Life Found Anew
A horrible accident that could have been fatal gives
Tulip Chowdhury renewed hope and appreciation for life.
It was around ten at night. The day was October 6, 2007. It had started just like any other day, with the brilliant sun taking over the eastern sky with its majestic colours. I had spent the day in my village Teota, a small village in Manikganj. The day had flown by as I went around meeting the villagers and collecting some data on village life.
Soon it was night and the village had become quiet. I started on my way to Dhaka. My husband, Selim was sitting beside me while my driver, Jahangir was driving the car. The night was still warm after the daylong scorching heat. I had been roaming around the village all day and was feeling rather tired. As we hit the Aricha highway my husband dozed off. I sat and watched him from time to time and also stared at the starlit sky. The sky looked endless with the villages marking the far off horizons. Jahangir, I noticed was driving at a rather high speed. Usually I ask him to slow down but that night I too felt an urgency to reach Dhaka as early as possible. I was in anticipation of a good shower as soon as I reached home. Feeling dog tired, my body was craving for the soft touch of my bed. The sky looked serene and beautiful and the sleeping villages and the darkness of the night seemed to give my soul a sense of peace. It was as if everything was just perfect.
There were a few cars, buses and trucks on the road. Occasionally a car passed us. Whenever a truck or a bus was ahead of us the driver overtook it. I noticed that although he was driving at a high speed he was not crossing the speed limit save for when it came to overtaking the buses and the trucks. I relaxed in my seat. I asked the driver to put the air conditioner off. I slid down the glass of the car and inhaled deeply. The night air was mingled with the smell of firewood. The villagers must be asleep by now, I told myself. But the smell of their firewood still lingered, as if to remind the night of the busy daytime, and of how life moves on before darkness involves the night. I started to hum a song,
Ghumiye geche sranto pothik amar ganer bul buli
I was deeply engrossed in my thoughts as I stared at the darkness outside. I was looking ahead at the trees coming into light as the passing car's light fell on them. From time to time we crossed other cars, trucks or busses. And sometimes they crossed us. The sky looked vast and beautiful with stars twinkling all over it. There was a pale moon staring down at the dark world beneath it. Here and there I managed to get a glimpse of fireflies flickering their lights over dark specks of hedges and bushes. I was lost in my own thoughts.
Suddenly I heard our car brake. I saw the back of a truck in front of us. The truck was very close but hearing our car brake I thought that we were going to stop just behind it. I saw our selves getting nearer to the truck but our car did not stop. Then I heard a loud crash and then everything went blank.
How much time passed by I do not know. I must have been unconscious for quite a while. When I got my senses back I was aware that I was in big trouble. I faintly recalled hitting the truck. I remembered hearing that loud crashing sound. Everything around me was dark and silent.
My eyes fell on the front of the car. The front glass was hanging like a glass net, broken to tiny shreds. The dashboard had been doubled and bent into the driver's seat when the car had hit the truck. I saw my husband sitting in the front seat. His head was drooping low. I called and nudged him. No answers. I called our driver. He too sat in his seat, his head drooping low. He did not answer me either. I looked outside through the car's window. Everything was dark as before. But there was an eerie silence all about us. I tried to open my door. It was firmly stuck. My eyes fell on the blood dripping from my husband's forehead. The driver lay deathly silent. I started to shake all over. And then I heard a scream come out of me.
“ Oh God what shall I do?”
It seems hearing my call God sent angels down to guide me. I moved over to the other side of the car and was able to open the door. When I came out I saw half of our car driven right under the truck. The car was like a crumpled heap. I looked around. People were standing all around. But fearing that there were no survivors they were not daring to come nearer. Seeing me someone shouted,
“ One is alive….one is alive……….”
Then people came crowding around. They pulled out my husband and the driver from the car and lay them on the grass beside the road. I checked my husband. He was alive, the pulse was beating. The driver? Like my husband, he too was unconscious but he had a pulse. Some one asked me if I had a mobile phone. I tried to find the mobile phones, my husband's or mine. But both of them were stuck in the wrecked car. Then some good soul came forward and offered me his mobile phone. I could not remember a single mobile number. But miraculously I did remember my brother- in- law's land-phone number. I called him told him about the accident. The people crowding around had by that time started pouring water over my husband's head. They were also pouring water over the driver's head. After sometime my husband gained consciousness. But the driver remained unconscious. The police had come by that time and we were taken to the nearby hospital.
Within an hour of receiving my call my brother- in- law and other relatives had reached us and soon we were on our way to Square Hospital.
My driver gained consciousness after five hours and escaped with minor injuries. However my husband was hospitalised with major bone fractures. And I? God had taken pity on me and I was just a little bit injured on my right hand. It was as if God had taken by the hand and shown me how He performed miracles. Otherwise how could we escape with no major injuries or death from such an accident?
That fateful night of the accident could have been our last night in this world. Anyone who saw our car said,
“How can people come out alive out of that car?” The car was totally smashed from the front bumper to the driver's seat.
But God had plans to keep us alive. And we escaped with fractures that could heal. But this was also a night when I was born for the second time in my life. I had not expected to see the light of the day, not after seeing our car dive into the back of that heavy truck. It was a near death experience that had taught me how short life can be. I realised how I fail to see many precious things of life, I felt guilty that I did not thank the Almighty everyday for giving me yet another day. I have learned to appreciate each and every sunrise that I witness. I have found a new sweetness in the first twitters of the sparrows I hear. I feel the gentle breeze that kisses my face is pure bliss sent from heaven. Most of all now I am more around my friends and relatives, the people who love me, the people whom I love. Coming this close to death but not dying has taught me valuable lessons. I see this as a message from God; he wants me to do some good work, to be more around his beings. Maybe there is some reason why He kept me alive. I have started to love life anew and live each and every moment of it as if it was just the last. Now every morning I wake up in the morning and imagine that there are two birds sitting on my shoulder. I ask each of them,
“Is this my last day in this world?” And then my day starts with gratefulness for all things God has blessed me with.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008