A real life story as told to me by one of my friends:
That was a pleasant evening of December, I was quite happy. Had I felt that I did not deserve it, I would have been ecstatic. But I knew, I was that good! I did extremely good work consistently and outperformed each and every peer of mine; the company had to send me to the USA; the land of my dreams. I was a software engineer in a reputed IT firm and as every Muslim’s ultimate dream is to visit Mecca, every software engineer’s dream is to visit the USA. My dream was about to get fulfilled. I was on my bike near Canaught Place in Delhi and was on the way to my home after office. I reflected on my life till now; I got 95% in boards, gold medal in Engineering, the most beautiful girl of the college was my girlfriend for years, getting a handsome salary in IT and now in the couple of weeks I will be in the USA! Had the life been kind to me? Yes! But I just did not stumble upon the luck, I had the innate talent and I honed it by working hard. Yes, I deserved it, I deserved all of it and more. A sense of pride and happiness filled me to the core. I saw the traffic light turning to red and I stopped my bike. And then just when I was walking down the red carpet, destiny pulled the carpet.
I opened my eyes and found my girlfriend Sonali looking at me. I felt a pang of pain in my body and a numb sensation in my left shoulder. Before I could understand anything, I saw few men and women in white dresses and I realised that I was in a hospital. I learned that a Blue Line bus came from behind and smashed right into me. I flew and collided with the pavement, my left hand had 15 fractures and body was badly bruised. I could see my pain reflected in the eyes of Sonali. The first thought that came to my mind was of USA! I have a flight to catch in 2 weeks, will I be well till then? Where is the damn doctor? Sonali had tears in eyes and smile on lips. She was happy to see me awake and was sad to see my tied to a bed. I smiled back at her. Before either of us could say anything, the doctor came. He congratulated me for being alive. I asked him about my left arm, as I was unable to move it. He suggested to keep it still for few days as many of the bones got crushed into pieces; 2 rods were inserted in it after hours-long surgery. We will have to wait. Wait; this is the only thing that I had never learned to do. I had always championed life. I had goals, there were straight paths leading to them and I ran. I never strolled. I hated evening walks. I could not imagine myself lying on a bed staring at the ceiling for days. But somehow life does not take too many consultations before deciding something.
3 months had passed since the accident and I still could not move my left arm. So many bones and nerves were crushed and got mixed together that it became paralysed. Doctors had been trying different medicines, lotions and physiotherapy but no avail. I became a cripple! I was ashamed. I was always admired for my looks and now I had to parade my plight in front of the world. My USA visit was politely declined by the manager with some excuse. I abhorred the sympathy and curiosity in the eyes of strangers as they looked at my immobile arm. This was nature’s way of humbling me down; I said to myself. I was arrogant, full of pride and self-righteous. This was a lesson to teach me humility and to show me the vulnerability of my plans. I became patient and observed everything. I noticed how one incident can change an entire life and many lives surrounding it. How my girlfriend’s tone had changed now, how she was suddenly not available on call at nights. That half a second long reaction in people’s eyes when I enter in a lift. I realised it then what it must feel like walking in a crowd to an acid attack victim. The same people who admired you for your looks, now shriek at the sight of you. I was broken, humbled down and left to live away.
3 surgeries later, my left hand’s fingers started moving a bit. Progress was there, but slow. Doctors said it does not seem likely that my hand will ever function like a normal one for the lifetime. I noticed the reaction on Sonali’s face when the doctor was breaking this news. We were supposed to get married this winter after 7 years long relationship. She stood beside me when I was in the hospital, she took care of me and helped me button my shirt as she was hopeful that this was temporary. She felt that one day I will be fine; but now as it was clear that I may never lift my left arm and may never lead a normal life, will never be a whole human being again, she realised she was not ready for this. She was beautiful and had a successful career; she could not imagine herself living her whole life with a cripple! I could see it in her face, her eyes, her forced smiles. I felt guilty, sad and desperate at the same time. I needed and wanted her badly but knew that I had already lost her. And was it ethical for me to use my misery to emotionally blackmail somebody? She left and I let her go.
I remember that night in my apartment when I came back from doctor’s clinic after he told me that I might never lift my arm whole life. I sat for a long time in front of a full-size mirror. I was looking directly in the eyes of my reflection. I was young, handsome, had an excellent work and academic record on one side; crippled, lonely and struggling in my career on the other. I had 2 choices; either to accept the situation that I was in and tone down my ambitions and expectations or to take the game head on and fight it out. My head was bursting with pressure, I stood up in a jerk, took a knife and poked it in my left palm. For long I could not feel anything; it was almost paralysed; but once the knife went bit inside the skin, I felt a faint sensation of pain and I smiled. The sensation of pain gave me happiness. I could still feel; my arm is not dead, I was not dead, not yet. I gathered all my courage, vowed to fight it out. I learnt my lessons. I was not an arrogant bastard anymore who would walk on bodies to get what he wanted. I was a man who faced the disaster and survived to tell the story to himself. Let it be a good story then; I told to myself.
Next day was Sunday. I woke up at sunrise and knew it was the first day of my new life: a life that would be worth living. I looked at my bank balance; I had 5 lakh rupees. I reflected upon my strengths: my ability to focus, my determination, my inherent aptitude and skills. I worked in IT for years, I was an application developer and I knew the business side of it. I decided to start my own business. I wrote the business plan, business model and zeroed in on potential clients. I made many calls, convinced few friends and started developing a website for my company. As I had great passion and enthusiasm for this work and was really good at it, things started working out soon. In no time we got our first client through our contacts and we worked day and night to deliver on time. The client was pleased and gave us another contract and that was it. I felt 10 years younger and full of energy. We got few more contracts and a big one from Bangalore Airport for application development. Money started coming in. I found a new friend in a girl of my team, we started going and eating out, and having fun. I started laughing again. Days were long, nights were longer but I loved each second of it. I had nothing to lose and the world to gain.
I focussed on my physiotherapy and medication too. Consulted best doctors of the country, took experimental medicines and went through a couple of surgeries more. I was hell bent to live not just a normal but a splendid life. Finally, one surgery worked miraculously and that moment came when I lift my arm and touched my cheeks. I closed my eyes and thanked all the Gods. Next evening I proposed the girl in my team; she said YES! As if the whole world was saying yes to everything I asked now. We got married the next month. I opened 3 new startups in next 5 years and now I own an IT firm, a pub and a BMW. Sometimes I just think about the past and imagine what if I had not met with that accident that evening? I would have still been a cocky yet ordinary engineer in a firm. Now I have my own business and I am a great guy to be with. I am humble, polite and respectful. Sometimes a jerk is all we need to rethink and reevaluate our lives and ourselves. The biggest misery of our lives always bears the seed of the biggest happiness at its core. We just need to be courageous enough to see it through, walk up to it and claim it. As the famous line goes; there are no accidents. Life is a strict teacher, has funny ways to teach but rewards proportionately if we learn the lessons well!