The Man, the Machine, and the Cow

I’d promised a sad story and here it is. A week after my image makeover, the most unthinkable, unexpected, unfortunate event happened in my life – a bike accident. I can see the frown on ur face – Hey, accidents happen to thousands of ppl everyday, and in a metro like Chennai, the number of cases is increasing exponentially, so y is it so unexpected? True, but as a human being, (and an Indian at that), I could not escape the “How can this happen to me??” mentality. We all know we are gonna die one day, but do we keep expecting it day in and day out? No, right? Similarly, I did not expect, even in the wildest of my dreams, that out of nowhere, a seemingly frightened and harmless cow would jog right into the path of my two-wheeler, when I was cruising at 60KPH on OMR (for the uninitiated, OMR = Old-Mahabalipuram-Road). It happens only in India !!

So, how did it all start. Given the depth of the subject, a little bit of digression is unavoidable, and in this case I’ll have to begin with my career aspirations to tell u the full story behind the collision. Stuck in a production support role in a software company for the past one year, I’ve been trying to break free without much success. The only logical way out of this was to become a student again (aah, the very word brings to life vivid memories of my undergrad life at BITS). To tell u the truth, I’ve been trying to become one for the past 3 yrs since I finished my BE mech in BITS Pilani. Yes, u got it right – the culprit’s name is CAT and I, like so many of us in our country, have been trying in vain to be a part of the mindless rat race of Relative grading in the Indian Institutes of Management. This year, I thot, to maximise my chances, I’d need to look into the GMAT option as well. As a starting point, I decided to visit the Princeton Review coaching centre (PRCC) for GMAT on the fateful day.

I work in shifts, and was scheduled to go in the second shift during the week (25th – 30th July 2005). My usual mode of transport is the office cab, but since I had to visit PRCC on my way to office, I decided to take my 3-month old mean machine to work after a long time. Picking up a like-minded friend on the way, we went to know more abt wat GMAT is (if I get into the details now, it’ll become a separate blog) and then cruised to office. It was jus like any of the previous 4 days at work, with ppl blinking their eyes and turning their heads to see if it’s really me or someone else. A colleague even remarked she had never thot someone could change their looks so dramatically.

It was arnd 11pm and time to leave, so I picked up my helmet (mom had forced me to wear it that day and I’d reluctantly agreed) and started off towards the side-entrance hopin to catch the connecting road to ECR (East Coast Road, a very well-lit, well-built road) but the security at the gate informed me that at night we are not allowed to use the side entrance. So, I rode over to the main gate and after passing the mandatory security checks, started on my 25km sojourn back home. I’d planned to catch the connecting road to ECR again, but with GMAT and a lot of doubts abt my future in mind, I promptly missed that road. So, I decided to continue on OMR (after all, the chennai corporation had finally finished building this road after ages of gravel and sand path commuting). After some 2-odd kms from my office, when I was nearing CTS, out of nowhere (courtesy, absence of streetlights for that particular stretch of the OMR), a frightened cow ran into the glare of my discover’s hi-beam. My immediate reaction was not to apply the brakes because the animal’s timing was so perfect I knew I’d hit it inspite of the much touted disc brake system. At 60kmph, my very first thot was “Which direction do I swerve?” the cow was heading towards the median, so I could not swerve right, and before I could think abt swerving left, there was a big bang !!

I remember the cow’s face (bewildered, to say the least) and the next memory is that of being carried over to the side of the road. Apparently, some ppl were around (thankfully, no other vehicle was in sight) and they laid me on the side of the road. One of them helped me remove my helmet, and immediately I felt a searing pain in my left leg n let out a cry. Thankfully, I had enuf sense and strength to take out my mobile and call up my colleague who had just left office in the shift cab. They were there within minutes and took me to Malar Hospital without further delays.

The impact – a fractured shinbone and a dislocated ankle on my left leg. The fracture wasn’t too serious, but the ankle required surgery, the details of which are best left abstracted. I found out that I’m not very good at handling physical pain and kept groaning n moaning throughout my 6-day tenure at the hospital. The docs told me that the next 4-6 weeks would have to be spent at home with my left leg wrapped in a cast. It was very depressing for the first coupla days, but I’m not the sort of guy to really brood over bad things and tend to atleast try n think abt better things.

A coupla weeks ago, my friend was stuck at home under less painful circumstances n had told me her desire to blog. The day I returned home, I saw a mail from another friend who’d invited me to view his blog. All this inspired me to start off one on my own, and I viewed this forceful rest as a blessing in disguise. I suddenly have all the time in the world to do all that I’d always wanted to do, but never had the time because of the blood sucking software life cycle.

I’m extremely grateful to all those ppl whose timely help controlled the extent of damage and also to all my well wishers across the globe who’ve thru mail, chat n phone, expressed their shock n wished me a speedy recovery.

Before this blog threatens to break any sort of emotional barriers, lemme put a full stop to it n hopefully this wud be my last sad blog.

My next post will take a look at my career (as – is scenario), where I am and how clear I am abt where I wanna be in future.

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