10th Jan, 2016
I try to figure it out, what exactly it all meant that happened today. It’s 11:45 pm and I can find no sleep into my eyes. “It was nothing, one of my friends had said. Not something you need to remember all the time. Not a big deal. None of us got injured!!”
Well, to another of my friends, it was surely a hell of a thing for her, bursting out in tears just after the incident, saying, “My mother told me not to go. My mother told me not to go. I should have listened to her. My mother told me not to go.” Would things be different, I wonder, if her mother agreed all along before having us to convince her to let my friend go?
It’s still 11:53 pm, and I still can’t make the voices go away. Voices of men shouting out from the back of the bus, “Somebody pull the brakes. The brakes!!” I was there in the front part of the bus, a few steps away from the driver’s seat. There, I was helpless, trying to figure out where would the brakes be?? I had no basic idea of driving, so I knew I should not be wasting my time in it. “Only if I had known”, I thought! For a moment, I wouldn’t lie but I was ashamed.
A flashback of time… just few minutes earlier to the incident, we were out on a trip. Nine of us, six girls and three boys, standing on the crowded bus. I was humming to the song that was playing on the bus, enjoying the moment and moving with the music, literally. My friend, she was laughing at me, teasing me and two fat men, seated in front of us, staring at us, probably disgusted by our act of youthness. Opposite to us were the two lovebirds of our class, enjoying and lost in their own world. And probably everyone in the bus were, in their own world, content in the moment.
I had changed my t-shirt about four times that morning. I wore these baggy pants that I had always wished to have. I had bought it eventually from one of the men’s shop, because probably women only wore tight fitted pants. Atleast that was what one of the shopkeepers told me. Well, none of the shirts matched, and finally I went with the brown one. Did it even matter what I wore, I think now. May be I could have got ready a bit earlier. May be then it wouldn’t have been the wrong bus. Eventually, all I had in me that really helped recognize who I was, was the watch my mother gifted me and the silver chain that my aunt gifted me.
They say, just when you reach the end, there are these flashes of memories that play in front of you. All the important people, all the people you love, one by one, you see them. But in that few seconds of jeopardy I was in, apparently, I remembered no one. Not a single person, no family, no friends, not the guy I had a crush on. Weren’t you supposed to remember them? Call it instincts, but all I remembered in that few seconds was of living, of all the possible ways there was to survive. It is selfish. But I had hope. And that hope was selfish. Because I didn’t think of any of my friends who were right next to me, shouting out to me. I didn’t even hear their voices. All there was, was me.
Post incident as I got off the bus, I remembered my mother. I had talked to her over the phone that morning. She had said, “Wear warm clothes, don’t play too much in the water, you catch cold too fast”. I was also glad I sent that message to my father, the day before, saying that I was sorry, sorry for talking rude to him and that I never meant to do so. And he replied that it was ok, he never minded.
I asked my friends if they were hurt. I ran towards this woman lying unconsciously on the ground, who was bleeding heavily from her nose. We carried her to the side of the road, called the ambulance and sent her to the hospital. To add to the list of things I realized that day, I didn’t even have the phone number of the ambulance. It has been two years, since I have been a medical student but I don’t even know where to call for an ambulance. Shameful!
I heard the passerby say, it was just a minor accident. Only two were severely injured, no one got killed. Well, isn’t that how we look at news? The headlines are always about how many got killed and how many got injured. Its few? Than probably it doesn’t deserve the front page. Though, I may not be injured, I may not be bleeding, I may not have a broken limb, but those few moments of my life, I will never be able to forget. Imagine yourself standing in a crowded bus. It’s a slight downhill. The bus is moving, slowly increasing in its pace. People are screaming inside the bus. The ones near the door are jumping out. One of your friends has already jumped off. Why? The bus does not have a driver. This happened to us on 10th Jan, 2016. We were out on a trip to Dolalghat, Kavre. The driver stopped the bus to pee. The tires of the bus were probably held against a small rock, which was not enough to stop it. Now the road, you see, wasn’t in a plain area. They are mountain roads. You know how they are! On the right side was the side of a hill, on the left, a cliff, the ground level being thousands of meters below, and in front was a turning.
Luckily, the bus moved on to the right side, crashing into the hill, smashing its laterals with the windows against it. I held onto the back of the seat, where I was standing and my eyes had probably forgotten to blink. I was glad, glad it wasn’t the other side.