Die Another Day

It happened exactly an year back. August 22nd 2006, 1:07PM to be precise.

I had picked up my car from the service station just around noon. Like any other guy, I adored my car. The car was shining and it looked so beautiful. It really looked brand new even after so many years. I drove back to my office and picked up my wife. At that time, we were both working at the same office. We went home for lunch, as usual.

My wife knew how much I loved my car. Infact, I felt she was jealous of my car sometimes. As the car climbed up the hill to reach our home, I talked on and on about how good the German engineering and machinery is. This was nothing new for my wife.

We reached home and had lunch. Cleaned up the table, watched television for a few minutes and started back to work. I took the left turn and then the right turn and we started going down the steep hill. By that time I had overtaken another car. There was not much traffic other than that. My wife and I chatted about all the important things in the World.

As we came down the hill, I saw a broken sprinkler on the right side of the road. There was a thin film of water flowing on the road. The car went on the thin film of water….and instantly hydroplaned. Screeeeeeech…..I put the brakes as hard as I could. There were three lanes in my direction. I think I was in the middle lane. The car bumped to the kerb on the left side. And then, it rolled over mercilessly. The median in the road was very wide. And, there were budding trees all through the median. After the first tilt, we had crushed one of the trees. We rolled over again the second time.

At that instant, I knew we were not only falling down the hill, but also going towards the other side of the road, where the vehicles will be coming in the opposite direction, up the hill. I had no idea what to do. But, I knew exactly what was happening. Thud… the car rolled over once more and it was going down the hill quite fast. It suddenly struck me that the other side of the hill is basically a trench which is more than 200 feet. I was convinced that we were going to fall there. I was just waiting for that to happen. Thud…the car rolled over again. But this time it came back up and stood on it’s wheels.

It took me a few minutes to realize that the car had now stopped in the opposite lane and was actually facing the hill. I looked at my wife and she was perfectly fine. Of course, both of us were wearing seat belts. I instinctively started apologizing to my wife over and over again. When the car was tumbling down, the only person who flashed through my mind was my wife. Maybe I love her too much or maybe I was feeling guilty or both, I really don’t know the reasons.

It took both of us a few seconds to realize that my shirt was red and I was bleeding. She immediately looked around for our cell phone, found it, and got down and called 911. I got out of the car to see that the traffic light just before the hill had just turned from red to green. We were lucky!!! There was no other vehicle coming in the opposite direction when our car was tumbling down.

I had a severe pain in my neck. A guy in a military uniform got some blankets from his pickup truck and asked me to lie down. There were several cars which stopped by asking if we needed any help. But, my wife had called 911 anyway and we were waiting for the ambulance and police. The guy in the military uniform started talking with his wife on his cell phone. He was answering all her questions and I distinctly remember one particular answer – “No, the man is not going to die” he shouted.

There were two Mexican guys who had stopped by to ask if we were fine. They were in the car which I had overtaken. An Indian guy who works in my office saw me on the road and took a reverse and came back to make sure things were fine. A white lady was more than willing to help us.

Ambulance and police came within a few minutes. It felt like hours and my left hand was full of blood by that time. They started asking me all kinds of questions – “What city are you in?”, “What is today’s date?”, “What is your name?” – and I passed their test. They were now convinced that I didn’t have a bad head injury. Several paramedics flocked around me and put me on a stretcher. Nicholas was the guy who attended on me. To make sure that I didn’t have any other bodily injury they had to rip my clothes. With a big pair of scissors, Nicholas cut my shirt and threw it. He then went on to cut my shorts. And then his “Don’t worry, I won’t rip your underwear” comment evoked a laughter from me. He was happy.

They put me in the ambulance and zipped to the nearest trauma center in downtown. It was a good half hour drive. My wife sat in a different car with a few other paramedics.

The emergency room in the hospital was a mess, just like any other emergency room in America. It was overflowing with people. I got all kinds of tests and injections. My left hand had cuts and that was the source of blood. They cleaned it up and stitched it. After several hours, they finally let me go, after giving me a prescription of Valium!!!

My wife had called a friend to come and pick us up. He got a shirt and a pant for me. Remember, I was still almost naked. I got dressed and we went back home.

I sat in the bath tub and went through the events over and over and over again.

I was devastated that the car was junked. It really did do it’s job and saved us. All the advertisements on it’s incredible ratings for crash tests are true.

