The Telegraph
Friday , June 20 , 2014
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Seconds of horror, minutes to sink in

Kaushik Bhattacharya was in the rear seat of his Renault Scala on the way to his Sector V office. The 41-year-old technical director, senior management consultant, KPMG, was waiting for the signal at Ballygunge Phari to turn green but before that could happen an “unimaginable” whack and jolt turned his Thursday morning upside down.

He narrated to Metro the 30 seconds that left him gobsmacked for many minutes.

Around 9.30am I had set out of my home in Swastik Apartments (beside Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan) and my car went past a tram that was blocking almost half the road after it came out of the Ballygunge tram depot. There was no driver in the tram and not a single passenger inside.

We were waiting at the Ballygunge Phari traffic signal when a loud sound and a jolt shoved me forward with immense force.

I was in the rear seat when I suddenly felt something resembling a whiplash at the back of my neck and fell forward.

I banged my head against the front seat but managed to pull myself up and look behind.

To my horror, I saw a car pushing my Scala from behind. Before I could react, my eight-month-old car had hit the one in front.

Almost simultaneously I turned to my right… a tram was ploughing through a pile of cars. I instinctively tried to get off my Scala but the rear-left door was jammed.

Before I could realise what was happening, my car was bulldozed out of the way.

Mine was the seventh among nine cars that came in the path of the tram on the loose.

Images from The Runaway Train ran before my eyes.

I am in the line of a runaway tram left unmanned on the streets of Calcutta.

It was unbelievable!

It was over in 30 seconds but it took me at least 30 minutes to gather what had happened.

My driver had unfastened his seat belt by then and shifted to the left seat to avoid getting injured.

It was raining and I had to take two aspirins in the car to ease a sharp pain at the back of my neck.

My driver then pushed open one of the rear doors of my blighted silver sedan.

I stood there for at least 10 minutes, too stunned to react. Something like this is simply unimaginable.

I called the car company and got it towed to the garage before walking back home — in shock. Don’t think it will be out of the garage in less than two weeks.

I was in the US for 13 years and had bought this car in October last year after returning to Calcutta the month before.

I will be claiming insurance and have lodged a complaint with Gariahat police station.

It’s about time the government did something about the technology that runs trams.