So. I have a story to tell. One about crazy incidents, amazing conversations and people who restore my faith in humanity. All of this took place a few days ago and although finding the time and means (no wifi at my current location) has made recounting it difficult, I’ve been struggling the most with how to put these events and thoughts into words. I know that whatever I write, I will still fail to correctly convey what happened…but…I’ve decided that instead of waiting weeks and weeks and weeks, I’m going to go ahead and give this a try.
The 24th of June was my last day in Delhi (I will return there in Sept. before I fly back home after our project has finished). My train for Lucknow left June 25th at 6:30 am and the hours leading up to it were…. absolutely insane.
Seeing as it was my last day in Delhi, I decided that I should go do touristy things and so I set off into the heat with “Boyfriend” (given that title and role in order to rescue Buttmunch and myself from awkward encounters with people we’re not especially fond of) and two other girls from the hostel that are sisters. The four of us became the tourist attraction at tourist spots that failed to be entertaining. Lucky for me, being in good company makes the most boring of forts interesting (seriously…the Red Fort is barely worth visiting). After hours out, we came back to the hostel where the sisters were pooped and fell asleep…the night had barely begun for Boyfriend and I.
We showered and got pretty (I threw on a dress and Boyfriend pulled off a swank adorned shirt we found in the middle east) and decided to go to Urban Pind to meet Sir France and Our Favorite for final drinks and a last hang out session before parting ways. I told the boys that I would only be having a drink or two and I made it very clear that I would not be staying out late seeing as I had to leave the hostel at 4:30am to make it to our 6:30am train. We stood around and talked and chilled and they smoked unhealthy amounts. Conversation with Our Favorite:
Me: You smoke a lot
Our Favorite: aah…nu..aye only smoke ven aye dreenk (“I only smoke when I drink”)
Me: Yeah…but you also drink a lot
Our Favorite: (laughs) aaay…yes…zes iz tru (“this is true”)
Anyways, standing around I enjoyed people watching…there was the girl who was under the impression that she was stunningly hot…there was another girl in a too short dress that caught the attention of all the men (I caught Sir France taking a peek and he was slightly abashed when he noticed that I noticed him noticing the curve of her rear). There was a German man who claimed he hated people but was at the bar seeking “entertainment” from humans while he saved money since he claimed Urban Pind was cheaper than the whiskey he has been drinking by himself at home. For some reason, the last encounter made me really sad. Also, I’m 100% certain that he had more than just alcohol running through his veins … he just seemed off, perhaps he was just broken hearted from the one person (a Nepali woman) he claimed was the only human who had ever meant anything to him.
A little before midnight Boyfriend and I decided that it was time we left. Sir France wanted me to stay and although his pleas of “but why do you have to go” and “I’m going to miss you darling” were endearing, his booze inspired love was hardly moving enough to convince me to miss the next step in my project with Buttmunch. Boyfriend was kind enough to wait for me to finish my beer, to hug the French and to make Our Favorite promise to dance with me if we meet again (Sir France stood by as my witness). Boyfriend and I left in an autorickshaw and I was preparing myself mentally for the last bit of packing and only a few hours of sleep when we came to a halt just in time to witness a white Toyota smash into truck transporting sand. The truck didn’t appear to be scratched and it sped off across the road leaving a trail of sand that no one bothered to follow.
Boyfriend and I sat stunned and looked across the street for movement…when no one seemed to be getting out of the car we asked the auto driver to pull over and we ran towards the scene of the crime. The front bumper of the car lay on the ground and the entire hood looked like a smashed in aluminum soda can. As we arrived a white man in his 60’s wobbled out of the car and sat down on the side walk. The man dressed in the dark peach of a Hari Krishna didn’t appear to be bleeding so we stood around trying to find a number for a taxi as he was on his way to the airport. He seemed to be fine until I crouched down in front of him and noticed that he was slightly convulsing and his eyes lacked focus. I grabbed his face between my hands and ordered him to look me in the eyes. After a few moments he came around and made eye contact. I felt like every thing I’d ever learned on head trauma/reviving a person/ how to handle a traumatic situation came rushing into my head. I knew that if he seemed unscathed he still risked a concussion so I asked him questions to see if he was okay. “Do you know your name?” “Do you know where you are?” “Are you hurt anywhere?” “Do you have any medical conditions I need to know about?” “Do you feel dizzy or nauseas?” He answered everything I asked but the last question prompted him to say “Yes actually…I do feel nauseas” and I saw his eyes lose focus and I could sense he was lacking control of his body. I grabbed his face again demanding that he stay with me…that he keep looking at me….for a terrifying moment I felt this dark fear in my heart and I prayed over and over and over again “Please God…do not let him die…do not let him die in my arms…do not let him die”…I barely knew what was going on around me, at some point a huge crowd that only stared had formed and I could hear Boyfriend asking for a number for a taxi or an ambulance…all I know was that I was trying to get this man to gain control and look at me….but instead of coming around, he started falling to his side and landed on the hard paved road. A slew of profanities left my mouth and I pushed the man on his back (something told me it was essential to helping him breath…thank you CPR class from 7th grade)…he came around, we got him to sit up and drink water. I kept telling him that he was going to be okay, that we were going to take care of him…I asked him every question I could think of that would be essential in getting him help should he pass out again.
