Mumbai: It took barely a second for her life to change.
For Charu Khandal, 26, that second was when a speeding car hit the auto she was traveling in. She spent three months battling for her life in a hospital; doctors gave her a slim chance of recovery.
Charu survived but has been paralysed neck down since then.
Around midnight on March 25, 2012, Charu and two others were travelling in an auto rickshaw from Andheri to Malad in suburban Mumbai when a speeding car hit them from behind. Charu suffered multiple fractures in her head, ribs and spine.
Speaking to NDTV from her home in Rajasthan, the wheel-chair bound Charu says, "I remember a black car banging into our car." (India's Killer Roads: Finding Solutions)
She adds, "We later got to know that the other driver was not following any traffic rule. He was another youngster; if someone from our age group does this, it is a shame. He was speeding and he came and hit our auto."
The accused, who was booked for rash and negligent driving, was immediately released on bail.
It took two years for the trial to start.
"I was a 100 per cent self-dependent girl and today I am 100 per cent dependent on my parents. Everything has changed," says Charu.
Charu also points out the loopholes in the system, saying, "Rules have been made but they are not being followed. Those who have money pay their way out. We lodged an FIR. Yet, within a few hours, the accused was out."
Her parents echo her sentiments, "We want results. If everyone is doing their job, why don't we see any results? Our lives have changed forever. We never thought this would happen. We will take care of Charu. We dream of the day when Charu will get up and walk on her own."
To worsen the woes of accident victims, such cases are often not taken seriously by the overburdened police force, and they end up waiting for years for the trial to start.