It all started on June 21st, 2016 with the second goal by one of Turkey’s striker. My friend, who is Turkish by race but German by nationality, was extremely delighted. He had proposed for a round in his car if Turkey wins and gets into the round of 16 for the Euro cup 2016. Fortunately, or I would rather say unfortunately, Turkey won by 2-0 over the Czech Republic. We were four of us, all Indians apart from him. He drove the car and we headed towards Lindau Hauptbahnhof (railway station) that is hardly two minutes away from where we live. On the way, a Turkish fan waved his flag with joy. I too screamed, “Hurrah! Turkei hat gewonnen” (Hurrah! Turkey has won).
As we turned up in front of the Hauptbahnhof, it was pretty much empty except for a few cars showing their support for the Croats who had also won a match against the Spaniards. My friend suggested that we should go and check out for Turkish supporters all around the island. He had the steering wheel; we didn’t oppose. Yes, the Turkish fans had started gathering in number as we could see each and every car passing by us in the long, straight road ahead waving Turkish flags and cheering out loud. My friend had taught me some words like ‘Baba Morok’, so I too shouted on occasions. As we crossed the island, we took two circles of the roundabout and returned. By then, there had already been a gathering of Turks in front of the Hauptbahnhof. We joined them.
First of all, I want you to know that people generally never honk in Germany. But whenever a team wins a football match and there are enough supporters, they gather in a certain area and one can hear honking cars and screeching tires. That was the case. Almost twelve to fifteen cars and one small scooter were collected. Many of them came out and shouted in Turkish; I could understand nothing but was still excited. Some Croats were close by celebrating their victory, but they were outnumbered by the Turks. Just then, someone said, “Bregenz!” I could only hear the word. Bregenz is also a border city like Lindau but lies in the neighboring country of Austria. Everyone began to pump their engines. My friend wanted to follow them too. He asked us if we wanted to go with him since he did not want to go alone. We agreed. In a jiffy, we took off: honking and shouting and screaming.
Bregenz isn’t really far away from Lindau; it is just seven or eight kilometers away. But since we were almost twenty or more cars in a line, it took us sometime to reach the halfway. I played a song – the song that we normally like to hear while driving to our workplace. My friends at the backseat were excited too, but not as much as me. We were driving at an uneven pace: sometimes increasing it and at the other, braking.
We had exactly 3.2 kilometers to reach Bregenz (which I noticed later) that some cars in front of the long traffic line started to brake. By the time it reached us, we were unable to time it. Although the lady directly ahead of us as well as my friend applied their brakes on time, there were two autos behind us that didn’t. The last BMW auto banged into the one behind us which, in turn, banged into my friend’s auto. Thankfully, my friend had already applied the brakes so as soon as we got the one-foot-displacing hit from the back, our car only moved a foot forward and slightly hit the lady’s Mercedes in front of us. All of this happened within two seconds, I guess. It was the first time I was involved in an accident; I was definitely scared at first. The lady in Mercedes was all by herself. She started clicking photos of the accident. Four cars lined one after another with their bonnets hitting the tailgates of other cars – it seemed quite serious in the beginning. But, slowly, things started to get calmer and better. The last auto – the BMW – was being driven by a lady. There were two other girls in their late teens, I suppose. The car immediately behind us contained all young men. We were four young men too. It was quite a gathering.
Five to ten minutes of discussion later, they called the police. The Austrian police were quite quick to respond. Within five minutes, they approached the area of the accident and took some photos. Since I could not understand much of the German they spoke (although I understand a bit), I stayed back with my friends and started talking about ‘What if Turkey had not won today!’ The two girls in their late teens started taking selfies. I was startled. Even during accidents, they have time to take selfies.
The funny part was that the Turkish fans that had gone to Bregenz had started to return. They were still honking and enjoying themselves. Many of them were sitting on the window ledges of their cars. The police stopped one or two of them and, in my knowledge, made them pay a fine. As soon as the first few came to know about the police, all the other cars behind them stayed silent and stopped honking. It was comical to see them nicely braking in front of the police and speeding up immediately as they passed.
We passed our time chatting about nothing fruitful. After spending almost forty to fifty minutes of time and putting all the blame on the last BMW auto, we returned. The lady with the BMW, who now needed to pay the entire compensation amount, must’ve thought, “Why did Turkey win today?”
(22. 06. 2016)