By this time a friendly Indian man came over and offered to drive to the hospital which was only a few minutes away. The driver of the wrecked car seemed to be 100% fine. He was walking around and talking and didn’t have a scratch on him. He only seem concerned about the damage he’d done to the car (and the fault was entirely his seeing as the sand truck had come to a total halt before the car decided to dive in for a kiss of near death) and was worried about the passenger he was supposed to safely drop off at the airport. Boyfriend took responsibility of the situation while I offered empty reassurances to the Hari Krishna, we somehow got all of the man’s belongings out of one car into the other and off to the hospital we went.
The next few hours at the hospital went something like this:
1) retelling of what I had witnessed to at least 3 doctors and several other medical personals (some of these doctors could really work on their people skills….telling us about a similar incident where a young woman died is NOT reassuring)
2) offering my analysis of what happened (“why do you say he was seizing?” – “because his eyes lost focus, he had involuntary movement”)
3) Answering a bunch of questions
4) Explaining that I didn’t actually know the guy…we were just strangers who happened to be there
As soon as we brought him in, the man was laid down, he had needles put in him, they asked him questions, they asked me questions, I ran around finding Boyfriend and the Indian man asking them questions….at some point, I realized the worst of it was over – and it was only then that I felt like I was going to freak out. I am so beyond fortunate that Boyfriend was there, he held my hand and put his arm around me and asked me if I was okay…even though I wasn’t the one who got into the crash and I felt so much better and in control knowing that he was by my side.
One thing that stuck out to me was how (more than once) the man would say “Thank Krishna” “Krishna really saved me on this one”…I found this odd. I’ve heard “Thank God” “Thank Jesus”…and I too prayed many times to my God during the course of the night, I’ve heard people thank (or curse) karma…but hearing “Krishna saved me” was a first. People and different faiths….it’s such a curious thing.
While they were running tests, Boyfriend and I sat in the designated waiting room. We made little conversation and recounted two conversations we had had had that very same day:
1) Over dinner we had talked about humanity and the “good” in us…we talked about how people didn’t help each other as much as they should…little did we know that in a matter of hours we would be given the opportunity to help a stranger
2) We talked about bonding experiences and decided that there are 3 circumstances under which humans bond immediately: physical intimacy, traumatic experiences and bodily functions….you should know when Boyfriend, the two girls and I was squished in the autorickshaw, I found myself on his lap and in the Delhi heat we got well acquainted over my butt sweat (if you think that that doesn’t make people immediately closer…you are SO wrong…just ask Boyfriend)
SO…between butt sweat and the car wreck and the craziness we found ourselves in, I realized how blessed I was to find myself in this situation with a man who didn’t panic, who knew what to do, who offered comfort to the injured passenger, who made sure that the driver was okay….and who was kind and wise enough to offer me a hug too. I heard this saying once that said something like how you can spend every day with a man and not know who he really is until you have him hanging over an active volcano….India (to my knowledge) doesn’t have any volcano….but this incident was enough for me to see inside of Boyfriend and to admire and respect the man he is. (Btw…besides being wonderful in traumatic situations, Boyfriend also has an AMAZING blog that you should read…www.noarrivalnodeparture.blogspot.com and even though he’s a better writer and far more interesting than I am, please keep reading my blog too 🙂 )
Around 3 am, the 4 of us (Boyfriend, The Patient, The Indian Man and I) found ourselves exiting the hospital. After the test results came in, the payments were made and contact information exchanged the doctors suggested the man stay in the hospital for 24 hrs under observation but the man decided to arrange his flight details as he was supposed to fly to Istanbul…the Indian Man offered to drive him to the airport and Boyfriend and I headed back to the hostel.
There we were greeted by a concerned Buttmunch…we told her what had happened….even as we told her, and even as I type this…all of it feels so unreal. Eventually Boyfriend and I found ourselves alone at the dining table…we sat there, half holding hands, mostly in silence and just saying “damn”.
I didn’t get any sleep that night, but here I am…now in Lucknow, Boyfriend is still in Delhi and the man from the accident was nice enough to shoot me an e-mail to thank me and let me know that he made it safely to Istanbul.
I’ve been thinking a lot in the last 24 hours…about things that happen to us, about the people we meet, about the relationships and bonds that are formed and created…I have no answers. I have thoughts, I have questions..maybe one day I’ll understand the significance of this incident..(just one among many…) maybe one day I’ll see the purpose of why this happened…but for now, I’m just so happy that the Indian Man, Boyfriend and I happened to be where we were when we were, I’m so glad that the hospital was so close by, I’m amazed the driver left unhurt and the passenger made it with only mild cuts and bruises….and I am excited to have bonded with Boyfriend over butt sweat, car wrecks and the most genuine of hugs. I am so pleased to see that people like him exist. Boyfriend says that we’ll meet again one day, I hope we do…and if/when we do, I’ll be happy just to sit and talk over coffee and get to know each other under normal circumstances. That would be nice.