If anything must go wrong, it will.
So observed Edward A Murphy in his eponymous law. In my case, it all went way too wrong, almost to the point of changing my life altogether. The month of December this year was a tad too unlucky for me (the ill-effects of Lord Shani, said my knowledgable astrologer cousin). A crippling accident, stinking (for want of a better word) first year results, and what not! My allotted ‘blogging time’ of one hour does not permit me to blabber about the results, guess it will have to wait until my next post. Let me take this opportunity to describe the event that brought about a sea change to the course of my existence, literally and otherwise. You might notice that this post is almost staid with ironies, but I assure you. This is NOT fiction. Every single word of this is hard-boiled, in-your-face truth. Period.
December 3: An unforgettable day for my friend Prasanth, who first talked to the girl of his dreams this day, two years back. Interestingly, the third of December is also celebrated worldwide as the International day of disabled persons! L That day, I had a C Programming lab exam at college. Dad usually drops me to college since his office (at Vydyuthi Bhavan, Pattom) is a stone’s throw from my college. I needed to reach college pretty early that day so as to attend a meeting of the Aagneya sponsorship committee (of which I was a member). Dad was too busy with his chores and files to travel early, forcing me to find my own means to travel to college. I had a Birthday Cake to carry that day. We had planned a birthday party to a particularly-reticent but brainy classmate who hasn’t celebrated his birthday till date. So, a few friends and I decided to surprise him with a grand treat. It was my job to ready the gifts including the cake. The cake, as you know, is the frailest of eatables. To salvage the already battered (thanks to my ‘knowledge’ about transporting cakes) cake from total destruction, I decided to forfeit the bus commute and use the bike to travel to college. Obviously, I would regret the decision later!
The bike is a Bajaj 4S Champion. Technically, it isn’t even mine. It belongs to my uncle (mom’s brother), and was literally rusting to death at my mother’s native place, untouched for almost four years on end! (When you have a flashy new Enfield and robust Qualis, why care for the old Bajaj??). Fresh after acquiring my driver’s license, and armed by a willing support from my dad and uncle (who was only too happy to give the bulk of mostly metal & scrap away), I decided to bring home the monster and make it my own. After a routine service, it was back in action, and became my trusted ride (only to nearby places, of course!). However, parental restrictions, or perhaps mere indolence from my part renewed its shelf life. Due to prolonged periods of non-use, the bike’s battery wore out, rendering its horn almost redundant. Still I’d ride it to college once in a while.
That day, I had to employ a fair share of pleading and pouting to get Dad’s permission. Dad was reluctant, disturbed by the fact that the traffic police had started helmet-scouting once again. I had to employ some top-grade theatrics, describing my safe-driving habits to bring the ball to my court, on a condition that I’d have to call dad up as soon as I reach college! (During our sojourns with dad in the pillion, I deliberately used to go dead slow, following every SINGLE rule in the book so as to impress dad! Guess that worked in my favour 😉 ). When I was about to leave, mom made an acidic comment: “Innu vaikittu nyaan oru phone call expect cheyyunnu. Ninakku accident aayi ennu paranju.” (I’m expecting a phone call today evening that you had an accident). Almost scoffing at it, I kick started the engine and sped off…
The ride to college was almost filled with fun & frolic. I enjoyed that familiar sensation of the wind playing on my face, matting my hair. The groan of the frail 100 cc engine as the speedometer inched to 60 was music to my ears. I played it safe; never taking risks, not even overtaking unless there was a plausible gap. The day at college went by quickly. I realized that it was futile reaching the college early. The meeting I was supposed to attend didn’t happen after all! I couldn’t attend the birthday ‘party’ either, since the exam for my batch was scheduled at 2 ‘o’ clock, exactly when the whole event was planned. Thanks to my typing speed and neat C skills, I got the output fast and got out. Mouthing the last piece of the Birthday cake a friend Anisha had saved for me from the party, I left college with Mithun (my classmate) in pillion. Mithun stays at Karamana. So despite his polite suggestions at dropping him at Law College Junction, I left him at PMG for his sake, deciding not to go home via the short-cut: LC Junction –to- Pottakkuzhy route. When I reached Pattom Junction, I was reminded that I need to visit Prasanth’s place to get a few movies from him. Which made me turn left: to the medical college route. Again, a wrong decision!
Surprisingly, there was little traffic there. So, I increased my speed to forties. When I reached Vydyuthi Bhavan I noticed that a bus was parked in the stop. But there were no vehicles in the right side. I gathered that I could overtake the bus and move through the right side. I didn’t notice this man crossing the road at a snail’s pace, first. He was almost doing it in a casual way – airily speaking into his Nokia N73 (Did I realize that I’d be calling Dad in that same phone minutes later?), not even looking my side. I tried to alert him desperately with my horn, but alas; even I could barely manage to hear the odd-creaking sounds it made. Trying to avoid the man, I shifted to the right track. Suddenly, a bike came at my direction from the opposite side. Alarmed, I swayed to the left dodging the bike, only to hit the unassuming man with my shoulder. I lost balance and felt my body dislodge from the bike and pummel into the air. Passers-by saw another superman in action, almost flying in mid-air for about a second, only to fall; left shoulder hitting squarely on the road with a thud, rolling a few times, finally shoulder and left forehead screech on the road, bringing everything to a halt.
