Within seven years with our first vehicle, we have had three break failures. The first one was a major accident and the Lord miraculously saved us from it. It happened just within the first six months from the time we got our van. I did not know driving when I got the van. During the first month I hired a driver and he helped us in going to different places. By the second month I had courage to sit n the driver’s seat. By then I had secured a learner’s license and it was without much difficulty that I learnt to drive.
In August we went to Madurai in the van for the wedding of Joyce’s youngest brother. We took Rajan’s family and Selvaraj’s mother with us. From Madurai we accompanied their new car to go to Kerala for the wedding. We went via Kumali to Thiruvalla. Road was not very smooth as they had damaged road every now and then. I was running behind the car. The car driver was very fast. He would apply sudden break every now and then. I had to do the same. By the time we reached Tiruvalla my van had a crack in the break fluid kit and I did not notice it though I took the van for a check up before starting. After the wedding, in the afternoon we started our journey back. We were back on the same road to Kumali to go to Madurai.
It was around 4 pm. The car was going in front at 70-80 kms/ph and I was just behind them. We crossed Ponkunnam and there was a small slope. On the left there was a car standing on the road. Opposite came a lorry fully laden. As the car was standing on the road there was no place for me to go through. And I applied break. But pedal went right down and the vehicle would not stop. In the spur of the moment to save a collision with the car, I just turned the vehicle to my left and it went out of the road and in less than 10 feet there was a small mud hill and our van had a smooth landing on to the mud hill. The back wheel of the van was still on the tar road! Since there was no gutter between the road and the mud hill, no one fell or was there a jerk in the van. It stopped so smoothly as though someone had applied the break! Rajan’s little child who was sleeping in the van did not even wake up. No one fell from the seat. At that speed surely the van should have toppled if God had not protected us. If there was a pit instead, we would have fallen into it. It was truly miracle of the first order that saved us from that break failure.
How true is the scripture when it says, “The eternal God is our dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms”(Deut. 33:27).
When our people in the car did not see us for half an hour, they came back and saw what happened and one or two got in the car and left. Others went to Madurai by bus. I stayed on to repair the van and took it to Madurai the following day.
The accident took place just in front of the house of one my old seminary friends. In fact he was watching the whole scene. He entertained us in his house. I had my meals from their house two or three times till the van was ready to go.
The next break failure took place several years later. Once we went to a Kurumba village about 30 kms away. By then we were 3000 feet below our place! The hill road was very steep and narrow and winding. We went there to bring children to our hostel. The trip was smooth and successful. On the following day I was taking the van from our shed. I slowly reversed the vehicle. The van came out into the road. I applied break. There was no break and the van’s rear wheels fell into the small ditch which was there in the opposite of our house. I had to gather half a dozen people to lift the vehicle from the ditch.
If it had taken place the previous day, the ditch we would fall into would have been a 1000 feet deep in some places!
The third break failure took place a few moths later. We were going to Coonoor from Kotagiri. At an ‘L’ turn at 40 kms/ph, I applied break and found the speed was not getting controlled. I knew there was no break. So within the next one km, I brought the gear down from 4-3-2-0. And when the van was at 10 kms/ph finding that there was no vehicle on the road at that time, I jumped down from the drivers seat and put a stone in front of the front wheel and stopped the vehicle. Then I brought a mechanic and got it repaired and took the vehicle. We knew that it was time to dispose that vehicle which we did soon after.