Had we met Nostradamus the day before we left, he would have told us, in his usual annoying cryptic way
“Ease back on the red fluid lass”
“If I were you, I would cling to it tighter than ever”
“Dont overdo the pasta, you won’t have space left for the alcohol”
“For the last time, Do not covet the biriyani”
“You son, your streak of shitty luck will be your faithful friend”
There comes times in your lives when a simple beautiful moment, time , event or object is permanently marred due to curious circumstances.
I wrote about the Trip to the Kingdom of Clouds.
The beautiful day that stirred so many beautiful emotions in me, that gave birth to something tranquil yet exciting. That very day something else happened. It was only the sheer joy that showered us on all day long that cushioned the shock, that dulled the ferocity of the ‘incident’.
[pullquote_right]KA 19 C 4549 : The number of the bus that almost killed me. [/pullquote_right]
The mood buoyant after the exciting travel and a little anxious because we had to be back in campus for the Finals of Episode 2012, all 9 of us started back from Kudremukh to TAPMI campus.
With the rain just slowing down minutes before, the broad road wore a shiny, slippery black look. There were a couple of bikes ahead of me. I was doing a constant 60 kmph. There was an auto-rickshaw in front, roughly 100 metres away. Both my fellow passenger and me didn’t have helmets on us. A local bus was coming from the opposite end. I accelerated to catch up with the guys in front, and as I came close to the auto and moved towards the middle of the road in a bid to overtake the auto, the bus suddenly swerved to the middle of the road , probably to avoid a pothole. As I braked and slowed down to postpone the overtake and steer back into my lane, it happened.
The rear wheels skid, I threw my weight instinctively to regain balance, yet it wasn’t enough. The bike hit the road with a sickening crunch and slid forward, my co-passenger was thrown off the backseat, bumped and rolled ( fortunately) to the periphery of the road. The direction of the slide of the bike was alarmingly bringing it directly in the path of the speeding bus. The bus driver vainly attempted to get the bus back into his lane as he hastily braked but it was very obviously too late. In the micro-seconds that ensued I had only 1 clear thought : Will it be my hand or my head? I was sliding along with the bike and I had hit my head on the road, hard. The smell of diesel and fish wafted over me like the shock waves of a large explosion as the wheels of the behemoth, literally missed me by inches. They trampled the front wheel of my bike, crushed the suspensions, and then swerved sharply to the right and barreled past. I remained untouched by the juggernaut.
I got up and ran to my friend on the road: she was conscious and appeared unhurt. I told her “We just met with an accident, try not to get up immediately” and I urged her to stay off the road. Then I stared back and gaped as I saw the bus; it had toppled off from the road, the wheels on the right side in air, exposing its underbelly. I stood shell shocked.
Luckily no one on the bus was hurt. All my friends had stopped. I reasoned with them to immediately leave the scene. A special mention of my friend, CK, who took charge and handled the situation adroitly ( the importance of knowing the local language). I signed a form not to file a case against the bus driver, paid for the tractor that pulled the bus out back on to the road, piled the wreckage of my bike on a trolley auto and rode back to Manipal in stunned silence.
What I took away from the incident was the total nonchalance. A clear sequence formed in my head; Look after co-passenger, look after bike, decrease volatility of situation and make a quick exit.And I did just that. I reasoned with my friends to leave. It was as if nothing very important, very serious had happened. The sheer non-registry of the severity , the potential of what just happened does continues to baffle me.
The real event was over in a matter of seconds. The repercussions however stay on for some time. In fact scars they left me with will probably stay on for years. But my streak of good luck continued and I lived to see another day.