I remember the date. It was 26th December, last year. Sunday. I was feeling restless and a bit uneasy. I do not remember exactly why, but I do remember that I was walking on the balcony of my flat in Delhi, thinking something and listening to some songs on my phone. It was afternoon. Pleasant and Warm. My mind was rather running, here and there, jumping from one thought to another (for the life of me, I can not remember at all what was I thinking at that time). I was not in a mood of talking to anyone. Solitude suits me. So, suddenly the song on my phone stops. My thought process breaks and I take a look at the phone. I was getting a call. Only a number(a landline) was displayed, so I had no way of knowing who is on the other line. The STD code showed that it was from Noida. Most of the times, the calls from unknown numbers get unanswered(no credit cards and loans for me..). But this time, despite my not being in a very talkative mood, I picked the call. A man introduced himself by the name of Imran (I think it was this name). He said that he is from an organization named GiveIndia, an NGO. And there is a 7 month old child admitted in AIIMS hospital, suffering from a critical heart disease and the organization is trying to collect money for the operation of the child. Needless to say, the parents of the child are very poor and in no condition to afford the cost of the operation. He politely explained me this, and at last he said, Rs X(I do not want to disclose the amount) is required for the operation, and asked me if I would be willing to contribute some amount for the surgery. May be after a moment of indecision or thinking, I said Yes. Then he asked how much amount was I willing to contribute. Depending upon, how much I give, he will have to decide that how many more people he has to call to ask for further support for this particular surgery. I was feeling a little embarrassed (talking about money, I tend to feel like this*). I simply told him that for this surgery you do not need to call anyone anymore. May be, he was not used to this answer, so he took a second before saying his hearty thanks. He took down my email and said that he will send the details there.
The next day was 27th, Monday. A working day. I got his email and it was arranged that someone from the organization will come to my office and I will hand him a cheque of the required sum. The guy did came and he showed me some pictures of the infant boy (may be for just making me believe that all this was not a sham) and some other details. I did give him the cheque. I had anyway googled the name of the organization and read about it on the net. I was also told that I will get the details regarding the progress of the surgery and I can meet the boy in the hospital, should I choose to do so. I just said, OK. And frankly speaking, I had no plans to meet the boy.
The day after that 28th, Tuesday. After a rather mundane day in office, I came home around 7 in the evening. I was sitting in my room, watching TV, talking to my room mate and his parents who were also in town. My phone rang. It was Papa calling. I picked the phone. Papa asked how am I. The usuals. Something was wrong. I sensed it. The tone in the Papa's voice was different. I knew, almost immediately that something bad has happened. So I asked him, 'Papa, kya hua hai?' He took some time and then told me that he has met with an accident. And before I could ask any further, he told me that that simply the fact that he is talking with me directly, I should be assured that he is fine. I asked him the details. He told me, he was driving his bike (without an helmet) and how a presumably drunk truck driver coming from the opposite side, almost dashed a auto-rickshaw and trying to avoid a collision with it, took an extreme left turn, which caught the bike unawares. It was almost an head on collision. Everyone who heard the story or saw the accident scene afterwards tells me that no one stood a chance to stay alive in there. The bike was smashed and crushed. The huge, heavy tyres of the truck were on the legs of Papa and were advancing towards the chest. So, he is under the tyres and seeing the truck crawling upon himself, without any hope of escape. It was like seeing your end. Miraculously, he did not pass out. He tells me that at that moment when he knew this is it, he just said something of the sort,'Hey bajrang Bali'. And the truck halted. On the thighs. Very soon, the locals near by helped in overturning the truck on the other side. And he was saved. Not a brain injury, Not a single fracture, the reports revealed. Only the bruises, cuts and swelling. And the scars, both physically and mentally. I asked when did it happen. He said it happened on the evening of 26th.**
I have not talked about this with many people. In the family only Papa knows it. Outside, only a couple of people may be. I do not even know what to make of it. Was it all planned that I will be taking a call where I have an opportunity to save a child's life (Who am I to save anyone's life anyway. It sounds like boasting) and around the same time my dad is meeting with an accident. Or it was just a random turn of events. Would the outcome of my dad's accident would have been any worse had I chosen to not offer any help? Was my dad spared the worst’s because someone thought I was doing some good. I am not actually a very religious person and I tend to think that we have a choice to make, decisions to take, regarding the direction which our life would proceed. I have no way of knowing, if the two incidents were related by some almighty way. And if the two incidents are not related at all, then what I decided had nothing to do with what happened in the accident. But, if I had decided to not to offer any help, thinking that I can not give away money (substantial amount, I would think, going my a middle class income), to help someone unknown, and something worse or worst would have happened at the accident, then I know my decision would have haunted me my whole life. And I am just glad that in the end, everything turned out OK.
* I guess, it is more a kind of shy rather than embarrassment. Money is important. Very important. But when we start giving money more importance than things which define us, make us happy and in bliss , then the problem arises. And I know, yet, that money has not gone to my head. (First you should have that kind of money which can go to your head, you would ask :P ). And I do not have that kind of money, just yet :D
** I took a 3 week vacation and in the process had to cancel my planned 7 day cycling trip in and around Goa. After about 4-5 months of rest, medicines, exercises, patience, struggle and prayers, Papa is back on his two legs. But the mental scar which it left will probably take some more time to heal.