Thursday, December 16, 2010

&#it happens in life

Ganesha: The Lord of good things
It's a fast paced world, and there are a million things happening at the next instant.  When I leave work, you can bet on anything in the world that I would reach home within the next hour, give or take a few minutes.  There might be an occasional stop at Dillon's, the super store, or, at the gas station so that I don't spend those precious minutes at the gas station instead of being tucked under the covers on a cold wintry morning.  Life is pretty much simple and predictable.

I was a nine year old or a ten year old, I don't exactly remember.  After much harrowing and convincing, I was given a bicycle at home.  It was the first step towards adulthood.  It was a Hero Ranger LE that had the mountain tyres (tires) with a black surface coating.  It was one of the coolest bikes of its time.  I still don't know what the LE stands for, but even those extra two letters did sound pretty cool.  During the first week, my friend turned foe challenged me for a race, which was pretty common if you are in possession of a new bike.  I was only too glad to accept.  Halfway through the race, in order to take the lead, I took acute turns and deviations, I went and rammed into a tree that was living in peace on the sidewalk.  I had a lot of bruises, and at that time, I was more concerned about whether my bike had suffered any scratches or whether any paint had withered off.  My knees were hurting, and the elbows had some weird shapes of clot.  I was more concerned about the fact that a "matter of such significance" should not be reported at home lest I lose my freedom to bike around in style.

Interiors of my Honda civic
Exterior of my Honda Civic
Last night, the temperature had fallen.  It is something not worth mentioning, as the temperature in winter is generally in the sub-zero ranges.  It is something you get used to it once you are in the mid-west or in the far east.  You stop complaining and move on hoping that coldness in the air does not introduce a coldness in character.  So, it was just another day at work, and as we(my car pool partner) got into the car, we had no inkling of the things to come.  I made the customary call to my wife and told her that I will be home in the next 45 minutes.  I made a mental note of the things I had to do the next day.  Just like the other days, I hoped things would work the next day.  The K10 highway was as usual, the 70 mph drive meandering along as though it would go on and on, finally giving way to a 65 mph stretch.  I came out of the cruise control mode, allowed the vehicle to go along at a lesser speed and adjusted the speedometer to a comfortable speed range well under 65 mph.  There was no point on the highway that I had to brake hard, so I had no inkling of how well or how badly the tyres were gripping the road.  In an unusual way, I saw a stationary car on the left lane of the highway about 500 m or 600 m away from me, and immediately, almost by instinct, my foot hit the brake pedal. The brakes were just a formality; there was nothing to gain from braking hard.  The car hurled itself across the icy surface like a rudderless boat, and there was that instant when we were hoping that almost by miracle the vehicle in front of us would move away.  Thoughts and reality reside on a different level, and under these circumstances, it is only reality that takes control of your life.  The nanosecond before the crash felt like light years.  You just want the moment to pass away; you have no idea what is going to happen.  It was worse than being in a limbo state.  The air bags shot out and it is under these circumstances, you want things to function the way they are supposed to function.  Luckily, it did.  The air bags gave out a waft of smoke, and we quickly got out of the car.  I had not broken any limbs, and neither had my co-passenger.  The guy in front of us had a few facial injuries and was bleeding.  He got back to normalcy after a few minutes.

The cycle accident many many years ago had plenty more to show on my body.    Now, there was not even a scratch or a bruise.  A highway incident without any injuries had to be something miraculous.  The car was in a bad shape.  That was the last thing I was worried about.  I just hoped all of us had come away unscathed without any major injuries.  Everything else faded into insignificance.

A goner!

What else could have broken!

A close shave

I was definitely not smiling the previous evening

Air bags worked at the right time
We thanked our stars.  My Chinese colleague was quick to tell me, "Praveen, &#it happens in life." I nodded my head.  The Ganesha on the dashboard had fallen down on to the floor, but, thankfully, he did not let us down.  He read my thoughts and translated into a simple, "Ganesh saved the day for us." I couldn't have agreed more!


  1. Glad everything is fine.


  2. Thank God machi. All is fine. Be careful and always concentrate while driving no matter what.

  3. Holy $#&! .. i am glad you are safe ..

  4. maga..glad u are doing good..I like the statement "Just like the other days, I hoped things would work the next day. "

  5. Yup, I am doing well guys! Thank God :-)

    @Dhake: Life of an engineer :-)

  6. Sivaji, Very sorry to hear about the civic, but glad that you were okay. no salt on the roads? :(


  7. @sivaji
    There was no snow, just that there was a layer of ice on the roads. Pretty bad driving conditions. A broken civic feels insignificant in the larger context!

  8. OMG!! Praveen sir, SO glad that you are okay and that nobody was seriously hurt!!! pray you stay safe!! God be with you!

  9. Thanks Lakshmi :-)
    I am doing fine! Thankfully!

  10. Good to know everyone is safe, now just get a Lexus dude ;)

  11. The pictures pretty much tell the severity of the accident. Glad that everyone got out OK. Your parents must have freaked no doubt.

    Nice contrast on perspective as a child and adult.

    - Praveen.S

  12. @Abhishek, Yeah man, got to go for a new car :-)

    @Praveen: Yup, all good :-)

  13. glad u r fine praveen. just read blog.dinno abt cant imagine wat u wld have gone through.

  14. Hi Ramya,

    I am doing fine. Thankfully nothing serious! :-)