It all happened so fast that it took me a fraction of a second to realize what happened, lying on the road. I gingerly got up, only to see my bike lying in the middle of the road; headlight & vizor shattered, with another bike nearby. A man was getting up, pulling up the other bike, which apparently did not have much damage. Seemingly, when I fell, my bike jerked and hit the one that was coming against me, causing that hapless Super Splendor to fall. I held my forehead, realizing that it was injured. Half-reassuring myself that the accident was minor, and that I didn’t have any broken parts, but for a few wears and tears I walked to the bike. A torrent of thoughts rushed into my mind at that point of time. The most prominent of them being parents’ reactions on the event. ( I can’t recollect more thoughts now. It’s been a LONG time, y’know.)
Before I could give headway to more thoughts, a sea of people surrounded me. Many were trying to help me out. Others were plainly gazing at me almost as if I were some newfound celebrity. One guy shifted my bike and parked it to a nearby place. They were questioning me whether I had any problems, asking me to raise my hand, examining me of any injuries, et al. The care and concern of the people around made me feel good. People aren’t as insensitive as those exaggerated news reports say! I meekly replied to most of their questions, returning the coldest of stares to those who stared at me, and showing an equal dose of politeness to those who were genuinely helping me out.
A quick examination of my body revealed injuries near the right thumb, right & left knees, just above the right ankle, forehead & ear (which was the worst of them I thought). Then it occurred to me that the functionality of my left hand was somewhat impedimented, authenticated by a sharp pain when I moved it. It was then that I saw the portion above my favourite Park Avenue shirt was literally shredded to pieces. (The impact was so severe!) It looked like a hot Iron box had been kept on it for some thirty minutes! When I felt the portion with my right hand, I felt something uneven. A more thorough examination gave me the shock of my life. A bloody broken clavicle. I could feel the broken bone with my bare hands. A fracture! (Impending university exams! Shit!) A PG Medical student who was standing nearby corroborated my views.
The part that angered me the most was the reaction of the guy whom I’d hit. He was loud-mouthedly explaining the whole thing to newly-arrived passers-by. From his words, I could gather that it was ENTIRELY my fault. Damn him!! If it hadn’t been for him jumping onto my way, I would have passed unscathed, true that my speed was way above normal. My reticent nature and my palpitated state forbade me from replying to him. By now, I was sitting by the side of the road, drinking a glass of water politely offered to me by a nearby tea-shop-owner. The people had reached a consensus that I be admitted to a nearby hospital. The guy I’d hit now came to me, and inquired how I felt. I felt like hurling the choicest of abuses on him, but I remained silent, muttering: “My dad’s working in Vydyuthi Bhavan, and I have no balance in my mobile. Could you please inform him?”
His expression changed: “Nyaanum avideyaanu work cheyynnathu. Achante perentha?”
(I’m working there too. What’s your dad’s name?)
“Ramesh Babu. Deputy Chief Engineer, TRAC”.
“Nyaan ariyikkaam.” (I’ll inform him)
“May I have your mobile please? I think I need to talk to him.” I didn’t want some third person to twist the entire situation to dad. He should hear it from the horse’s mouth.
I called dad in his Nokia N73 (yeah, that same phone!). Surprisingly, dad was speaking in a calm and taciturn tone. He matter-of-factly replied me to remain there and that he’d arrive soon.
Now that the traffic police also arrived, my heart started beating. Yeah, I had my license, but the bike’s RC Book was with dad. He did not replace it after he’d once taken it for photocopying. God, will this be a Police case?? Will I have to go to the traffic police station? My mind was numbed to the point of non-functionality, and the people around me kept asking rather dumb questions. I was incensed. Dad’s arrival brought a lot of relief. He schmoozed with the people around (including the guy who jumped in front of my bike) to get an idea of the situation, half smiling at me in the process. The traffic policeman came to dad and asked him if we had any complaint. Dad replied that we had none, and that he would settle all financial claims, if any. That satisified the policeman, who disappeared instantly. (Whew!) He gave his number to the splendor guy (who apparently had some slight damage to his bike too), assuring him that he’d get his payment. Then he came to me and presented his trademark sardonic smile: “Nyaan appozhe paranjille?”(Didn’t I warn you?) I couldn’t reply. Soon a few colleagues of dad brought our car outside. We got into the car, and Dad drove us to the nearby Cosmopolitan Hospital.
[End of Part 1]
P.S. I know this is TOO long. Can’t afford to type more now. If you feel this one’s a bit sloppy, erm… Try to realize that I had just one hour to type these three long pages out, with a fractured clavicle! Empathy please!
More info about my stint @ Cosmo, my surgery @ SP Fort et al next year, oops, in the next post! 😉 . Happy New Year, dear readers!!