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Arvi Krishnaswamy

Entrepreneur and Tech Executive

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This is a slightly delayed post to share an update that most of you are aware of by now, but may not be aware of all the details. Unfortunately, I was in a car accident here in Bangalore on Sep 12th.  And I guess when it rains, it pours! Monami was out of town that week visiting her parents. Ma Belle had been unusually naughty that morning and had chewed through one of Monami's books. The morning before the accident, I called Monami up and jokingly told her that I was having a bad day and that she had better get back sooner since the house was upside down without her. I had no idea... my bad day was yet to begin...

I was driving down Airport Road near the Command Hospital area coming from the Domlur end. When I turned around a bend in the road, I saw a few boxes lying in front of me and slowed down to a stop. There was a travels vehicle behind me which slowed down as well. However, a BMTC bus that was speeding that rammed into the vehicle behind me, resulting in a pile up. Fortunately, no one was badly injured. A lady in the vehicle behind me suffered bruises and was rushed to the hospital, but was released soon after. I had a whiplash and pain the lower back for a few days, but am perfectly fine now. 

My car suffered severe damage at the rear end, and body was fused with the tires. Since I could not drive it, the only option was to tow it straight to the Nandi Toyota garage. Here's a picture of the rear that I took with my camera phone right after the crash. I wish had a picture from the side to give you a sense of how much it was flattened. 

My mom was visiting us that afternoon and was stuck at the train station since I was held up. I called up Vatsa for help and asked him to pick up my mom and come to the police station.  The tow truck took ages to come, and when it finally did, they struggled since I have a front wheel drive.  I sat in the car as we slowly ambled towards the Indiranagar BDA. Kids on the road waved at me, amused to see the car being towed in reverse.

The police station was a nightmare. First, finding it was tricky enough. I might have mistaken it for a barn due to the stacks of gunny bags lying outside, but for a small sign by the side. Second, the policemen preferred to speak only Kannada and made me rewrite the FIR thrice to include various details. Fortunately, Vatsa's fluency paid off and helped ensure I put down the right details. We then had to run to the RTO since they are closed over the weekend and we had to get the inspection done the same day in order to avoid having to wait until the next week. We were sent from one counter to another at the RTO and asked to get signature from people, which appeared to be an alibi to delay our meeting the right person. When we finally got through the red tape, they were courteous and helped us get through the investigation quickly (not sure if that was a good thing). The BMTC driver had claimed all along that his brakes didnt work properly. The RTO tests showed that they were in perfect working condition.  In another twist, during the investigation, another BMTC bus pulled into the RTO - coming in from another accident. Scary. 

Once I had the FIR, I proceeded to call insurance (TATA AIG), who were very lax in responding back. I'm fairly certain I will switch providers next time around. Nandi Toyota was very responsive and helpful and I have nothing but great things to say about their services. They helped me to ensure I got the vehicle towed safely, provided me with all the information I needed upfront, were courteous in handling of the service request, kept me updated about progress, and ensured that I had minimum paperwork or hassles to deal with. Unfortunately, they cant do much to help soften the blow - the damage is 1.3L and will require some wrangling with insurance.

I cant help but think: What if I had chosen to just ram through those boxes and deal with the front end damage? There was a divider on the right and moving traffic on the left and swerving was not an option.  A front end collision is more dangerous, and I didnt know what was in the boxes (they turned out to be light). But at least, it may have avoided the pile up. Sigh.

What did I learn?  I dont have anything particularly new to say, but here are my top 10 takeaways:

10. Always keep your emergency contact information handy. You never know when you may need it.
9. The police investigations are a scam. Take pictures on your own if you can for insurance purposes at the place where the accident occurred.  
8. Be patient through police and RTO red tape. It's intricately designed to wear and break you down to the point where you'd grease palms.
7. Insurance is another scam. They will chase you down at renewal time, but it will be you doing the chasing when you need them. TATA AIG has been unresponsive and of little help.
6. I love my car. It bore the brunt of the impact.
5. Keep copies of your RC book, insurance policy papers, and Driving License in your car at all times.
4. Use public transport ;-) They are the most dangerous for others on the road, but are the safest to ride in!
3. Nandi Toyota rocks. Great dependable and professional service.
2. Your health comes first. Ensure you get professional medical care immediately after the accident first. Since I felt ok, I went first to the police station to lodge an FIR. If I had internal injuries, this could have been a different story.
1. Life is precious and incidents like this serve as a reminder of how fragile it is. Enjoy and savor every moment of it.