A Close Shave

A leisure trip to bookshop usually lifts my gloom. Needless to say, it also lightens my wallet. Today’s trip was no different. I had just seen off my sister at station.

When your dear ones depart, a strange knot forms inside stomach. Suddenly nothing seems as good as it seemed a day ago. My theory is it is easier on the people who go, harder on the ones that remain behind. Therefore, my trip to bookshop.

After an hour armed with packages, I hailed an auto rickshaw to home. And then I remembered a friend had mentioned a party tonight. I called the friend to ask if party was still on.

While talking I noticed that the auto rickshaw driver bumped twice into a motorcycle and a car. I asked him to take it slow. I checked, he was not drunk. I am good at smelling it out. 5 years of practice in crowd-ridden buses of Delhi.

Me and my friend fixed the meeting details and I joked that he should wear a pink T-shirt so that I can make him out in the crowd. We hung up. That’s the last thing I remember. Last thing before the accident.

For few minutes, it appeared that the auto was braving a storm. It swerved and tumbled. I fell down from the seat, I tried to hold on to a railing. I missed, I screamed. And then it collided. All I could make out that I was sandwiched in the back, on the floor, between passenger seat and the driver seat. My back facing towards the outside of auto. I was slipping and falling outside while the auto skidded to the side of the road. It was then the auto collided.

And my back hit the divider on the road. I fell on my back, my legs in air and my shoe flew off, my body still sandwiched inside the auto. The auto had come to halt with the collision.

For few moments, I didn’t know what was happening. Several faces peered inside the auto. Perhaps trying to make sure there was life inside. Though I had realised I had survived, I was in daze. I wouldn’t look up at people. Ashamed that they might have seen me in embarrassing posture, my legs in air, and confused what to do now. I looked around for shoe, and my specs. I vaguely asked the confused crowd for my specs. I guess they were not sure if I was hurt or not. Then I started looking for them myself with my jangled nerves. I was half crying and sobbing.  Strangely no tears would come.

A handsome guy (yes, I noticed) with Button Eyes, who had been driving a SUV, had stopped. He asked me if I was alright. Did I need water? He noticed I was still half sobbing. Says, Chill. Yeah, of course. I, oblivious of my surroundings, move to the side of traffic-laden road. I vaguely hear the driver say sorry to me. As if he had just stepped on my feet. Button Eyes asks me where I live. I question him back where was I. For life of me, I couldn’t recognise the road where I was. Button Eyes tells me where both the intersection of roads leads to. I quickly nod as if I understand all that he has told me.  Scared that he might offer to drop or I will make myself look more foolish, I walked off in daze. I stood there at the signal for few minutes. Out of corner of my eye, I saw Button Eyes drive his car off.

Then, randomly asked a van driver which way was ‘X’, the place I live. Don’t know what he saw, he said he would drop me since he was going that way. I refused, I had enough of auto in a day, I crossed the road with bit difficulty since light had turned green while I was mid-way. And then I went home. Later, I realised I hadn’t paid the auto driver who had caused the accident. What are the norms about paying in such a situation?

I wanted to share this with someone. Not Family. They would panic. No point in alarming friends either. Moreover, you don’t call anyone and say, hey you know I just had an accident.

But I needed to tell someone that I had survived. Had not the auto collided with that divider, I might have broken my back with the fall. I just had few bruises on back and scratches on elbow. Someone who loves me has been really praying hard for me that I was saved. A close shave.

Also, now I see my sister’s accident a month ago in new light. She too had a close shave but had some serious fractures. And she couldn’t remember how she came under that vehicle. Though I won’t pester her about it, I worried. A doctor explained to me that in shock it happens that you don’t remember the moments before the accident. May be she will remember few months later. I now know what the doctor meant. I too have no recollection how my auto ended up on the opposite side of that road, how the accident started. Not that I care.

But I have a learnt a lesson. When a thing hiccups like the two earlier bumps auto driver made, it’s time to cut your losses and move on. I should have left that auto sooner, as my instincts said. Be it a relationship, friendship or stocks, listen to your instincts and cut your losses sooner. Sometimes it is not meant to get better. I am glad that I live to tell you that.

