Saturday, April 29, 2006

Crashhhh !

just 7.45 pm. still some time for dinner. should have eaten something before. playing cards in the bus. 5 people sitting in one sleeper compartment. nice deal i've got. so many of these cards. difficult to get al of the same suit together. its so bloody dark. why cant the driver tolerate a bit of light ? behaving as if i was trying to install floodlights inside the bus. whats this bright light coming from the left frontal side of the bus ? a truck. whats a truck doing on the left on a right hand drive system ? must be parked. its moving. ohhhhhhh shit........... CRASHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. whats all this liquid on my face. lights come on. shit, its blood. shit, its pouring out. my entire face. my hands. my clothes. RED. how did i come on the OTHER side of the railing ? nose is hurting. why cant i stand steadily ?

'harshad, are you ok ?'
'dada, tu thik ahes ka ?'

5 dazed faces. looking at me in shock. they look ok. thank god. where's kaka ? at my feet. face down. blood flowing through the head. not responding. i have a closer look. 'kaka?' no reply. shit. himangi panicking. kaka responds. 'i cant get up.' atleast he's conscious. someone help in lifting him. no one. understandable. entire aisle covered with shards of broken glass. plastic bits. clothes. books. playing cards. blood. screams fill the air. someone helps himangi in lifting kaka. blood streams down a head weathered by the years. the kids look on, frightened. one old man, with blood streaming down his head. one youngster, leading the group, face half covered in blood. mouth filled with blood. told the girls to move aside. somehow manage to lean out of the window before it all comes out.

instruct abha to call for an ambulance. himangi suggests calling up hemant thete in amravati for help. thank god somebody has kept her head in all this.

himangi administers first aid to kaka. i am ok, i say. looks relieved. kaka is made to lie down on our seat. a wailing bus cleaner is bought to the berth originally occupied by kaka. cries when anyone touches his leg. bus door enmeshed with truck. no exit. people shouting from outside, asking us to jump. cant, with kaka the way he is.

tell the girls to jump out of the window. they seem relieved to do so. understandable. they go. me and himangi try to think of a way to remove kaka from the bus. finally, somebody helps, and he is lifted out through the window. i jump out too. thorns all over the place. the kids huddle together, bewildered, stunned, confused. kaka is sitting down, dazed. hundreds of people close in on us. why cant they give us some air ? why cant they give an old injured man some air ? a man asks if we want a rickshaw. i ask him to get one. he looks unsure. wants money. i give him 50 rs. how can i be so stupid ? must be the blood loss. never see him again. somebody in the crowd asks me to go and get my luggage, otherwise it'll be stolen. oh god, i compltely forgot that. back over the thorns towards the bus. in through the driver's door. go in. shit, i forgot about the glass shards. where are my floaters ? here they are. now i can move about. remove one sack by one. get suspicious looks. yes, they all are ours. no, i am not stealing people's luggage. cant you see my bloody bloody face ? yes. must be yours. manage to get down all the baggage. where're the binocs ? and this and that ? loose bags. finally everyhting is brought together.

kaka is given electral. somebody hands me 4 packets of it. i thank him for it. he says its from our own medical kit itself. how did that come out. oh, yes, himangi administered first aid to everybody.

'is everybody ok?' slowly the kids nod. inform your parents, i say. they have. the crowd keeps increasing. 2 policemen arrive. where's the freaking ambulance ? they want the complete names of everybody in the group. given. give the cell to the policemen. his isnt in range. things continue like this for a while. i keep the crowd back, yelling at them. the kids look relieved to see me normal.

9 pm. hemant thete arrives in a sumo. we leave for amravati. trying hard to convince my parents that i am ok. difficult. kaka admitted to hospital. we have some fruit juice. come back and have dinner at midnight at hemant's house. god bless him and his family.

the kids are sleeping soundly in the terrace. the mosquitoes dont offer me that privilege. i keep waking up every 10 minutes to see himangi either crying or staring blankly. god, she's badly affected.

mosquitoes and sleep fight a pitch battle. sleep wins at 4 in the morning. i drift off to a deep but still restless sleep. i came so close to a deep and restFUL one so few hours ago..............