Recently, I was in a car accident while going on a trip to ease off from the exams season. We never got to that place and were instead accosted by a straight journey to the hospital, which, I wouldn't lie, looks and feels like a good hotel with crappy service(It has Haldirams and CCD inside it for crying out loud!). Anyway, I'm getting distracted. Here are a few things I learnt from the accident. Since this is going to be a long post, I've added how the accident happened at the end.
Instinct takes over
Being in the passenger seat, I could see the accident happening 2-3 seconds before the aftermath. And those 2-3 seconds felt longer than any other 2-3 seconds in my life, or maybe it's the way mind remembers it. You revisit the memory so often and so frequently later on that you pick apart every tiny detail about how it could have been avoided or minimised. But in those couple of seconds, it matters naught.
However, once you crash-land, your adrenaline pumped body looks up to assess the damage and what needs to be done. In my case it was finding a way out of the car since gravity had the pleasure of parking it sideways. My door didn't open because of that, and that's when a bit of panic sunk in. I saw mum, who had fallen from the back of the seat to the windshield, we shared a look. I called out to dad who wasn't conscious and not replying to the cries asking him if he was okay. All this while looking for a way out. All of these things seemed to happen simultaneously, and at the same time took forever to pass. But ask a coke junkie what adrenaline can't do. I kicked the driver side window open (which was already cracked) to let mum out, then out came the driver. I then tried to wake dad up by tugging at his cheeks but that did nothing more than grow the dread.
By then a few good samaritans had climbed down to see what had happened. I didn't mind their morbid curiosity as long as they were helping. We forced the car upright, lowered the driver seat and pulled out dad. All of this happened within half an hour, but I can only remember glimpses of it all. Pulling dad, making sure mum was okay, calling the police, calling the ambulance. I know I did these things, but in which order?
The Chaos is Smooth
Everything after that was chaos. Dad lying down on the ground, barely conscious and crying out in pain. Mum unable to walk. Driver mumbling and walking around like a zombie. Losing my glasses in the rubble meant that I had no way of distinguishing faces from afar. I secured the car papers, took the important stuff out, got the numbers of a few kind samaritans and the police officer, went inside the ambulance, came out, went inside the government hospital with parents one by one, came out, another ambulance to Delhi.
It was utter chaos, I had no idea what papers to sign or what things to check. At that time if the devil had handed me the papers to sell my soul, I would've promptly signed it as well. The title wouldn't be valid since it doesn't belong to me, but that's another thing.
The chaos felt fluid, everything was getting done partly for me, partly by me. There wasn't a hitch to derail this chain of events.
Balancing the good and the bad
Once the dust had settled, so to speak, and we were in the ambulance bound to Delhi. It was time to finally assess the damage. Mum couldn't walk. Dad couldn't move his legs. I was unharmed. Looking at the pics I had taken for insurance purposes, I was relieved and a bit surprised that we'd made it alive. Just as hope was ushering out, dad called back in pain. It was unmanageable, he wanted to end it then. Get it over with. Finding words of hope in that time when you're so devoid of it yourself isn't very easy, to put it lightly.
We were alive.
Dad didn't want to be.
They were conscious.
They were in extreme pain.
I was okay.
They were not.
At that time it seemed like the longest journey, but looking back at it I have no idea where time went.
Friends are invaluable
By the time we reached the hospital, I had told a few friends about it. They knew what to say, when to say it. And what not to say. Held me together when nothing seemed to be going my way. Even now, they have been wonderful. Good friends are hard to come by and too far apart, but when something like this happens, you know why they're your friends. It is not an easy task to help someone out without being there, and yet they did. And not just friends, quite a lot of people in the time of duress make the right call and choose to be good men and women when they can so easily choose to walk away.
Future is uncertain, hope is alive
Everything brings us to now. I won't claim to know what will happen hereafter. But everything till now has been managed. Things might not be looking up, but they aren't going down either.
Shit happens. And then you deal with it.
The Accident: We left for Dehradun at 5AM and nearing 7:30, the driver lost control of the car on the highway and crashing into the trees to the left. Inertia from the sharp left turned the car sideways and it landed on the driver side almost perpendicular to the ground. I can say with some confidence that it was the seat belt that saved the driver's and my life. If anything is to be learnt, on long journeys even the back passengers really should buckle up.