Now that this has been written, my nerves feel steady; I guess I should prepare to go the party. What the heck, I have earned it.

P.S: On an earthy note, my friend Prateek has been nominated for Indiblogger of the Month for the best Original Poetry category. Please see details here and vote for him. Prateek is also a regular on Blogadda #perkytweets for his humour.

Incidentally, two other poet bloggers, Sriharsha and Vishesh on my blogroll have also been nominated there, so please vote for them too. You can vote for 5 people at Indiblogger. Here is the Indiblogger link, please vote for my friends. May the best man win! 🙂

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70 Responses to “A Close Shave”


  1. 1 Rupa October 24, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Thank god you are safe.

    God is with you 🙂

  2. 3 Chittaranjan October 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Ohmigosh! That sounds like a scary accident. Hope you’re alright now. Auto accidents can be very nasty (I’ve been in one myself…wasn’t hurt but my friend broke his knee as he rammed it into the front of the auto)

    Its easy for us readers to suggest you should have done this and that but at that scary instant, its hard to think of anything else other than one’s safety. Wondering if someone from the crowd hauled up the autowallah!

    Take good rest and try to get past it all…the mental scare is much harder to let go of than the physical scar.

    P.S: Can’t help but see the irony in ur two posts – one praising autowallahs and another abt an accident in one!

    • 4 Poonam Sharma October 24, 2009 at 9:03 pm

      I have no clue what they did or said to auto-wallah. I walked off soon enough.Don’t think they beat him, it is not north. Yes, I can gather the irony too. I am well, just about to go out to see a friend. 🙂

  3. 5 vishesh unni raghunathan October 24, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    *sigh these fellows, urgh.. thank goodness you are safe..now take lots of rest.. tc 😀

  4. 7 Praveen October 24, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Glad ur fine Poonam. Take care.

  5. 9 Hypermom October 24, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Gosh-please take care. Thank God!

  6. 10 Prats October 24, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Damn the Auto-Wallahs… Thank god u r safe….
    You know what I love the spirit that you are partying just after an accident. No wonder we are friends.

    Ps. Thanks for campaigning for Votes for me @ Indiblogger Contest.

  7. 12 mcurie October 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    This happened today? Just around time when you were RTing my tweequest for help?
    Good that you got over that incident and still managed to get to the party. That’s the spirit! And now you know why I favor buses over autos 🙂

    • 13 Poonam October 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

      Accident had already happened when I RTed your request. Yep, I guess I had spirit to party. And I had a great time. 🙂 So, wise decision in the hindsight.

  8. 14 Ishmeet October 25, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Good God, I’m glad that you didn’t get hurt and everything is fine. Take care.

  9. 16 Aridhi October 25, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Whoa… I’m getting shivers thinking about this. I’m really thankful that you are ok. It is amazing that we can live life just as we want but there always come times when we think “whoa, I didn’t anticipate THIS”. Do we live with reality in view? Your experience will keep me in thought about this tonight. No matter how good we may think we have it, there is always reality to remember… again, I’m really glad you’re ok.

  10. 18 Psych Babbler October 25, 2009 at 2:28 am

    Holy moly! That really was close! Glad to hear you are safe. And as for not paying the autowallah…I don’t think you have to pay the guy causing an accident!

  11. 20 Ava October 25, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Oh Gosh this is terrible. Big thing is, you are safe. Dont know what kind of a crazy your auto walla was.

    Do get a check up done anyway. Better safe than sorry !

  12. 22 Solilo October 25, 2009 at 9:24 am

    As we already talked on twitter, glad that you are safe dear.

    BTW Button eyes and your ‘main kahaan hoon’ ahem.. 😉

    • 23 Poonam October 26, 2009 at 11:54 am

      :sheepish: I know it does come across as funny. But ‘main kahan hoon’ was because I really didn’t know that road. City is still new to me. After I hailed another auto, I asked the guy what do we call this place.

  13. 24 Minal October 25, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Poonam,
    I had a fright reading this! Thank god you are safe. Also I’m not sure if I can take the liberty but please would you go to a doctor and get a check up done just to be on the safe side!
    Take care

  14. 26 B K CHOWLA October 25, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Good to see you safe back home.
    The accident raises a pertinent question….was it due to bad,uneven,pot holed road?My gut feel is that it was so.
    Anywhere else in the world,you could have sued the State Deptt responsible for the up keep.
    Do comment if it was due to bad roads.

