1. You know the feeling when you hear someone’s voice on the phone or get a message from them or just think of them during the day and immediately feel like everything is just fine in the world.My mother has always been that person for me. My sister and I grew up feeling that as long as our mother is around, then nothing was impossible. She was our pillar of support, our headrest, our filler of selfesteem, our reason to smile. When we started work, one of the first priorities was to get her to stop working and to finally start enjoying life by doing things she enjoyed. Which she did in her 50’s, we got her to travel to countries she wished to visit, to attend parties with her group of friends and do those activities she never had time to do before. She didn’t stop her from being there for all of us whenever we needed someone to look after our kids when either of us was posted abroad for work. We knew our children were in safe hands with her. We secretly enjoyed seeing her transmit to them the same values of resilience and hard work she had inculcated in us. Then one morning she was going to one of our relatives’ place early when her car was hit on the side by a guy driving under the influence of alcohol. I was getting ready to go to office when I got a call informing me of her death. It was the worst thing that anybody could have told me at that time.
I look back on this and feel like somebody has robbed my mother of some 20 years of her life that she worked for. She did not deserve to die, not for someone else’s mistake.
2. When I first met him, I was abroad doing my studies. It didn’t take long for us to fall in love. It was more a case of him falling for me and dragging me along with him. His energy and positivity was a breath of fresh air in my life. Prior to that, I had my engagement broken by a guy who was cheating on me. I had lost faith in love. But he made me believe again. By the time we came back to Mauritius for the vacation, we were so much in love; we realized we could not wait to start living together. We got married in 2009 and never went back because we felt like we had found what other people take a lifetime to find. We were ready to make all sacrifices to protect what we had and accepted to make a less ambitious career choice to make it work between us first. But it proved harder than we expected and we started getting into those small fights. One day we got into an argument and he went away and got drunk with his friends. He later called home and we spoke and made up. Having already had a first heartbreak, I was determined to do whatever it took to make it work. He was happy about it and started telling me about his plans for the future. He wanted to come to see me that night itself, I insisted he did not. Later I got a call informing me that he had met with an accident on the way. At about Soreze, he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into the side barriers. He died on the spot. That’s my story.
3. When we received the call that my mum has had an accident, the voice on the phone was hers but it wasn’t the person I have always known. She seemed so weak and terrified as she mumbled, ‘Mo’nn fer aksidan, vinn sers mwa.’ Next thing we heard was someone shouting ‘Madam sorti dan loto-la, li pou pran difé la.’ A thousand thoughts went through my mind at that moment. I remember thinking, ‘Please don’t die, please don’t die,’ as we rushed to the scene. When we were within some distance, I saw a car on fire and my heart sank imagining for a second that she was still inside. A crowd had gathered and there were some injured people lying on the side of the road. Then I saw her sitting on the dark asphalt. She got extremely lucky that a Good Samaritan got her out of her car just in time. When she saw us, she burst into tears. I felt terrible. This is an image that will stay with me for as long as I live. She had two broken ribs and her right thumb ligament was torn. The journey to the hospital was a torture; she writhed in pain every time they moved her for the crucial x-rays. She cried daily. She has to wear a splint and has been told she might need surgery if the ligament isn’t repaired. It’s been two months now and, when she closes her eyes, she can still see the headlights of the other car overtaking three other vehicles and lunching at her. And she can feel the metal crashing in. All this infuriates me. Had the other guy not been drinking he wouldn’t have overtaken on a bend where it’s forbidden. He would also have had enough reaction time to pull to the side instead of crashing head on into my mom’s car. When I talk to my mum, she tells me that her ribs still hurt and she doesn’t feel ‘whole’ yet. I think it will take a long time for our family to feel ‘whole’ again.
Road accidents are not just about statistics, every accident leaves behind so much emotion, so many shattered dreams and so many broken families. The stories above are based on real accidents that happened on our roads, though the names, places and events have been concealed to avoid gratuitous conclusions. They are further being posted with permission from the parties concerned. Without pointing a finger at anybody, we want to tell these stories, to give the victims a face and the sufferings of the families an expression. We believe these stories should be shared so that as many people as possible understand the pain that lies behind every accident and the harm we are causing by not trying a little harder to make our roads safe against drunk and reckless driving.