It has been exactly an year now. My driving habits have changed. And, it just amazes me how lucky my wife and I were, to survive such a big crash. One thing which stood out during the incident was the courage and finesse of my wife. People were surprised to see how calm she was and she had taken control of the situation very well.

Such incidents make you value life so much more. It really shows you the light. I hope nobody ever goes through such ordeal, but only when you go through something like this will you realize how important life is. I don’t hate anyone and I forgive everyone. That is something which I hope I will keep doing for the rest of my life.

Exactly an year ago, for a few moments, I was convinced I was going to die. I am still alive and kicking and blogging!!!

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25 Comments on “Die Another Day”

  1. Aram Says:

    Gripping narration.

    “…only when you go through something like this will you realize how important life is.”

    That is why life should never be a bed of roses.

  2. Vasuki Says:

    Great narration! The tension is so palpable in the entire post!

  3. Pavan Says:

    second last para is so true.. been through a similar accident (Hollywood istyle car skid and topple stunt). Not that one should pray for one, but such hiccups teach us and help us focus and appreciate things better.. it is more pricky when one is responsible for somebody else’s life too (as in a fellow traveler)


  4. Osho says “only in such moments, u can forget all your egotism, and u’ll be walking with God!” Well, agreeing with that statement is not compulsory! 😉

    Very well narrated. Liked it.

  5. Srik Says:

    This is some story… U r celebrating the anniversary of ur re-birth! Well… happy (re)birth day.

    Such incidents will make one tougher and gives courage to face worse situations with calm mind. Hats off to your wife for all the behaviour she has shown at the time that was most calling after!

  6. some body Says:

    d.s.:

    good ending for you; more power to your wife (and car) – definitely don’t want an america america kind of end (ahaa, now i understand the abstinence part ;-).

    what i am curious about is the change in the driving habit. what in your original driving habit caused the hydroplaning? i didn’t see you mentioning you were driving at 2x the speed limit or some such.

    pavan:

    you mentioned that incident in your blog a few months ago, didn’t you? here is my “me too“.

    – s.b.

  7. mouna Says:

    your wife, the stance she took is truly amazing. as srik said, happy (re)birthday!! 🙂

    i’m so very tempted to use my signature word(as u put it). well, what to do?! i erased it after i keyed it in. you expressed annoyance at it. and thus, this is irritation-free(?)

  8. nilagriva Says:

    DS,
    Has it been a year already now? Time flies, really!

    Really happy to see you get out of that.

    One of my cousins survived because of some German engineering too. His car got totaled, but he walked without a scratch!

    Take care. Makes one think of how fragile each of us really is.

  9. rads Says:

    Such incidents make you value life so much more. It really shows you the light. I hope nobody ever goes through such ordeal, but only when you go through something like this will you realize how important life is. I don’t hate anyone and I forgive everyone. That is something which I hope I will keep doing for the rest of my life.

    Amen to that. 🙂

  10. neelanjana Says:

    Celebrate your birthday! Thank God for that. Not everyone gets the chance for a second life.

    Having lost a dear one in a road accident, I definitely know how lucky you both were.

  11. pArijAta Says:

    Good you got out of that one.
    We are fragile, but we can also bounce back!


  12. Thank God it wasn’t worse!

  13. praneshachar Says:

    first of all thank god for all the good that happened
    it is a great narration and simply superb you were able to recal everything and narrate
    hats off to your writing abilities. i can imagine your betterhalf’s condition at that time
    any how all is good when ends in good.

  14. rk Says:

    ds,
    illi nimma maney avarige samachara gottad mele avara paristhithi hengirbeda!

    istaagiddenu kammi alla, aadru sadhya ishtralle mugeethalla. devru doddonu.

    may be you can start another blog and call it A Paradise for Drivers 😉

  15. Veena Says:

    u r lucky..seat belt ge jai!!


  16. @ Aram:
    I know. These thigns make you appreciate life so much more. But, I would still prefer nobody to experience these things.

    @ Vasuki:
    Welcome to my blog. Yes, it was quite a nightmare!

    @ Pavan:
    Yep, this was quite Hollywood style as well. Infact, my wife was expecting the car to catch fire and explode!!! Yes, I agree that it is so much more tough when you ahve another person with you in the car.

    @ Sushruta:
    I like Osho, so I will agree 🙂 Thank you.

    @ Srik:
    Thanks. yes, it certainly changes your attitude on a lot of different things.

