Every driver on the road was gaping at the Black Mercedes. They had slowed down to admire its impeccable craftsmanship. Its glistening body in the night-lights. And when the signal turned orange, surprisingly, nobody accelerated to beat the signal. Instead, every vehicle came to a halt. Stopped. and their heads turned towards this black beauty that shone like a moon in the starless sky.
Even though I’m not an automobile enthusiast, still I couldn’t take my eyes off of this beauty. There was something very appealing about this car. They must have changed something in their design. But what exactly they changed, I couldn’t tell. It was something, I was sure of that. I couldn’t express that in words
Maybe an industrial designer or a true car enthusiast would be able to tell the difference. But for the uninitiated in car design making like me, it had an effect similar to the effect a symphony has on the ears of an untrained listener. We can’t distinguish one notes from other, can’t break down a melody into its constituent parts but still enjoy the overall beauty of the composition.
I looked at the car again.
Mercedes are not rare on Indian Roads. And in Pune, you can easily spot a Mercedes with a frequency with which one used to spot cows roaming on the road ten years ago. It was definitely a brand new model. There were no sharp edges on its body, no start or beginning to its curves. It was continuous everywhere, each line melting into others, each edge perfect, each surface sublime, the continuity of its design akin to the Bach’s symphony played on the loop.
The burning aroma of its virgin engine was still fresh in the air. Even though the driver hadn’t killed the engine (I could tell that from the faint vibration of its body) there was not even the slightest sound coming out of the engine. It was like as if I was watching a car on TV without a sound. It melted my heart that very instant.
It was a few moments after that I realized that the signal was green now. In fact, nobody around the car had realized that. Only when the drivers far back started honking that we realized it was time to move. And slowly we all did. The cars at the start of signal started moving out, then those in front of me, and then along with the Black Mercedes I also started moving forward.
Everyone wanted to stay for some more time, to look at this beauty for a little more. But it couldn’t go forever. We all knew that we all had to go. And with one last appreciative glance, everyone started racing ahead. So did I, raced ahead with the other cars, leaving behind the Mercedes which was cautiously moving ahead. As I was about to lose the view of the car in my side mirror, as its views stared growing smaller and smaller in the square of the mirror, I gave it one last glance, to capture its shape and form in mind, to be relished later.
But then the car stopped shrinking, and soon it started growing. Mercedes had started accelerating, it was speeding ahead. I was trying hard to keep looking straight ahead but it was hard to do that. I kept on stealing glances at the majestic beast came closer and closer.
As I was doing that, driving straight and also looking into the mirror. I heard a loud cacophony, a macabre of a sound. A sound that every driver on road fears listening to. A sound of someone’s vehicle bumping into the someone’s else’s. It was not my vehicle’s sound. I didn’t feel the impact.
I pulled over and looked into the side mirror. The Mercedes had stopped moving. So did all the other cars in its vicinity. I got out and started walking towards the car. As I got nearer I saw the stopped car. From behind it was rising a thin streak of smoke. An old one tonner was pasted at its back. Its hood smashed halfway into the car body. The one tonner had banged onto the Mercedes. Mercedes was totaled.