I heard a strange rumble on the tram
lines as I was walking down Ballygunge Phari, a
busy location in the city of Kolkata (earlier
known as Calcutta). It was Thursday, 19 June
2014. Well, trams are considered to be the pride
of the City of Joy. But this time, a driverless
tram that was on a reckless spree rammed into
ten cars at the crossing.
People weren't aware of the approaching tram and were taken unawares. I had seen this sort of a situation in movies where a train goes reckless and how the hero and the passengers in the movie manage to stop that train and a lot of damage and lives were saved. But that was a movie! Now we had a situation of a driverless tram parading down the tramlines that was not going to stop. It would damage anything in its path. Something definitely had to be done quickly. I immediately got my camera ready to capture one of the strangest incidents - "A reckless tram without a driver".
I saw two of the local youths take off in a moment. One of them jumped into the driver's cabin and stopped the tram, while the other youth pushed and shoved people out of the way of the approaching tram. The tram eventually went and rammed into some cars. There was panic on the main road as the tram rumbled into the rush hour of the day. People ran to and fro in confusion. Some people seeing the empty tram moved to hop into it unaware of it being driverless and out of control. The driver of one of the cars suffered a minor injury, while many lives were saved because of the astuteness of those two youths. The youth who had jumped into the driver's cabin with scant or no knowledge of how to stop the tram just pulled the long lever-like handle and the giant stopped to a screeching halt.
According to police reports the tram was moving out of the depot at 9:45 a.m. when the power connectivity was lost and it stopped midway. The driver for unknown reasons had left the tram and walked away. As power supply was restored the tram surged ahead, damaging several cars. Loss of life was averted because of two youths who alerted and pushed people away from the approaching driverless tram. Cars had been crushed and rammed; but people were happy that there was minimal loss of life. A small fire had occurred inside the tram, but that was brought under control by the fire brigade. Onlookers and eye witnesses panicked in fear in the face of this never-before incident. But finally, the situation was brought under control and an inquiry was initialized against the driver of the tram who was really rash and careless. Later it was learnt that the driver was suspended and a case of 'serious negligence' was registered against him.
While all this was happening I was having a trigger-happy shooting session. I risked my safety and captured the entire episode in my camera and mailed them to various newspapers and electronic media to be telecast. I was certainly fortunate to be caught up in this snare yet escape unscathed.
You can create many more essays / short stories based on the above, namely: ESSAY on:
1. Imagine yourself a photo-journalist
2. Unusual incident
3. Incident that never happened before
4. Bizarre road accident
5. Driverless tram or tram without driver
6. Movie-like real life incident
7. Real life incident in Calcutta
8. Presence of mind in emergency
9. Quick thinking in emergency
10. How local youths come forward
11. Make the best while the sun shines
12. Trigger happy photo session
13. Escape unscathed
14. Irresponsible drivers cause accidents
15. Case of serious negligence
16. Short story beginning: I heard a strange rumble…
17. Reckless tram on Kolkata roads