Monday, May 3, 2010

Bumper Cars

In Delhi, the streets are packed with cars, buses, rickshaws, bicyles, carts, basically anything with wheels. There are about 15 million people in Delhi and it feels like there are at least that many vehicles. With all this movement it's a wonder that I've yet to see a traffic accident. But, the other day, after dropping me and Arthur off at the pool, our driver called "Madam, I've had a small accident." Okay, so I have no idea what to do. I go out to the street to see what's going on. I see our car whose bumper guard (luckily we have one) was scratched up and look a bit further to see the other guy's car that was dented from our bumper guard. What I understood from the conversation was that our driver was backing out of the parking lot (yes, into oncoming traffic, quite normal here) and the other guy ran into our car. As the two drivers were talking a crowd of about 15 men gather around. I'm standing there with Arthur in his stoller feeling very uncomfortable. I offer to call the police, which I'm told is not necessary. I am told that the other guy's insurance will cover damages to his car, but maybe not 100% and then we'll have to pay the rest. I was thinking that this was his way of getting me to give him money, so I said that we wouldn't pay but our insurance would. So, I called our insurance company and start going through the process of making a claim. After what seemed like an eternity of going back and forth and having multiple men from the crowd and/or my driver relay to me what the other driver was saying. The two drivers exchanged phone numbers (I wrote down his license plate number and car model) and the guy drove off.
It's been 5 days and we've not heard anything from the other driver. I did have to make another long phone call to our insurance company to cancel our claim only to find out we have to write a letter cancelling it. Since the damage is so minimal, we didn't want the claim to be filed and our insurance to go up. It's been more than a scratch on our new car, which was probably bound to happen at some point, but quite an experience with a crowd of men gathering, which I've heard can often turn violent especially if someone has been injured, but also a hassle with the insurance company and a waiting game to see if we hear back from the other driver. Out of all of this, though, I'm just so relieved that no one was hurt. And, now that it's happened, I will be more prepared for next time. Hopefully, there won't be a next time.

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