    @ SB:
    Abstinence ge jai !!! Good point, I didn’t mention anything about speeding. I was not speeding when the car hydroplaned. On that day, I was on the right side of the law. But, in general, I was known to be quite fast (not reckless, just plain fast and confident). I have touched 110 in Arizona highways and 95 in California highways. You will never see me drive at such speeds anymore. That’s one change.

    As for you Crater Lake trip, damn the wild animals, huh? I almost hit a deer in Yellowstone, just escaped at the middle of the night!!! Oh well, that’s for another post.

    @ Mouna:
    Yes, she handled the situation extremely well. And, you can certainly use whatever word you want, don’t be afraid 😉

    @ nilagriva:
    Yep, one year already. I totallya dore German engineering. That’s what saved us.

    @ rads:
    Thanks.

    @ neelanjana:
    Thank you very much. I agree, not everyone gets a second chance and I will certainly make the ebst use of my chance.

    @ pArijAta:
    Very true. Well said!

    @ Aparna:
    Yep. As Julie Andrews sang “Somewhere in my youth or in childhood, I must have done something good”. Well, in my case, I guess I need to change that to “Somewhere in my childhood, I must have done something good”. I am not all that old to treat youth as history yet 🙂

    @ Praneshachar:
    Thank you very much. I am really happy that it ended well. I could never have forgiven myself if something bad happened to my wife and I had come out scratch free. It is much better that Iw as the one who suffered any injuries, even though they were comparitively minor.

    @ RK:
    Nope, none of my relatives in India know about this. And I hope it stays that way. My parents would have freaked out if they knew about this. I hope nobody here would go and tell my mother now 🙂

    As for the name for my other blog….awesome and very creative, as always 🙂

    @ Veena:
    Very true. Seat belt ge jai !!!

  17. Aram Says:

    “I am not all that old to treat youth as history yet ”

    hehehehe !!!!

    Not for nothing that it is still a Stud at December !

    (please pardon my impudence – what can I do when you assume such fancy tempting names ! the best way of dealing with temptations is to yield to them)

    Allow me to present some historic curious facts on genetics, one of my interests.

    The popular Sarod wizard Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was sired by Khan Saheb Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan at 64. And look at the heights reached by Amjad. His much older brothers, however, are non-entities though they also learnt the art from their father-guru.

    Is there some lesson here for us, I wonder.

    Genetics is indeed quite fascinating, don’t you agree?

    I also used to joke to my esteemed chrisitian brethren (whenever they attempted to tell me about their faith) that Bible/Testament new or old had said, “Go forth into the wide world and sow ….”

    It helped that neither they nor I had read the Bible in full.

    Aparna M. had once wondered about the purpose of life and I had come up with my answer that the purpose of life is creativity, especially the creation of new life and the propagation of the species.

  18. BPuriSKabab Says:

    DStud. nice post. It’s been about a year since I had a bad accident where I broke one of my ribs. It was my first fracture ever – which shows what kind of sheltered life I have led so far. I will post the gory details on my site.

    Btw, you mentioned that the car was German. Would you mind saying what make & model?

    BPSK

  19. Vittal Says:

    WOW!! That’s something!!! Glad that you and your wife walked away from the site without any big injuries.


  20. @ Aram:
    Genetics is a subject very dear to me too. It just amazes me how genes play a role in each of us.

    @ BPusriSKabab:
    Thanks. Yikes, it sucks, huh? Sheltered or open, accidents are bad 🙂 VW passat.

    @ Vittal:
    Yes, that is something. Quite an experience.

  21. neela Says:

    god’s supreme grace.
    hats off to your wife’s presence of mind.


  22. @ neela:
    Yep, we were very lucky. Thank you.

  23. yendkudka Says:

    VW Passat has arrived in India. (When will you? naughty me!)

    The car is Volkswagen’s first locally assembled model in India.

    The Passat TDI 2.0 litre highline will be available in two versions in India, priced at between 54,645 dollars and 59,535 dollars.
    (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g1LF4epzv9IQV8vk9CyY9O1cGDzA)


  24. @ yendkudka:
    Yes, saw the enws about Passat coming to India. Very expensive though, huh? Trust me, it is an amazing car. I still miss my VW Passat!!!

  25. some body Says:

    ladies and gentlemen:

    alpha is back, thankfully in one piece!

    – s.b.


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