cousin, had fainted, while the other two were eerily quiet. I could do nothing but kept apologising to them even as I was clasping my left leg in pain. I looked at the car and realise it was a total write-off. How, despite all the damage done, did we survive, I totally have no idea. Later, I had my first ambulance ride to the University Hospital in PJ where the only great damage to my body turned out to be a badly bruised ankle.

The episode did not end there. Some 3 weeks later, I received a letter from a woman demanding I pay a certain amount of money to her for the hardship she experienced from...hitting my car from the rear! Her car, a Honda, was badly damaged and she was trying to sue me! Though I was fined RM100 for damaging public property - though I entirely refuted it - no court in the world would find it the favour of the driver hitting another car in the rear! In fact, I learned later that it was due to her that my car climbed the lamp post and did the 180 degress turn. However adamant she was, I just brushed her off. And the traffice police allegation that I was speeding does not make sense at all. For heaven's sake, I was driving my brother's Mercedes 240D - D marks the vehicle as having a diesel engine. And diesel engines - then - just do not have what it takes to accelerate especially the short distance between the traffic light and the scene, which could not have been more than 150 meters? But, pay the fine, I did.

It was a totaly different story some 3 years back. For one, I was not blamed nor did I have to pay any fines. In fact, this time, the real culprit was identified, though he still does not admit it.

I was driving on Jalan Parlimen heading towards Bank Negara's traffic light/roundabout. My mum was beside me as we were invited to a Buka Puasa in KL. There was a motorcyclist on the left lane. Even from afar, I could make out he was an off-duty Security Officer from the bag he was carrying; it peculiarly long and does not need a genius to note that it was intended to carry a rifle/shotgun. There were not many cars on the road, and as I overtook him, the traffic light turned green. I noted the road ahead was clear and maintained my speed.

As we approached the traffic light, I saw this motorcyclist ( and a pillion rider) coming from the opposite direct (Jalan Tun Perak). All of a sudden, he began to turn to his right. As though he suddenly noticed my approach, he tried to make his turn into a u-turn or was trying to bring the bike to a stop. I do not know which nor do I truly care. But his evasive action was far too late.

Exactly just under the bridge, the motorcyle rammed into the front right wheel of my car. The whole episode, though only a few seconds in reality, was etched in my mind like in slow-motion.

I had pressed the brakes then. As soon as the motorcycle rammed, I saw bodies floating. The rider was thrown to the front and hit his head on the right rear passenger door. The pillion rider, flew front across me to crazh onto the windscreen right in front of my mum. He rolled down the front side of the car to land on his buttocks. Miraculously, the car screeched to a full stop only inches from his face. My mum and I were both somewhat shocked. Then, the funny part happened. The part which actually had me thinking then whether or not to laugh!

Its the norm for motorcyclist to come to each other's aid in times of crisis. In fact, they even band together against drivers of other vehicles. Its like a camaderie between them. An unwritten bond that exist and could only be understood only if you happen to be a motorcyclist. Remeber the Security Office I passedby only earlier?

As soon as the accident happened, he rode to my side. My mind was going like: "Oh no! Not another one!" And, it was not. His very first words shocked me more than the accident itself. Verbatim:"Bang! Saya nampak kesemua kejadian ini bang, nak saya tumbuk mereka?" With my mouth agape, my mind was going like:"Huh? Is this for real?"

I later called my brother to inform him of the accident and that we may be able to make the Buka Puasa with him. Oh! Incidentally, its the same brother whose house I was on the way to when I met the earlier accident. Anyway, he came by, took my mum, and left me to clean up the accident at the police station. When it was done, I drove back on an empty stomach thinking of all the good food I had to miss, and not knowing the bill to the damage would set me back some RM3,000 without the paint. Still, something good must have come to even with all these. What it is, till now though, I have yet to figure out.


Kak Teh said...

oh dear, be very, very careful! It could have been very tragic indeed. Anyway, just to wish you selamat berpuasa dan selamat memandu di jalan raya...esp semasa balik berhari raya.

cakapaje said...

Hey Kak Teh! Salam Ramadhan al-Mubarak to you too. And thanks for the reminder.

Esah GRO said...

Lain kali drive to careful lah sikit, sayang. Ini dah dual kali. What do they say about being unlucky the third time?

cakapaje said...

Thank you Esah. But total there's been 5 already - 3 major, 2 minor. And, like everyone else would say: "Hey! Its not my fault!". Life, oh life...