Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Accident

On the fateful day, 26 March 2005, I met with an accident.
When I was riding my bicycle, I found that it moved more effortlessly than the one I rode the previous day. I thought I would have to spend lesser energy this time.
We reached on the other side of the trail from where we started and waited for some other friends to join. There were 10 of us totally-Vijay, Shiva, Sudarsun, Sriram, Gopi, Balaji, Sharmila, Suchitha, Deepika and last but not the least, the most important character in this story…I, me, myself.

We thought why not get adventurous and try going on a different route, whose other end joined the road around the lake. The road we chose was in really bad shape. Not the kind inexperienced riders like me should experiment with. But my friends were used to cycling on such roads, thanks to Nanganallur, where they have spent almost their entire life.

Deepika wasn’t feeling quite well and was riding at a slow pace. Shiva, Sharmila, Balaji and Suchi went ahead leaving us behind.

This place was kind of isolated from the busy, city-like atmosphere just a few meters away. The only sound we could hear was that of our cycles and us.

We reached a junction where we had to turn left. Gopi and Sriram went first. Vijay and I were waiting for Deepika and Sudarsun. I peeped to see where we were to go only to find a sloping, muddy and black stretch of the road, full of big and small stones. I said, ”Oh! My God! We have to cross this?”

I turned back to find Deepika and Sudarsun making their way uphill slowly. I thought ‘Ok, let me try and cross this. I’ll wait at the other end.’

I didn’t want to dirty my new shoes I had bought the previous day, and so told myself to try crossing without placing my foot on the ground. Now, riding on an uneven road without balancing with my foot when needed… that was a complicated task for me. But then I trusted my stars and boldly started to pedal.

I was moving fast… too fast, at which Vijay, amazed by my speed (that’s one adjective no one can associate with me), commented “Hey! Fasta porae?”

The very next moment…the sound of clanging metal and my scream, ”Aaaah!”
I think just then Sudarsun and Deepika reached where Vijay was standing, only to see me flat on the ground.

I had fallen flat on my face. For a minute, I didn’t understand what happened.
The first thought that ran in my head was- I didn’t want to dirty my shoes and now I am completely wet and muddy from top to bottom.
As I tried to get up, something fell out of my mouth, which I managed to catch it at the right time. The one thing I feared…and it turned out to be true…Yes, it was my TOOTH!

‘Good Heavens! What is going on???’

By then, Vijay dropped his cycle and ran towards me. I showed him the white thing on my palm, still unable to believe that it was indeed my tooth, ”Is this a tooth?”

But it slipped off his palm before he could see it.

My thoughts were speeding away as if they were all on a superhighway and running away screaming ‘the –world –is –going -to –end-run-run’

I was horrified when I realized that I had broken my tooth.

I started crying in pain, not the physical pain, but the pain that I had no answer to my questions, especially the last one:

How will I go to college on Monday and meet the placement head?

How will I attend the interview?

Now, who will marry me?

Oh! No! God, Why me?

I was bleeding. Thank God! There was a house nearby and a hand pump behind it. As I cleaned my mouth and spat the water out, I feared some more pieces of my teeth would fall along. I struggled to see some white pieces of teeth on the ground but was relieved to find that only one tooth was broken.

Deepika was trying to console me saying, ”Nothing happened, don’t worry. Everything will be fine,” She was chanting, ”Om Namah Shivaya”. As she said later, that was the only prayer she could remember then.

I could see nothing but darkness lying in my future. My only worry was- how on earth could I attend the interview in this condition?

Even the old lady who was living in that house repeated the same thing that Deepika had said. She suggested that we take a taxi to the Van Allen Hospital in the town.

By the grace of God, some guys who came across that way helped call a taxi and in a few minutes, Sudarsun, Deepika and I were on our way to the hospital.

It was dark by then, and being new to this place we had no idea where the taxi driver was taking us. We reached the hospital after what seemed like a long nightmare of fears.

Sudarsun met a person inside and explained that I had met with an accident and I needed help.

The person asked him, ”Does the patient need a wheelchair?”

I thought ’ What! A wheelchair? Thank God, I didn’t need one.’

Sudarsun replied that wheelchair was not required and asked where the doctor was.

The person said that she was in the ICU.

On hearing the term ICU, Deepika was shocked,” What? The ICU?”

We waited in a room where the nurse there examined my wounds and said that I had cut my lips, but a suture wouldn’t be necessary. I was relieved and thanked God ‘Ahh! No stitches!’

In the mean time, in the place where I fell down, there were only three people and they had to return 6 cycles to the place where we had rented them.

