Recently, we were returning from my mother's hometown. We were 10 minutes away from reaching our home. My husband hit a bike that was riding approximately two feet away from our car. A young girl in her twenties was driving the bike while her male partner was riding pillion. Immediately after the hit, she lost balance and fell down leaving her friend only to follow her while my husband did his best to put sudden breaks and divert the car away from the accident scene.
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I put my child down on the front seat, picked up a water bottle and rushed to the spot. I lifted the girl up, held her head high, saw if there were any external injuries and forced her to drink some water which she obliged. I kept looking all around her head to see if she was injured. At that moment, it was not about who was wrong. It was about two lives. It was about their lives. The male partner was fine. I enquired if she felt any pain anywhere around the head region. She didn't respond. All along, she kept pushing me aside while she spoke to her friend in a North Indian language I couldn't pay attention to. I was worried about her head and her pain. Head injuries can get dangerous. I was relieved after noticing that there were neither any external injuries nor did she show signs of internal injuries. She had returned to normal quickly. So I thought.
Any Indian accident starts with the vehicle parked at the center of the road. I advised both the parties to park the vehicles to the side so that other vehicles could pass through that 20 feet road. And the blame game started.
The male partner (MP): We stuck to the left of the road. How could you come and hit us? And you were driving so fast on this tiny road
Hari, my husband : I was driving on the middle of the road. I never came to the left
Girl: You sped, came to the left and hit us
Hari : How could I speed when there was a car in front of my car at a 15 feet distance?
[Everyone moves to the exact spot where the accident happened]
MP: Look, we were coming here and this is where you hit us, pointing to the area where the bike skid.
Hari: Can you see these tyre marks where I applied the breaks. Now tell me how close it is to that place where your bike was at?
MP: No. You hit us. Let me call the police
Hari: Sure. Please call the police. I'll wait here
[Most people are scared of police. We were not. That guy decided not to call the police.]
MP: You have to pay us maintenance for the vehicle
Hari: It was not my fault. It was your fault. And nothing has happened to your vehicle anyway. A few scratches here and there.
Girl: Okay, we don't need the expenses for the bike, but take me to the hospital. I want to be checked so there is nothing wrong in my head.
Hari: Okay. We can do that. There's a clinic close by. Follow us.
[The girl took a picture of our car number and started following us, this time around, the guy decided to drive which we thought was a good decision]
While I returned to my car, I saw a semi-spiral sheet near lying down. My husband says, it's not ours. The other guy also says its not ours. I thought it could be ours. I take it anyway thinking, let me take a look when I get back home.
While we were driving, I went into a flash back like in Kamala Hassan movies. What exactly happened?
- The bike was indeed keeping to their left.
- We were indeed in the middle of the road.
- The road was only 20 feet wide.
- There was a car riding in front of us at 15 feet distance.
- Our car was going in 20kmph speed.
- We were hit. The bike was hit. They fell down on the road.
Whose fault was it anyway?
- It was she who turned right while Hari continued to drive in the middle of the road
- She was driving a Scooty. Scooty vibrates when a bigger vehicle drives past it. And it was at least 1997/1998 model. I have driven a scooty myself, the same 1997 model. So, I know.
- She must have got tensed after seeing a car so close to her
- She may not have been able to balance the weight of her partner while she drove under a stressful situation as this
- Both her hands were badly bruised. I observed carefully to see if it was because of this accident. It was not. The bruises had turned dark brown indicating they may have been old injuries
- The bruises looked like injuries from a bad bike ride
- The bruises looked like injuries from a newbie rider
- Oh, she has been driving for a while now
- Oh, she has been getting injured for a while now
- Oh, she is learning to ride a bike
- Oh, she was learning to ride on that day too
- Oh, are they valid documents for the scooty?
- Oh, Did she have a license?
This is what happened. On that particular day, she was learning to ride the bike, hit us by turning right, fell down after losing balance and accused us of attempting to kill her. Once we got off the car near the clinic, I calmly walked up and explained my analysis to both of them. They were bummed. I had sold my thoughts. They no longer yelled, but brought in a polite tone.
It was interesting how I applied thinking and testing to this incident. Although, the situation was tense and my mind was numb in the first ten minutes, I garnered courage to rewind the incident in my mind, assess and handle the situation well. It's easy to feel like a victim and throw tantrums, it's hard to be calm and composed despite carrying the load of being wrong. This is what I did and it helped.
Lessons Learned from Accident that can be applied to Software Testing
- Be Alert
- Be Emotional, but use them to make correct, reasonable and ethical decisions
- Practice observation skills ["Brain Game - What was there" has helped me. Playing with children helps too]
- Get the facts straight. My knowledge of scooty helped
- Be Aware of the world around you. Sticking to your family, or work or books won't be enough
- Keep Looking Around
- Knowledge is useless if it cannot be applied to solve problems
- If others are stressed, don't stress yourself
- If you are stressed, don't stress others around you
- Stay Focused