I had a brush with death today
I was driving in the streets of Mumbai today morning. Following the rules of the road and laws of traffic and driving safely in the left hand side of the road when all of a sudden a three wheeler tempo came mounting up its front wheel and rammed my vehicle with a collision that smashed most part of the right hand side of my car.
Before I could realize what had happened the street was packed with traffic jam and the driver of the tempo was staring with a gaze as though not realizing what had happened. Neither did he move his vehicle nor was he getting out of it, but instead shouting at the now suddenly congested traffic to move aside so that he could drive by.
I was absolutely jammed in the car unable to move as the impact had shut the front right side door with brute force. All I could see from my driver’s seat was that the right hand side, headlights, the complete bonnet of my car was thoroughly damaged and there were glass pieces from my car on the surrounding area from the quick impact. After a long gap of about 5 minutes which seemed like ages to me, the driver from the tempo started his vehicle and started slowing backing it up. I could see there was no visible damage to his tempo.
I kept trying to move out of the car but that impact had pushed in the pieces of metal with sheer angst into the vehicles heart so fiercely, that there was hardly any place for me to move from the driver’s seat or even try to open the door.
The left hand side was impossible to move or get out from too. Somehow I managed to reach the backseat and from the only door that seemed to be opening, I got out and walked towards the tempo driver.
I asked him for his driving license. He showed no remorse and no regret for his actions and clearly told me that he does not have a license and that he has been driving for over four decades, apparently because of which he needed no license.
My vehicle was stationed in the same place at the left hand side of the road. He refused to come out of his vehicle. As the enormous mass gathered, I called for the police station immediately, got a few local stations numbers and began dialing them. Then I walked towards my car and got shook up as I saw the damage. It was painful to watch the damage done to my car by the driver of the tempo who was standing as though he was one of the onlookers from road. He then started getting out of his tempo and I walked towards him asking for his license again.
It was only then that myself and everyone gathered around realized that this guy was completely under the influence of alcohol.
He had a timid and retiring disposition to his movements too as he swayed and started stuttering in a tone influenced by heavy alcohol. He was creating a racket towards me as he pointed towards everyone as though asking for their support by shouting, “Why are you driving on the left side, don’t you know you have to drive on right side?” I called up the police station and meanwhile he called up his contacts who in another 20 minutes or so quickly came and handed the guy what clearly looked like the drivers license and tempo papers. He was still refusing to come to the police station.
Meanwhile the cops had arrived and after a big discussion we all went to the police station nearby. The cops were very helpful and supportive. They spoke to me and they spoke to him and his heroic gestures and sarcastic remarks were proof enough coupled with his swaying walks and fetid breath that screamed of heavy alcohol all the while.
By the time the process of FIR was complete and I left with the necessary copies and papers, half the day had already passed. I had to call up for the tow truck to drive my car all the way to Ghatkopar for getting the damages fixed as the car was in no condition to be driven.
The tow truck came and it lugged my dear vehicle and as we drove towards the garage I could only feel the malevolence with which that guy had rammed my beautiful vehicle into such a horrid looking metal beast.
I can still feel the impact on my bones as I am typing this up. I can still clearly hear the glass pieces shattering and the metal crushing the other parts of the car. Onlookers were constantly wondering how someone could survive such an impact looking at the condition of the vehicle as they saw me scurry inside the vehicle just to make an attempt to crawl out of it.
This mishap and the waiting process till the cops had come had taken more than 30-40 minutes. Till then I stood there alone trying to stay near my car and keep a watch on that ghastly tempo driver so that he does not get away or drive away with his friends. As I waited for the cops to arrive, I could clearly see that the tempo drivers contacts had gathered around and were helping him with so many things with the tempo and his appearance.
There was a beauty salon nearby and there were two ladies out there who after seeing the incident like the scores of passersby and onlookers nearby, were at least kind enough as they approached towards me and in kind and subtle voice asked me if I needed anything, like water or a place to sit.
That’s when I realized, at that given moment; I was standing there alone till that point of time with no help and no sign of any other form of support for over 30 minutes after going through such wreckage.
It was the worst feeling anyone could have. It is feeling lonely and unwanted or uncared for when you already are in pain, both physical and mental. I said to myself, that the feeling of being unwanted or uncared or lonely is even worst than having no food or money.
Now this tempo driver, who had broken all the rules of the road in a single go, who was also completely drunk at 11am in the morning, standing there supported by his group of friends and I was out there standing alone. I found myself going through a stage of soliloquies as I stood there alone during that moment.
Somehow, after leaving the car in the garage, the journey back home in the auto rickshaw was much worse than the journey with the car as it was getting towed.
I don’t know now how much time all this process is going to take. But I got one thing right again for the millionth time in my life, “Life isn’t fair”
But that does not mean, I am not going to drive again or am scared that I felt death brush by me so closely today.
I am as human as you could be, yes. I feel pain and fear as much as the other guy, I too fall and land on my face at times.
But then I get up and I for sure don’t give up. Whether its people or routine life. I like to offer life a second chance because I know that deep down, someday the regret of not taking that second chance or not trying for something may be just that one more time might be more painful than anything else.
Life is too short to waste it on assumptions, ego or anger.
Today’s experience has taught me and made my anything but bitter. In fact, I have added so much energy into my mind and system after my brush with death today, that I am more than going to welcome decisions that I might have otherwise refused or said no to. Like I said, ‘Life is too short to waste it on assumptions, what ifs, ego or anger.’
I am not going say things like ‘I am thankful for another day’ no, that’s not my style, but yes, I will for sure from today make life worthwhile and positive for at least one person each day some way or the other.
After all, you only live twice!
Have a great day ahead.