August 4, 2017. A date I can not forget. I am not sure how to feel, as I recall how I nearly escaped death to be alive today.
It was a gloomy day. Gloomy not because of the weather but of reasons I could not come to terms with. Someone I cared about was leaving the day after and it was hard for me to accept that.
All of my recent days then were consumed in thoughts that were utter bullshit, or so it feels now but mattered back then. So I was not in a state of mind that I could call normal but somehow was breathing through the days. I met my loved one for a while in the evening before our ways parted forever. It was already a huge emotional and mental turmoil I was dealing with that it wasn’t enough but the world had to inflict me with physical pain too. In the process of trying to move on with life and work as I was adviced, I set out for work trying to run away from my own self. While returning from work around 9 in the night on my scooty, the rearview mirror happened to collide with the same that of the bike coming from the opposite direction. As this was normal and happens quite often given the road conditions and the congestion, I did not look back.
The guy on the bike chased me down and parked his bike in front of mine while I was on the bend in the road. He came forward with a force trying to snatch away the keys from my scooty. The rearview mirror of his bike was broken and he demanded compensation of about Rs 2000 from me, which I obviously refused. I had not taken off my helmet and I could see the guy trying to get a glance at my face. He yelled, abused, people gathered around him, some apparently happened to know him in the locality who raised their voice in support of him without even knowing what happened. Some people just gathered around to watch a good street show. I was blamed for driving on to the opposite lane and what not. Still, my helmet on, voice calm, composed, I did not budge to his allegations. I did not argue but just held on to the point that I did not commit any mistake which I knew I was sure of. I don’t know why and how but I didn’t feel like yelling back agitated by his abusive words. After a lot of heated temperament from one side, I seemed to have pissed him off even more as I remained calm. Few people from the gathering tried to mitigate and somehow it seemed to come to an end with him loosing in his own argument. However, it was not destined to end so soon.
As we say here ” do you know who I am” he said those golden words and I merrily replied no, like casually. This did not go down well with him. He literally moved towards giving death threats from just cursing. As the gathering cleared and then he let me get back on the road, he started following me dangerously coming close to my scooty trying to intimidate me. I was near the bend of Hospital more in our locality as he was gradually tending to push me towards the edge close to the big body of water by the roadside. Realizing this was going elsewhere, in a moment’s notice as the traffic gave a scope I turned around and tried taking a different route. He followed back, came with his bike gruntling and kicked at my scooty twice trying to throw me off balance threatening me to kill then and there on the road in front of St Thomas School. I said calmly “you have had the chance to vent your anguish and I haven’t said a word. this is enough for a thing like this. It’s better you take your path and let me get on to my course back home. Whatever happened was unfortunate that your rearview glass got broken and my did not though both collided. It was nothing intentional. So let it stop.” But given the nature and his state of mind he was bent on revenge and would not take a step back until he had caused enough damage to me. The road seemed deserted almost, the gathering had vanished by then, shops closed or closing soon. It did not feel safe to stand and argue with him in such situation and place. He constantly kept reminding me that he hails from “purosree” – a part of our town known for nefarious activities.
Another fleeting moment, a truck arrived and I chanced on an opportunity to take lead and vanish away from his vicinity while someone tried to engage him by the road side in a conversation enquiring about our encounter. But as fate would have it, he followed again and with the gruntling noise of his bike again hit my scooty from the side. Somehow I held on to my balance. Before I could stop he came again from the side and tried kicking again as if vastly influenced by the stunts shown in Bollywood movies. Unfortunately, this time I could not escape so did he. Somehow our vehicles got tangled together and we both fell on to the ground with our respective vehicles.
As I fell on the ground, I could feel my helmet bouncing on the road twice, still in the motion of the fallen scooty I was dragged along with it on the road. As I watched him too being dragged along with his fallen bike through the opening in my helmet, it felt weird. Though I could feel my backside being scratched from the rough surface of the concrete road, I sort of felt myself out of my body. This might sound hilarious or filmy, as it felt I stood aside and watched my body being dragged along the road with the vehicle. As if death had already taken place, it was just the body that needed to come to terms with the soul that had departed. I fell nearly close to the same place around Baghbazar kalitala , where 8 years back my brother in law had a bike accident and breathed his last.
As the dragging came to a halt, I was still in trans-state not realizing I was still alive. Someone came up and helped me stand up letting me know my shirt and pant was torn from the back and it bled as the skin had exposed the flesh inside. I still somehow remained calm. I could hear someone accusing that I was racing in the merely empty roads. I could see the guy lying at a distance bleeding and holding his head which was not covered by a helmet. As I stood up dusted my clothes, opened up my helmet. People started questioning. To some, I answered, to some I did not. I put on the helmet again and left the scene for my home some 200 meters away.
I came back home as a man battered and bruised. Gradually the pain caught on to me and left me numb on the bed, making me unable to move or even rest on the bed with my back. I wanted to be there at the airport next day to see my loved one from a distance before she had to fly off to the land of her dreams. The night was painful. Left almost to paralysis with heavy bleeding and twisted ankle, bruised back, mentally unstable, emotionally broken to my core I kept checking the phone with my fingers which seemed the only probable moving parts of my body at that moment. That night was long and dreary. All I could do was to lie on one side and stare at the mobile screen hoping for a message from the other end as tears rolled down knowing the phone would stop buzzing from the other end very soon forever.
Life has moved on since then, good bad or better I’m not sure but I ‘m breathing through this eclipse that is still to let some light shine on me.