October 9, 2014, 9.15-9.30 am, JVLR, Mumbai.
Not again. It was the nth time I had missed my bus! I took an auto to reach my office on time. How I had wished to skip work and do something else! Work was so boring. Not just today, it was the same every day. Yawn! I was so tired and sleepy. All I needed was a long vacation to put an end to the non-stop work. I could almost see Matoshri complex on my right on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR). In another five minutes, I would reach my office at Seepz and it felt only too soon. Yawn, today is only Thursday; I can’t wait for the weekend to come.
The forever packed JVLR touched Kamal Amrohi Studio on the left as my auto steered towards Seepz. I am too tired of my busy schedule, this has to stop. Bump! Thump! Crack! There came three loud noises from nowhere. W-what happened? W-where was I? Aaah! My left h-hand pained unbearably. My left leg was stuck under the auto. I was on the road. How did I—had I fallen from the auto? Or was it that the auto was toppled by a car driving adjacent to it? An accident it was, I had seen it happen all at once.
“My leg is under your auto, so lift the auto NOW!”
I yelled at the auto driver as I had struggled to pull out my leg. My leg pained. Aa-aa-rgh, my left hand was in terrible pain, what had gone wrong? I couldn’t even move it. I-I had, oh no, it was fractured! My left fore-hand had twisted, all swollen and bleeding with a deformity. I couldn’t look at it for long. The people around on the road hovered over me.
They were all talking something to me while I tried to concentrate.
“Madam, what is your name?”
“Could we call anyone from your office?”
“Madam, please get up.”
A hand came out of nowhere on my shoulder and I…
“Stop, d-don’t touch.”
“Madam, we are only trying to help you get up and take you to the nearby footpath. Please co-operate.”
Passers-by and people around had gathered to offer help but I was too panic-stricken to make any sense out of it. Words refused to flow through me. Why the hell couldn’t I talk? What happened to me in a jiffy? I was sitting in the auto and the next moment I was on the road, all baffled. It was terrible!
“Madam, there are two hospitals in the vicinity; SevenHills Hospital in Marol and Holy Spirit Hospital in Mahakali in Andheri East. Where do you want us to take you?”
“My family orthopaedic doctor is in Borivali. I want to go there.”
“But it’s too risky for you to wait that long considering your injuries. We would take you safely in an auto to any hospital that you suggest Madam. Please tell us.”
“Holy Spirit Hospital.”
“Madam if you tell us we could call anyone from your family or office to the hospital.”
“Call this number.” Please don’t ask to repeat, God, I can’t talk.
My family, friends and colleagues were pouring in at the hospital. Thankfully, I spoke only to the doctor and told him about the accident. Howling in pain, the x-ray procedure was another Herculean task. I wouldn’t allow anyone to touch my hand. The x-rays indicated that my left fore-hand had broken in two areas and had to be operated upon urgently. My left leg had deep multiple muscle injuries but no fracture.
“This is my PAN Card, Office Id Card. I’ve signed on the operation form. This is my Uncle and he’d sign as my family on the form.”
It had taken almost couple of hours for me to recollect that my Uncle who stayed nearby could be called.
The operation was done. There were two metal plates inserted in my hand.
An FIR was filed, however, with little or no details of the two vehicles (the auto and the car), we could not blame anyone.
The next few days at the hospital were a nightmare. I re-lived the pain each time I was taken to the Operation Theatre for dressing my wounds. I was home finally on the sixth day. I was on leave, of course on a long leave and I was happy to be at home. I was forced to take a vacation even though it was for a medical reason. Finally!
My respite was short-lived as little did I know that a plethora of challenges lay ahead of me. With my left hand immobilised, leg swollen and bandaged, I couldn’t even limp nor get up from the bed on my own. Confined to the bed, I could hardly move as I was instructed to maintain a certain angle with my fractured hand. To add to the mess, the pain was an ordeal to manage.
How did I hurt my hand? I tried hard but couldn’t recollect the series of incidents. It all happened so fast. The different sounds still rung in my ears, that of the car hitting the auto, the fall over of the auto and the breaking of my bone. The silence that followed these sounds was deafening.
When was the last that I had taken a break for myself? When was the last time that I had done anything only for myself? All that I could remember was that I had been working relentlessly. Did I deserve a break like this one?
In the meantime, I had developed skin infection as my body couldn’t accept the foreign bodies (metal plates). I was advised lots of medication and dietary restrictions. All kinds of recommendations poured in from all corners. I chanted positive affirmations for healing.
I started following the doctor’s advice with utmost care. I never failed to follow the diet restrictions even though it meant missing out on my favourite items. I had given up eating fish and meat already. To me, food was meant to heal rather than satisfy my taste-buds. I had summoned the Universe around to step into my healing.
Did I ever look at taking care of myself before? I started loving myself like never before. What a remarkable feeling that was.
People questioned me about numerous possibilities of things going drastically wrong than the way they had.
“What would have happened if any other vehicle on the road would have harmed you?”
“Why didn’t you scream?”
“Why didn’t you take any action against the auto driver?”
“How did you manage to be so brave and not panic during the mishap?”
“How did you bear all the pain?”
I was speechless and had no answer to any of their questions.
I joined work after over three months. I wasn’t healed but I was a completely new person then. I became someone who no longer was a workaholic, someone who never took life for granted, who lived every moment of life, who had learnt to look at problems differently, who had started thanking her problems for being there and more so, had begun to love herself the most. The accident had helped me turn a full 360 degrees. After all, how many of us are blessed with a second chance with life? Gratitude!