‘Maybe it takes a near death experience to make you feel alive’ – Frank Ocean
I can hear vehicles passing by, there definitely wasn’t any screeching sound; that is probably a good thing my mind is telling me. I slowly try to get up using my left hand which touches the tinge of green grass surrounded by scores of gravels. I see Prateek not too far away from me getting up steadily, the scooter lay still with its wheels still trying to drive it further away.
The traffic on my right is flowing freely, I turn slightly towards my left and see what looks like a poorly crafted wooden fence. The other side of the fence seemed a deep pit which led to the creek.
“Harry are you okay?” shouted Prateek as the wind carried his voice effortless towards me.
I nodded while looking at my hands and legs; it all looked normal till then. As I was examining myself for possible broken limbs, I see a dash of red flowing from my dirt filled palms and elbows. I look down and see my shoes are still on my feet, my backpack was still on my back. I was a pillion rider without a helmet and as I inspect my still shining head, I felt I haven’t lost any more hair. I was outwardly calm, but the last thing I do was place the tips of my index and middle finger on the inside of my wrist below the base of my thumb. Oh Yes, my pulse was racing all right.
Prateek had managed to get the scooter upright, I see the right-side mirror had got obliterated with only shreds of glass visible on the road. The laptop bag had unhooked itself and had walked further away from the scooter. I saw a good Samaritan pick up the bag and give it to Prateek, who kept in on the Scooter’s backseat.
I started to move closer towards Prateek, and I heard words in the local dialect of Mumbai (Marathi) flowing from him at the speed of with his hands moving animatedly.
“नाव काय आहे तुझं (What is your name)?” asked Prateek in authoritatively to the slightly plump youngster dressed in black. The boy was probably from an Engineering college, as his backpack had a keychain with the word “Engineer.”
“Solly,चूक झाली (I made a mistake),” responded the boy with his hand over his head; there was a slight slur in his words.
The boy was hesitant to say anything other than sorry, but Prateek was not going to give up and he continued interrogating him “ड्रायव्हिंग लायसन्स दाखवा (show me your driving license)?”
Unwillingly the boy started searching for his driving license in his jacket pockets, trousers, and backpack. All this while he was swaying there standing and stumbling trying to hold on to his bike.
“तू नशेत आहेस का (are you drunk)?” queried Prateek as a strong odour of alcohol could now be scented in the air.
As I reached near Prateek, I felt a shooting pain near my right hip and as I placed my hand, I could feel a large lump bulging out. Prateek had also sustained injuries and blood was oozing out from his palms and elbows.
“Final year, Collede Palty,” replied the boy with more slur in his words.
“He is from AMC engineering college, driving drunk and he rammed us. Do you know his bike did a 360-degree flip after hitting us, that is the last thing I saw before we skidded?” explained Prateek shaking his head in disbelief.
It was like seeing Jr. Iron Man standing in front of us wearing an invisible armour, after all that had happened, he did not have one scratch on him. ‘AMC Engineering College,’ I have heard that name before I told myself. Sheesh, I had been to this college just few months ago, scouting for Trainees for my previous organization.
The argument continued for some more time while the sun was setting in the background. By this time, our Jr. Iron Man was joined by his college troops, all on bikes; not sure if all were drunk but that was the least of our problems.
“चला पोलीस स्टेशनला जाऊया (Let’s go to the police station)” commanded Prateek.
Jr. Iron Man’s supporters were now pleading us “Please, please we will pay for any damage, no police we are all students.”
As the discussion was going on my eyes fell on Prateek’s empty scooter, “Prateek, where is your laptop?”
Prateek moved his head slightly towards the left while saying “In my backpack, I had kept on the scooter; it was there a minute ago.” First, an accident, and now Prateek’s backpack has been robbed which all this while was safeguarding his office laptop and other important documents.
“Harry, we need go to the police station to file an F.I.R.,” proposed Prateek in a slightly edgy tone.
I nodded in agreement, “But first we need to visit the hospital.”
He agreed, and we discussed how could we reached a nearby clinic. Luckily for us an autorickshaw had stopped when the accident happened. We did not want the youngster to run away, hence he and one of his troops were with me in the rickshaw. Prateek and the other troupers followed us on their individual bikes. We drove on the side of the road, against the normal traffic flow; we did this as a U-Turn was available only at the other end of the Airoli bridge which would unnecessarily delay us further in a time of emergency.
The fisherman’s statue welcomed us back, as we crossed Airoli circle and flowed back into the right direction of traffic. The hospital was hidden in a lane on the left side of the road, away from the bustling noise of the vehicles passing by. The rickshaw driver agreed to wait till we came back as we would visit the police station.
We entered the hospital premise; the ground floor was flanked by a pharmacy at the entrance. The emergency room was on the first floor, and we reached there in no time. Prateek and I were asked to sit on empty beds which were separated by green coloured fabric-based partition walls. A nurse came cleaned my wound using a liquid antiseptic which she grabbed from the medicine trolly. She was wearing gloves, her face covered with a surgical mask and all this while asking me how the accident happened. By the time the Physician (Dr. Shyam) came to have a discussion with me, my wounds had been cleaned and covered with white gauze. He was observing my hand, legs and my head to check if there was any other visible injury.
“Are you hurt anywhere else?” he asked in a calm voice.
“I think I have hurt my right hip; can you check that once please,” I responded.
Dr. Shyam asked me to lie down on my back; I tried to lift my leg on the bed to lie down but was able to do so with great difficulty. After a few minutes of twisting and turning I finally was on my stomach and without much delay he said, “That’s a hematoma, it should settle down, I will write some medications, but you need to apply ice regularly.”
I inquired in a concerned voice, “what’s a hematoma?”
“Internal bleeding,” he replied while jotting down medications on his writing pad. “You both are lucky, as most road accidents had some serious head injuries,” he added.
I somehow turned around lifting myself from the bed, sat upright and got down from the bed.
“Harry you alright?” asked Prateek curiously from behind the curtains.
“Yes, how are you doing?” I replied.
“I am also alright,” he responded.
As we left the hospital, we looked like twins with white gauze covering both our elbows and palms. It felt like as if we were wearing a pair of white colored elbow caps accompanied by a set of gloves. As we bought the required medication we noticed, the youngster and his troopers had already left. Prateek had noted down the biker’s number plate, we still decided to visit the police station as irrespective we needed an F.I.R. Few days later I even did a sonography of my hematoma where the radiologist scared the hell out me and recommended an immediate operation. But that is a story for another time.
We were emotionally scarred, injured without any major complications, and even robbed but overall safe at the end of the day.
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