Vivid memories of three accidents

Originally published here.

1. When I fell from my cycle.

I was riding my red colored cycle, the brand name was BSA, I don’t even know if it exists anymore. It didn’t have a carrier, unlike the conventional cycle we see every day. It had long metal vertical chords, which were adjacent to my seat’s end, and gave support to my back. My brother had a green one, I don’t know why but we use to call it mongoose, maybe because of the brand, it was smaller in size, had a carrier and was way cooler than mine. He got a new cycle and on the other hand, I got the one which my sister use to ride. I felt real jealous back then, and now I smile when I think about the same. One day I was riding fast, much more than I could handle back then, a turn was around the corner, but I didn’t feel like slowing down, and I went on to take the left turn with my increasing speeds. I crashed with a bang, skidding all the way across to the other side of the road, fortunately, no vehicle was coming from opposite side, but I didn’t feel fortunate back then, I didn’t even care if my knee was hurting, all I felt was fear that my father will scold me and will not let me ride anymore. All I cared was to make the bleeding stop, and somehow, I wanted to get rid of any marks and ensure that my father doesn’t come to know about it. I knew my father was still at the office and there was a good amount of time left before he came back. I didn’t go home immediately, I asked my sister to get the Soframycin for me and didn’t tell her reason for the same. I applied it on my wound which was still wet and flies were hovering over it. To stop the flies and to avoid other people who knew my family to notice me, I decided to keep cycling. Till this time I thought, things were under my control and by the time I will go home, in an hour or two, my wound would be gone and I will be new as ever. It started to pain more in a few minutes, the wound was still the same, the medicine over it had vanished, and then I realized I better go home, tell my mom and ask her to heal me before father comes. Mom was sad on seeing me, she started to take care of me, brought me water, cleaned my wound, grandma was watching from behind. All I was doing was talking them to hide this from my father and told her to put some medicine over it and make me wear full pants, so he can’t see what is happening inside. My mom didn’t understand the need to hide it, nor did anyone else, but grandma understood me and asked everyone to play along, maybe she knew what I was afraid of. Everything was planned, I had early dinner to avoid eating with my father. I was sitting on my bed in my room, there was no need for me to move or things to change. Everyone acted normal, I was afraid, more afraid that I had ever been before. I just didn’t want him to know that I fell from my cycle that I have broken my leg, I don’t know why but I just didn’t. He came to talk to me normally as he didn’t speak to me over dinner, as always he comes, tickles around and then sit beside me, and ask me to shift inside towards inner side of the bed. I was not able to say anything to him, just answered his questions in yes and no and just wanted him to leave. I was even afraid thinking that he knows already. But as he was smiling I concluded that he doesn’t know. A minute passed, he looked into my eyes and was saying something, I don’t remember what, but I started crying like anything. I didn’t speak anything just cried, cried and cried. He asked what is happening and why am I crying, but I just kept crying, mom had come to the door of the room, as she must have listened to my cry. He turned to her asking what happened, she didn’t answer and as I was crying her eyes even started to fill with tears. I wiped my tears and told him that I fell from my bicycle, he just looked at me and wondered how badly I have been injured. I took the blanket over my leg, raised my pant up and showed him the wound, it looked much smaller now than few hours before because of the herbal medicine applied over it. He looked at me again, and I started to cry again. He didn’t get angry, he didn’t scold me, all he did was hugged me for a long time till I stopped crying.

2. When my grandpa met with an accident.

The bell rang, I ran to the door as I always used to do when I was a kid. I opened the door, I saw my grandpa (I call him baba), with blood marks all over his white shirt, he always used to wear a white shirt. He was holding a helmet in one hand and a water bottle in other. He was looking very weak and he had his eyes filled with water. He was strong enough to climb three floors up and come home in an auto rickshaw from the location he met with an accident. I opened the door, he walked slow steps, very slow, I had never seen him like that. He always used to smile when he used to see me at the door but today he was different, I could understand that, but still he gave me a half smile and asked me to hold his hand. I walked him in, others were watching him in bad condition, and had understood by now that he had met with an accident, were kinda happy to see him alive and not heavily injured. He sat on the bed and then he left my hand. I was still in a shocked state, and couldn’t understand how bad things were. We used to have a long hall, one side of which were 2 beds, a corner table between them and television diagonally opposite to the corner table. Dining table in the remaining half, and then a pass way to the kitchen. Mother was standing at the hall kitchen junction, grandma was holding ingredients for the herbal medicine in her hands, she just wanted to heal grandpa and reduce his pain, she wasn’t much interested in knowing what actually happened and went to the kitchen to prepare the home-made special medicine. My sister was doing her homework sitting on the dining table, she stopped that once the bell rang and turned towards the bed where grandpa was sitting. Father was reading newspaper on the other bed. Mother gave water to grandpa, he drank it slowly with everyone in the house staring at him. He drank two full glasses of water before he could speak anything. He used to travel on his kinetic from the very beginning, it doesn’t even cross 30km/hr even if you try to, and has been his best companion for a long time. Every morning, after having breakfast, he leaves the house to visit three temples, and come back before lunch. On his way to the temple, a car going at high speed dashed him slightly, kinetic shook for a while, he was trying to gain back the balance of the vehicle, but within a few seconds, he lost it and fell down towards his right. Today I imagine, that if God existed would such a thing happen to a fellow who truly believes in him and chants his name every day. He had answered this question the same day, I just see it making sense now. He said it was God’s blessing, that no vehicle was coming in speed once he fell on the road else it would have crashed over him. I still don’t have a compelling argument to beat his statement which he made a long time back. Papa, Uncle and other members of the family were sad with this incident occurring and wanted to ensure that it doesn’t happen again and came to the conclusion that grandpa shouldn’t drive kinetic anymore, as he is growing old and should go in auto for his visits to the temple. When this thing was said to my grandpa, he declined it with very simple statements which I vividly remember. I haven’t grown so old that you have to decide for me what I should do and what I shouldn’t. I will let you know when I can’t drive the vehicle anymore. Don’t forget I was the one who has taught you all how to drive vehicles and how to lead a meaningful life. I can’t stop living my life because some mad person dashed my vehicle, I can’t stop if death comes my way in the form of an accident, all I will do is drive slowly and cautiously as I always do.
This might sound arrogant to some people but just imagine, what it takes to fall down by an accident, get injured and having the will to go back out there at the age of 70–75. With old age, a bit of arrogance comes in, but to live a life the way they want is something they deserve to live after the hard work they have put in for you to reach where you are today.

