Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Turning Point

I think, at times, as to what can bring in a change in oneself. I thought for sometime and eventually concluded that its an event with some magnanimity, that touches, modifies and reverberates in you till death. The impact that would last a life time.
I was hoping that it would happen to me someday.

It happened on may 28th, 2006, when I was shown the doorway to hell for a solid 20 odd minutes.
To be brief, I fell into the ganges while rafting, the whole raft toppled and whilst some got in, i wasn't the lucky one, i had to struggle for 20 odd mins without a raft, downstream and with a lifejacket, absolutely no swimming and the ironnic 'hope' that I wouldn't die. After a gruelling 20 mins i found myself on the raft again with my childhood friend easwar in it, smiling at me, to tacitly mean "yes, you are lucky to be alive".

The things that you think of, when you are damn sure you are going to die, is very wierd. My immidiete thoughts weren't hovering over my family or my friends. Nor did i think of uttering 'vande mataram' with the truest patriotism. I was thinking of as to how to stay afloat in the moving water, how to avoid the rocks if i were to hit one and how to motivate myself to keep me fighting if I get hit by a rock underneath the vehement rapid. Once you think of all those things, you just reassess your state, just to lie to yourself that you still stand a chance.. your subconscious and conscience becomes a single entity at such a crisis.. and i eventually "understood" that those were my last moments..

There were some funny thoughts as well..
the one i remember clearly is this "Fuck, I haven't had sex, Damn I'm going to die a virgin".

Once these thoughts flashed past my overburdened mind, the panic level which was always increasing with time, seemed to hit a new high. The reason being me seeing a rapid straight up.. it was a small one though.. give me a break.. for an amateur adventurer who swims like a 58 kilo rock, needs the slightest of the issues to get panicked... as the panic permeates through my body, i was in the rapid, drinking the holiest water a Hindu can drink(H20 from Ganges) at a rate, which would make any camel proud.

Then came the second small rapid, not that I was feeling comfortable after the first one. The same old "water water everywhere and I need to drink the all of it" poem kept ringing in my head. I felt nausea for the first time. I told myself "Oh My god, now you wanna puke.. no way!! you dont have it in you to push out all that you ate"
and as I had lot of things to worry about like for instance 'my life', I was able to distract myself from vommiting.

Now there were few other things that were happening like one of the guys who was struggling like me without the raft, who also, sort of, followed the same course along the river, now changed his course due to his swimming capabilities and was heading to a raft that was almost still. One other similar dude, was already on another raft. "I'm the only one" isn't always a very happy thought. While I was watching these happen, the whole scene was viewed by hundreds of people, who were
walking past the "Ramjhula" or the "Laxmanjhula"(these are the long narrow suspension bridges that stretched across the ganges. Now I was on my way to making the headline on a local daily. I would have been the talk of the town, in a manner I would rather be not talked about.

The water was slowing down, not a rapid until the visible bend. These good signs was accompanied by a bad event. I was going down. I tried tightening my life guard. I shouted "I'm going down.. Help" and before i realised what was happening, my head was totally submerged in the still water. My hands were above the water level though. I was waving it, and FYI dumb charades doesn't help you in anyway in such a situation.

I was heading to a raft which was carrying 2 of my friends. I was hearing "do not panic... " and a gesture which was supposed to mean 'lift yourself up', initially made me feel "hang yourself.. kill yourself". All this done with a babylike smile on his face. Just giving me the last dose of temper. And my childhood friend was wearing a scott cooling glass, and wearing no emotion on his face, like he always does. All this was just before I sank.

When I was viewing the murky ganges from inside it, I was upright and I hoped i would soon reach some land from below and would kick myslef out to the surface. I was shaking my leg in a useless pattern, it made no difference. I was still, very gradually going down. Then the body came up with a great idea. Put its all the stored energy into use and save me. It pushed out the lunch i had devoured, a quarter ago, into the ganges, along with the ganges I had taken in. I was, to my relief, moving against gravity and hit the surface. Air that i had been breathing all my life, seemed like the elusive nobel prize that a physicist hopes to get. Soon after this, I was even more rigourous in making SOS calls out to the rafts. Like they say, a person goes down and comes back up 3 times, before he forever goes down. I had 2 more lifelines, but absolutely no energy to fight back in any manner. Then i found myself moving toward a rock, hit it with my feet, hugged it and climbed on to it. I held the rope thrown from the raft, pulled it closer to me, until it hit the rock i was sitting on and somehow climbed into it. Then, told myself, "lucky to be alive".

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