  15. 28 xylene October 25, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Thank god you are safe !

  16. 30 Vikas Gupta October 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Glad to know you are safe! And your humour is intact as well! 🙂

  17. 32 Zainab Dhanji October 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Firstly, you are an excellent narrator! and secondly I totally agree with your theory-of-staying-behind. I also feel your need to share your incident with someone… I had the same need a week ago when I had a hand injury.

    I think going with your instincts is way better than not going with them, so yeah, I agree there too! oh dear so much agreeing for the day! Just so you know, I hardly agree with anyone lately, so that’s good news. Be good and happy reading-the-books-you-just-bought.

    • 33 Poonam October 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm

      I smiled and laughed at your comment. Glad you agree. 😛 And I have armload of new books waiting to be read. Hope I clear my backlog. 🙂

      How is your hand injury now?

  18. 34 Reema October 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Glad to know you are safe. Take care.

  19. 36 hitchwriter October 25, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Thank god your safe… !!!!

    admist all that you managed to notice smart guy button eyes.. aah… women !!!!! 😉

    lol…

  20. 38 Philip October 26, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Glad to know you are safe. Thank God for the blessings. Take care.

  21. 40 Ruhi October 26, 2009 at 7:19 am

    OMG that’s terrible, Poonam. I feel for you. It’s difficult to even think straight. I was going to suggest that you call a cop and get the auto driver punished or something….next moment, I’m thinking, punished? really? Hmmpff.

    These people think they are driving planes and not rickshaws. When I had an accident in Pune, no one from the streets walked up to help. There were tons of auto drivers on the other side of the road. They stood there seeing what happened. They laughed and sniggered at me: Some a-hole riding a bike had pushed my Kinetic and I’d lost my balance. I fell off my bike and bruised myself very badly. Lost consciousness for about 15 minutes.

    Anyway, I’m glad you are safe and you had the good humor of still going to that party! Please take care.

    • 41 Poonam October 26, 2009 at 12:58 pm

      I am sorry my post reminded you of your accident. I felt terrible reading your account. How could people be so insensitive? That reminds me of other accident you had and survived.

      In my case, more people were there. Several cars had stopped to peer. Only Button eyes asked me and I was in hurry to move away from the sight.

      And you are right, I was not thinking straight at all.

      Cheers to us, the survivors!

      P.S: Had gala time with friend at party.:)

  22. 42 Priyanka October 26, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Poonam,
    That’s scary! Glad you are safe. Its telling how you can think of ‘not paying the autowalla’ when it would be perfectly justified to tell him off.
    First-time-de-lurker.

    • 43 Poonam October 26, 2009 at 11:59 am

      I am glad this made you de-lurk. Good to see your comment here. 🙂 I just ignored the driver and walked off the scene. Maybe I should have berated him, but I wasn’t thinking straight then. So you will have to forgive me on that. 😛

  23. 44 The Quirky Indian October 26, 2009 at 11:09 am

    That must have been scary. But it’s good to know that you’re OK, and ready to party.

    Take care.

    Quirky Indian

  24. 46 Aathira October 26, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    That is very scary! Glad that nothing happened.

    One of my friends when travelling in an auto to the cinema had the auto topple over and bruises and aches followed for a few days!

    Hope you are recovering ok?

  25. 48 Falcon October 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    @ poonam

    good to know u r safe…

    And Inreally likec ur spirit!

  26. 50 vimmuuu October 27, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Glad that you are safe. Did anything happen to the ground where you fell 😉 ???

    and any idea on who that button eyes was ?? Chey! missed an opportunity, huh? 😀

    • 51 Poonam October 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm

      Actually I did not fall on ground. I was still inside auto when my back hit the road divider.

      Yeah, you are the only one who understood that it was a missed opportunity. 😉

  27. 52 Vee October 27, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Go To Hell…..

    Not Apt For This Post, But That’s What I Can Think Of At This Time…

    P.S. I Had To Get Know Of This Through Ur Post. Damn You! And Yeah, Get Lost Again.

