“While dawn gives hope of rays of sunlight, I move towards new memories leaving the old ones behind.” #LehDiaries – I penned these lines in my diary looking at the first appearance of daylight in the morning while my bus moved towards the beautiful hill station of Manali. As I had not slept the previous night, I thought of catching up on sleep and rested my head on glass window screen of bus and dozed off. Little did I know that I would wake up with a shock of my life! The next thing I remember is that I opened my eyes to see my hands full of blood, there was blood on my shirt, jeans, face, hair and in my eyes and I had no clue which part of my body was bleeding. I was drenched in blood and there were pieces of glass all over me but I was in my senses enough to alight from the bus. The news article says that landslides happened at around 7:30 am and only one person was injured (me) in a bus of 40 passengers – http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-himachal-pradesh-one-injured-after-rain-triggered-landslide-in-mandi-chandigarh-manali-national-highway-21-blocked-2244911
I fail to understand human mentality and it makes me wonder why fellow passengers in bus were interested in clicking my pictures rather than helping me. Anyway, I was fortunate to be accompanied by two friends who rushed me in a Tempo (none of travellers in cars were willing to help) and my savior Sahil was screaming for medical help. My co-traveller Dr. Zarrin had tied a stole on right side of my face as I was bleeding profusely. I took the stole off to check my wound in rear view mirror of the Tempo and saw a big wide hole on my forehead. As there was blood in my eyes, I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I only prayed to God for my eyes. I didn’t know what more to ask for.
It was Sunday, 14 August and this incident happened near Mandi where one cannot expect much of medical aid. We were extremely lucky to find a pharmacist within 8 kms who immediately gave 5 stitches on the wound and advised me to get a CT-Scan done. We started from Mandi and on reaching Kullu (2 hrs) we got CT done. The CT reports gave me the second shock of my life that I had facial fractures (my cheek bone and bones near temple were broken). God! I said in that feeble state of mind. Again, the journey started from Kullu to Manali (3 hrs) and there were these army of thoughts in my mind while my right eye never stopped watering due to the injury.
On reaching Manali home stay, I was offered food (liquid diet) as I could not chew food or even open my mouth. Speech was also not clear and I had difficulty in walking. And my clothes and shoes were full of glass pieces (thankfully did not cause wounds).
Despite being in trauma, my brain was active and I decided to go back to Mumbai as soon as possible while people advised me to rest in Manali for 10 days. Sadly, there is no airport in Manali nor were there any flights from Kullu to Mumbai. So the nearest airport was Chandigarh (11 hrs drive from Manali). I decided to go back to Mumbai next day and my friend Sahil cancelled his trip and decided to accompany me back. I can’t thank him enough for his kind gesture. This 11-hour drive was the most difficult one as I vomited twice during the journey and the roads were very bad. With every bump on the road, there was pain and tears just did not stop rolling my fractured cheek. But I kept telling myself – Endure!
The next hurdle was at Chandigarh airport as the airport authorities did not allow me to board a flight because I had fresh stitches (less than 48 hours) and there was risk of those breaking in flight due to low pressure and controlled oxygen which may cause bleeding. But I was ready to take that risk and after my friend signed few indemnity bonds, we were allowed to board the flight.
Till this point of time, my parents had no clue about this incident and after we landed safely in Mumbai, we informed them and later I was admitted in Breach Candy Hospital. It was very difficult to see myself on a wheel chair (wanted to run Mumbai Marathon in January 2017), swollen face covered with bandages, right eye which was barely open and continuously watering.
At times it is just a fight with self and a true test of character, being positive and having faith. I believe that anything that doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. Such incidents definitely change your character and make you a different or rather a better person. And then there are these friends for life who made me realize how fortunate I am. Lovely handmade greeting card (thanks Kedar), postcard, sweet messages, prayers and my injury related jokes made me forget my pain (can’t smile as muscles are trapped due to the injury).
I am going to the hospital today and my four-hour Surgery is scheduled tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed! Signing-off till I am back!
Please keep me in your prayers 🙂
…To be continued…