Insurance Basics

Autobiography of a Pothole

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They say every pothole has a story to tell. Let me tell you mine. 

I was born on a day when the sputtering monsoon uncorked its spout, unleashing the season's heaviest shower to wash away the sweat of a sultry day. As heavy rains lashed the city, the waterlogging that ensued turned the roads into puddles and potholes, washing away the asphalt. It was as the rain continued to batter the roads over the next few days that I emerged on a narrow road in the suburb, and oh my! Measuring four metres by five metres, I was so enormous that the crowds would part like the Red Sea for me! Though my depth wasn’t much, I was the size of a small car, forcing even the most lethargic of pedestrians to turn into gymnasts in their bid to avoid getting their feet wet in my muddy waters! 

When I lent a hand to motorists 

But while I may have inconvenienced pedestrians, I like to believe that I was a boon to motorists who drove on the waterlogged roads riddled with me and my brethren. Do you want to know why? There’s nothing like being jolted when your vehicle hits a pothole unexpectedly, and motorists, seeing my crater-like body ahead, would slow down and drive carefully through. That's some reason to follow traffic rules and become safer drivers! True, the commuters trying to navigate safely around me led to traffic slowing down considerably leading to major traffic snarls in the area, but that’s a conversation for another day. 

A friend to children 

There is no question that children accepted me wholeheartedly—it was me they turned to when they would run out of options to play. Rain-made puddles are great for floating paper boats – and that’s no child’s play. If you’d come across me on a lazy afternoon, you’d have surely seen children floating colourful paper boats in my tawny waters, the mud draping their legs. There can be some fierce boating competition there!

When I became a celebrity! 

I had never set out to become a celebrity, but it wasn’t long before my sheer size attracted the attention of all and sundry. Soon I was counted amongst the biggest of the bunch when it came to potholes! First the citizen groups came, then the news reporters; they would crouch in the middle of the road, poking rulers into my water-laden body and taking measurements. Oh, how I’d preen for their cameras when they clicked photographs and shot videos! 

But I wasn’t just a face in a viral video that faded out of popularity soon as the next best thing came along. I found myself the subject of many an important conversations too—once, a city civic evangelist, pointing towards me, famously said, “Yesterday’s road puddle is today’s pothole.” Why, even savvy netizens would speak about me on leading social media platforms, tagging my photograph along with the GPS location!

Time to say goodbye? 

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and my incredible journey came to a halt when, just as the rains began to abate, the municipal corporation alerted its work circle officers to fill me up. A team was dispatched to work the very next day and within a few hours, I was no more. But my story does not end here!

We meet again!  

I am a firm believer that if something is meant to happen, then it will happen against all odds, and we, dear reader, were destined to meet again! And so, just days after being fixed, when roads in the city were inundated due to what was touted to be a record rainfall, I was reborn. Even though this time around, I wasn’t as wide as a car, but why not look on the bright side of things? I was some five inches deep already, causing social media users to liken driving over me ‘an off-roading experience’! Some commuters also said that I resonate with the city rains almost like, bread and jam. I was even featured in a monsoon pothole cartoon, featuring a lady enjoying a dip in my waters, a beverage in hand. Only a short time had passed since my rebirth, and I was a star already! 

Saddening incidents that cut deep 

Not all tales that came out of my rebirth were of the happy kind though. 

Because I was steadily expanding in girth and depth, I would send motorists’ workshop bills through the roof; the damage to their vehicles ranging from punctures, via bent wheels, to broken suspensions and damaged axles. I became a nightmare for daily commuters as their vehicles would get stuck in my body deeply submerged under water, bringing the traffic to a halt. Once a student was on her way to college on a rickshaw but its wheels got stuck in my deep hole. The poor girl had to get off and walk to the college amid the murky sewage mixed with rainwater.

I would inadvertently knock bikers off their vehicles when they would try to skirt round me, and it wasn’t long before I earned the sobriquet of ‘Terror Pothole’. But the worst was yet to come, and it occurred when I saw a family of two on a motorcycle fall while trying to avoid me and sustaining injuries. I was left devastated! Thankfully, they survived as the car behind them could stop in time, but I wasn’t so lucky. The incident prompted a Good Samaritan to brave dust and pollution on the busy road and take up the task of repairing me himself. After collecting broken bricks, gravel and stones from nearby areas, he filled me up with them. And that is how my life came to an end a second time. 

Why you should prepare for the unexpected

Unexpected events such as an accident or a critical illness can happen anytime, and sometimes additional finance is needed when dealing with emergency situations. Though the motorcyclist and the pillion passenger survived the fall, they ended up with multiple injuries and a hefty hospital bill. If only they had insurance, they would have found it easier to pay for their medical expenses! 

Be better prepared for sudden mishaps in life by signing up for a good insurance plan such as HDFC Life Click2Protect 3D Plus which covers death, disease and disability. To know more, click here.

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