  28. 53 whatsinaname October 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Oh Gosh! Thats a terrible experience. Hope you have recovered now.
    I guess soon they will make helmets compulsory for auto riders too 😉

  29. 54 Nova October 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    OMG dear!! I am sooooo glad to know you are safe and sound… These moments can leave you scarred for a while. Hope you recover from it soon… though from your post, I can make out that you already have to a great extent.

    God was being kind to us that nothing happened to you. Let us thank Him for this generosity! 🙂

  30. 55 Arpit October 27, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    thats terrible! how are you now?? hope you are recovering fast. do take care of yourself and make sure you dont take undue stress. take a break from work and take rest. dont ignore the injuries. hope you will get well soon . i guess willow must not be knowing this. i will inform her. and do keep us updated on your health.

  31. 56 aniruddha pathak October 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    hey i’m glad you are safe and sound to come back and write this post..god bless you

  32. 57 Prerna October 29, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Thank God you are safe!

  33. 58 museditions October 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Oh, dear Poonam! I’m so glad you weren’t seriously hurt, but it certainly sounds like you were in shock at the time, and that is very normal in such a situation. I agree with many who spoke of how very well you wrote about this. I am glad you shared with us. That’s one of the wonderful things about blogging—look how many friends here who wish you well!
    …sorry “button eyes” got away! 😉

  34. 59 Nita October 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Poonam, you have written this very well. it was quite gripping and yes good to know everything is fine.

  35. 60 Man of Roma November 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Dear Poonam, I had started to read this post matteroffactly but then I suddenly understood and got so worried. I am happy all is well. Hitting one’s back is so darn dangerous. I agree that sometimes our instincts tell us something we have to listen to.

  36. 61 Radha November 4, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Damn these auto drivers! Looks like the entire clan is made out the same way..
    Thank God you are safe..

  37. 62 gladspire November 7, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Whatever happens (except death) life goes on and on….

    [[[ http://www.gladspire.wordpress.com ]]]

  38. 63 praneshachar November 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    First let me thank god for all the good. As elders say may be you are saved of a bigger mishap and hope you will be back to your normal soon or u r back already. yes I know I am commenting very late as I was not regular on net now a days
    Appreciate your spirits of going alone and resisting any help and still managing to attend party. Its good atleast you can divert your attention elsewhere.
    At the end of the day all that happened is for your wellbeing. may god bless you for better
    pranesh

  39. 64 Rashid Faridi November 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Heartening to know that a Excellent Blogger is safe.

  40. 65 Rashid Faridi November 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Take care. You are very right about relationships.

  41. 66 Indian Homemaker November 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I am reading this today! Glad you are fine, this scared me. Accidents happen like this… and there’s no harm in alarming or worrying your family. I know if someone close to me met with even a small accident I would like to know about it.

    I agree with the advice at the end. And glad you could party too.

    But I am still thinking of the accident, so many times I have seen people injured, and in a daze sitting on the foot path or the divider and they never accept help… didn’t realise how helpless and dazed, and lost one might feel. You were lucky you were still fully conscious! Take care!

  42. 67 B.N.Suresh Mangaladurai January 10, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Travelling in Delhi, especially in an auto rickshaw is the scariest thing ever. Worse than an expedition to the jungle. Even the most courageous at heart who wouldn’t fear bungee jumping, rafting and floating in outer space would have their hearts in their mouths when travelling in an auto rickshaw in Delhi.

    You must really have a special destiny to have survived such an accident. I guess God does have a special purpose for you.

    • 68 Poonam Sharma January 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

      I laughed heartily at your comment. I half assented, half dissented. This accident happened in Pune and not in Delhi. Hope God does have a nice special purpose with me. 🙂

  43. 69 tikulicious January 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Gosh Poonam This sure was scary. Glad you are safe, I know Pune roads and the way traffic moves there. ram bharose as I say.

    I have been reading and following your blog but never came to comment. Today is the day to reach out to all my blogger friends.


  1. 1 Conversations with a Bangalore Auto Driver | Visceral Observations Trackback on March 10, 2015 at 2:53 am

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