3. When my mom dislocated a bone due to an accident.

It was a Friday evening, I was at my hostel, sitting around with my friends deciding where we are going to have dinner tonight when my phone rang. Maa doesn’t generally call at this hour, she always calls around 10:45–11 in the night to ask me about my day and the custom is still the same. I picked up the call and started by saying yes Maa. On the other side, Paa replied saying I am Paa here and not Maa. By the tone of his voice, I was pretty sure something is not right because his tone is always loud and clear and never slow and calm. He calmly told me that Maa has met with an accident and if I could come home that would be good for her. I wanted to ask what happened is she fine, but didn’t bother and quickly packed my bag and left for my home. It takes me around 30–40 odd minutes to reach home from my hostel, and during that time, all I did was pray to God that he takes care of him and ensure that she is fine. I had turned to an atheist while living my life at college, but at this moment, no logic was making sense to me. I started to chant the name of God which my grandma had taught me while I was young. I wanted God to protect her so badly like nothing else in the world. I just wanted him to do that, I would have beaten him up if he didn’t do as I told him to. I was tensed, scared, I drove slow, as I knew no ones wants two accidents in the family on the same day. I reached home, parked my bike and climbed the stairs instead of waiting for the lift.
I was worried to see my mom injured. I was at the door and for that split second after I pressed the bell and my dad opened the door, I prayed again, and all I wanted was to see her fine and not in pain. The door opened, mom was sitting on the right sofa with a normal fracture band coming down from her neck. I stood there for a while, looking at her, to me she looked fine, and as I have seen a lot of people with the fracture band, I didn’t expect it to be something major. She smiled seeing me, I smiled back and then she cried. I sat near her asking what happened, she said nothing happened, that she is fine and kept crying. Dad was still standing after opening the door, looking at us both. Dad had been there all the while, from the moment, he received the call from an unknown person that mom is unconscious and we are taking her to the hospital. He knows what pain she has been through. Mom on the other hand, couldn’t remember much, she said, she was riding her vehicle on the road, was the last thing she remembered. The story of what actually happened didn’t matter to me or anyone as such. Something came on the road, she lost her balance and that's all. She knew something was missing in the shoulder area and she was titled on one side of the shoulder. It was minor observation which I couldn’t have noticed before dad explained to me what exactly is the injury. It has been a long time, in our family that we have faced accidents, and this was not a minor one. It felt like the spinal cord of the family had broken, and we were down until the time she gets back up. Mom didn’t want to notice what was wrong in her bones and it was not strong as ever. I and dad tried to explain to her that she shouldn’t carry heavy weights anymore like before else she will slow down the healing process. We were talking, and I knew she was not listening from her face. I asked her what she was thinking. She said I don’t know what I did wrong, I was not speeding, I was careful of other vehicles around, but I am still not able to understand what happened and I am not able to recall how much ever I try. The expression on her face was not fear, not sadness, it was just an expression of astonishment, not able to accept the nature of things, of how quickly things happened. Few hours back I was happily teaching students, you were at hostel and dad was at office, and with this game of time we are here and we have no control over anything.
I was smiling looking at her and didn’t know how to respond to such a conclusive statement. Somehow the accident of my grandpa in my child hood popped up in my head and I asked her if she remembered the accident of Baba a long time back. She said she does remember but what exactly am I looking for. I asked her if she would ride a vehicle again. She was scared, she didn’t want to fall again and go through another accident, she knew the answer I was expecting. She was not ready to say yes I will ride again. Dad said to boost her confidence, yes we will ride very soon. Mom was smiling looking at me still not sure. I asked her if she remembered what Baba said when she, father, uncles and everyone all stopped him at the age of 70 to not ride again. She sort of remembered, and I told her that exact words he said as I stated above in the second memory.
“I can’t stop living my life because some mad person dashed my vehicle, I can’t stop if death comes my way in the form of an accident, all I will do is drive slowly and cautiously as I always do.”
That turned out to be the best answer I could have ever given myself by just repeating words of my grand Baba. The game of time will never be in our control Maa, the only thing which is in our control is not to give up when we fall, we need to come back and live life the same way we always wanted.
I was scared, I wanted to protect her, I wish I could be her driver and drive her to all places she wants to go every day. But that would make her dependent on me and that is not a solution. When I look back, I still think I would have asked her to not ride and be safe, but I am glad I did and today when I see her ride again, all I can do is smile and remember the words of my Baba.
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