My wife and son have just returned from Kanha and Bandhavgarh where they spotted at least half a dozen tigers, bears and an assorted bunch of animals. They’re justifiably thrilled at what they’ve accomplished, although they don’t have too many pictures of the striped cat to show for it. Nonetheless they enjoyed their holiday, aside from one crazy experience while on their way to Kanha from Bandhavgarh, which left them shaken.

When they left for Kanha my son told his mother that the driver was ‘reeking of liquor’ but she laughed it off with the words that “he must have had a drink at night.” Thus far everything had been perfect, just as a holiday should be. A little while later, the driver stopped the car and disappeared, to return a few minutes later. They were off again only for the driver to stop some time later and disappear behind shops. This time when they returned, my son smelled liquor on the man’s breath and promptly nudged his mother.

They continued to Kanha and around 10 km later, once they had reached the outskirts of Mandla, they noticed that the driver was driving almost on the right side of the road! The man was so drunk he hadn’t even noticed. My wife tried to convince him to stop the car and let her take over the wheel, but the guy didn’t budge. When they kept telling him about it, the man moved the car a little to the middle of the road, until at one point a three-wheeler tempo ran straight into them. There was a resounding thud and parts of either vehicle were flying around.

As a crowd collected the driver of the car decided that the best way out of the mess was to take off with car and shaken passengers – which is what he did, only to be chased by the people in the tempo. The chase continued for a quite a few kms, and in the meantime, my wife started calling Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development officials to tell them about the incident. The officials were then in constant touch with every few minutes to check about their well-being, also telling them that they had dispatched another vehicle.

In the meantime, drunk driver along with car with passengers was reaching an unmanned level crossing with the tempo still in hot pursuit. As they neared the crossing, the passengers, to their horror saw a train approaching. The driver, of course, was too far gone by then to notice anything. They started screaming at him to stop, but the crazy guy, desperate to shake off the tempo on his tail, raced towards the oncoming train.

My son and wife say they don’t know how the guy managed to cross the railway line. Had they been a few seconds off they and the car would have been sitting on the railway engine! Once they had crossed and were finally rid of the chasing tempo, they spotted the replacement car a few kms later, which waved them down. Only then did things return to normal. I guess, in all this drama, the two people who remained cool for most of the time were the MP Tourism officials and my wife!

Moral of the story: When the driver disappears at short intervals during a long drive and then starts flirting with the road divider, he’s either ingesting ‘liquids’ or passing it out.

  1. Rashmikant Barot says:

    he’s either ingesting ‘liquids’ or passing it out.
    That’s a good one Mohan

  2. Soumyadeep says:

    awesome !! however, when the driver was clearly tipsy, why didn’t your wife stop and take control of the situation?? if your son can understand the smell of liquor, then i’m sure he is a matured kid. why didn’t the mom pay heed to her son, who’s trying to raise a possible warning/alarm ? in desperate situations like these, if the passengers were behind on the passenger seat, one could simply lean over and switch off the ignition. sound problematic, but it does help. lastly, what happened to the driver, once the MP officials car had flagged the vehicle down? was he suitably punished for drunken driving?

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