Gopi was the hero, as he could successfully tow two cycles in addition to the one he was riding. Somehow they managed to return all the cycles safely.

After a long time, the doctor was located and was called to where we were waiting.
She examined me again and asked,“ Do you have the broken tooth?”

I shook my head no.

She said,” Ok, you will need just one stitch on the lip.”

I thought’ What!!?’

I asked her,” Is there any way to treat this wound without a suture?”

Doctor: Yes, it is possible, but that will take longer to heal. It is better to go for a suture.

Me: Then will you give me local anesthesia, please…

Doctor: Ok.

And then she turned to the nurse and asked her to prepare for the tiny operation procedure.

As I was made to lie on the bed in the mini operation theatre, I observed a thin white pipeline on the ceiling with the word “Oxygen” painted on it. That rang a bell in my head…Yes, I remember, I have read about such pipelines to the operation theatres in ‘Coma’, the novel by Robin Cook.

Before starting the procedure, the doctor asked me again if really needed anesthesia.

Doctor: If I stitch without anesthesia it will pain only once. But with anesthesia it will pain twice, once for injecting it and next time when I stitch.

I said ok and opted to proceed without the anesthesia. She promised that if the pain were unbearable then she would use it.

She covered my face with a green cloth, which had an opening for my mouth. She explained step by step, what she was doing, to assure me that it would be over soon.
As the needle pierced through my lips for the first time, she told that there was one more left and then it would all be over. I felt like a fish caught by the fishing hook.

I waited for another piercing…and then the operation ended.

I felt like I had won a battle ...really! A stitch without anesthesia …that seemed like an achievement for me! I felt stronger and more confident than ever.
It was a pleasant surprise for me to know that I could bear so much pain with such ease.

One thing I observed all this time was that I was very calm (except for my unanswerable questions) and my thought process was much more clear than the two angels with me. (May be because I believed what Deepika had told me earlier…it’s just a tooth!) They were too confused to do a thing right. Later Deepika told me that they had indeed become so tensed that they didn’t know what to do. Yeah, I understand… had I been in their place, I would have been rooted to the ground like a statue.

As I came out of the hospital to return to the hotel, I saw the view on the left.
The dark blue mountains bathed with the moonlight above. It reminded me of a dream that I had seen a long time ago. In the dream I saw myself on the top of a hill under a very huge statue of Jesus Christ and the full moon above flooded the valley with its light. And just some time ago, Deepika had showed me the picture of a baby with some words in Tamil under it… I don’t remember the words but it roughly meant that Jesus is with you through all your troubles.

I couldn’t hold back my tears…did that dream actually tell me that I was to meet with an accident? I strongly believe that everything happens with a purpose. But I never thought that my belief would prove itself like this.

When I entered the hotel with Deepika holding me tightly in her arms, I saw Meenakshi walking towards us. And as she came closer, her eyes widened in disbelief. Soon she came over it and hurried to get our room key.

Once in the room, I couldn’t wait to change my wet and soaking dress. The bathroom mirror showed me something I should live with forever in my life… the front tooth, shattered and robbed of its existence, screaming out to me that the tooth is a mere mortal but the proof of its mortality is immortal.

Soon m’am and sir were in our room. Both were shocked to see my condition. Deepika told them” Nothing happened, Sir. It’s just a tooth. It can be restored.“
Sir repeated it in a questioning tone ”It’s just a tooth?” Maybe he could foresee my future then… it’s not ‘just’ the tooth, it’s the tooth itself that matters.

I was so overwhelmed to see the way everyone took care of me that it made me cry. I can never be so caring. Later, after the campfire, one by one my classmates came to see me and wish me ‘get well soon’. I could talk with some difficulty. I told what happened and flashed a toothless smile. At one point, we seriously thought of collecting 10 rupees per visitor. We would have been richer by a few hundred rupees. I had a good time being the center of attraction for some time. I took a snap with some of the visitors. I also took a snap with team that rescued me. The photos would be uploaded in a week or two.

Rajesh kept warning me,” There are people around you now to share your sadness. But you won’t have them every time you need them… so don’t get depressed.”

I said, ” Depressed? Not at all!”

But every time I see my teeth in the mirror, I cannot help but get depressed.

They say that some things or turning points in your life completely change your viewpoint and the way you look at life. It has in my case, literally… before, I used to observe other’s eyes, and now I notice their teeth first!


Sai said...

Don't feel bad about the "after shocks" of your accident. It's really unfortunate that it has happened to one of the prettiest girls of our class. but the injury isn't too much. it's after all a tooth. throw it aside and get back to business.

charan said...

i need to known abt u more can u join the community which i have started in orkut only for sourashtrians AMIPALKAAR