JournalismPakistan.com June 5, 2014
I was pulling out of a parking space when this twit in a hurry bumped my car from behind. So, after grimacing at the clanging sound, I moved my car back into the space and this guy he just drove off. Zip.
Hey, I shouted, hey being the stupidest thing to say, well second stupidest because ‘stop’ is by far the stupidest thing to say and we all say it. As if he is going to say, oh okay, if you say so, here I’ll stop, happy, did what you wanted. So, naturally, I yell ‘stop.’ And it is no marvel that he revs up and roars off or whatever it is that hit and run types do.
I come back home and tell everyone and discovered much to my chagrin that I am a lousy eyewitness. Everyone is on my case and advice is being flung at me in super-sized clods and there is a general consensus that the culprit should be brought to book and people like that deserve to be punished so let’s call the cops.
You see these movies like Law and Order and Cold Case where the cops are questioning a person of interest and he has memory recall of what he did at 7.32 pm on the third Tuesday last December and here I am unable to answer basics. Either that or the judge asks him what he ate on the night of the murder and he has it all down pat right to the celery sticks and vanilla ice cream. I don’t even remember what we had for lunch yesterday.
Now we are into the family war room debating strategy and sundry friends and relatives are gathering data.
Like, did you get the number plate?
I think there was a 5 in it, things happened so fast, also possibly a 9 but I can’t be sure, I was too busy yelling at him to stop.
You didn’t get the number plate?
That’s the first thing one does…said in a voice laced with lip curling contempt, like boy, we have an idiot in the family.
Well, I am sorry, I was a little rattled.
What car was it?
No, silly, his.
I don’t know, but it wasn’t a 4 wheel. (Great going there, sunshine.)
That leaves 2 million cars to choose from.
Look, it was sudden, okay, I wasn’t planning on writing a thesis.
What color was the car?
I think it was kind of whitish could have been light tan, the sun was bouncing of it, maybe a creamish whitish, lightish color like suitcases at airport baggage carousels.
That still leaves two million, sheesh, you are one terrible witness.
I wasn’t planning on being Oscar Pistorius, I was parking the flipping car, do you get the drift?
Did you at least get a look at the driver?
Wellll, I think it was a guy…
Look, it was only a second and the window was tinted and up and there is not much of a mark on my car, so let it go.
Yes, but there could have been a larger dent and he drove away, today a scratch, tomorrow a full on collision, it is the principle of the thing, we cannot let this pass.
Think, says a cousin, think back frame by frame (now we are Danny Boyle) you might recollect a vital clue you missed. Move over Columbo.
But there wasn’t a large dent and if he’d stopped I’d have all your answers, can’t we just get the mark repaired.
See that’s it, says a friend, we cannot be moral cowards.
What’s this we stuff, you weren’t even in the car.
And you didn’t get the number plate?
No, I am sorry, I didn’t.
For a journalist you are a pretty rotten observer, aren’t you guys supposed to see things others don’t.
Well, there was a car wash guy who was laughing when it all happened… if it helps.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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