With the new road rules and the relatively draconian fines being levied in India for traffic and safety violations the modern equivalents of the ancient tribe of the ACHTU should be an endangered species although expert anthropologists believe they are robust and hardy enough to survive. Their rituals are centred around turning themselves in strawberry mush on the city streets and hence the acronym which stands for Accidents Cannot Happen To Us.
On a visit to New Delhi, the other day a cult leader tried to convert me by asking me to get into his car while he reeked of alcohol and slurred his words. I resisted and he badmouthed me. You have to be careful because when they wish to convert you they can act as good friends.
The ACHTUs have faith in the dictate that even if they are roaring drunk they will still play the odds and win. The spike they contribute to roadkill is a given and has stayed constant at 17 deaths an hour every hour of the day. It is an open season all year round and accounts for 33 percent of global deaths on the road. Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are their favoured sacrificial grounds and New Delhi has 40 times more deaths than London. Men are more prone to join the cult and many cheerfully leave behind grieving parents, heartbroken wives, shattered friends and broken families in their endeavour to stay faithful to their religious demands.
Their numbers are legion and spread all over India thanks to their invasive tactics in so-called dry states where there is a ‘let’s pretend’ prejudice against them.
The ACHTU faith is based on self-destruction as a sacrifice to the god Daru who is a cousin of the Greek god Bacchus, the guy with a fetish for leopard and other cats.
Any study of this tribe indicates their fondness for getting behind the wheel after being sloshed in an initiation that finds its roots in old parchments of wisdom collectively called WAITMIFS (What An Idiot This Man Is For Sure).
Having refreshed their memories of the WAITMIFS dictates these disciples will load up their vehicles with friends and relatives and give ‘hit the road’ a whole new meaning. As they go about replenishing their alcoholic intake from within the confines of their cars or the back seats of motorbikes their numbers will mount exponentially.
Gravediggers and the workforce at cremation grounds have discovered their overtime rises in pretty much the same progression thanks to this lot.
ACHTUs do engage in periodical sorties of sacrificing themselves during the year expressing their dedication to their principles but the last week of the year has a special significance.
One research paper shows that among the quaint beliefs these people have is their refusal to click into a safety belt because it might save them from dying a crushing death and this goes against the very tenets of their beliefs.
To fool non-ACHTUs and the cops, the more wise ones, simply drape the belt over their shoulders and get away with it, often succeeding in not reaching their home or destination, which is probably their aim at the outset.
There has been some debate over the fact that if ACHTUs wish to continue their deadly rituals they should be prevented from involving others by inviting them for the last ride. Diehards, however, claim that if anyone sober as a judge volunteers to get into a car driven by a guy who is all lit up then he is probably wishing to convert to ACHTU-ism anyway.
The only collateral damage is to the innocent bystanders, people sleeping on the pavement and others who get in the way but the ACHTUs contend they have the right to freely practice their religious beliefs. So strong is this belief that often enough they even take children with them.
One day some anthropologist will figure out what makes them tick.
Updated Date: Sep 06, 2019 12:21:15 IST