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Soumya Kumar Nayak



Soumya Kumar Nayak


The Best Gift In Life - IS LIFE

The Best Gift In Life - IS LIFE

6 mins 190 6 mins 190

It was a gloomy winter evening in November of 2002. I was sitting on the sprawling lawns of our college grounds, hopelessly trying to shrug off thoughts about the abuse my backside was going to take later in the evening. It happened to be my birthday the next day. 

“Let’s go for a cup of tea to Tiroda”! Sonu’s voice jolted me out of my trance. Tiroda was a small town around 35 km from our college in Gondia, a small industrial town on the heavily Naxal infested border between Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. It was an adventure of sorts for the students of our engineering college to travel the distance for a cup of tea by the highway side. 

Like in most cases, more than the tea it was the journey to Tiroda which was a fresh break for many a bored heart. “Why Not”? I retorted as I snapped out of my stupor and reached out for my bike keys, a silver-colored Bajaj Pulsar, the only one in the whole city (which was often a matter pride and boasting between close groups of friends).

Off we started on our small pleasure trip. The time was about 6 PM and the winter sun had long gone beyond the horizon, with a few streaks of its light reminding us of its magnificent presence just moments ago. My partner Sonu, riding pillion, was a local lad and a distance cousin of one of my good friends. He was an enterprising young lad, a couple of years younger than me, who, of late, had taken a liking to my reckless ways and used to stick around me a lot. Apart from the usual banter about the girls at college, local goons, street fights among different groups and local lads, the journey was mostly uneventful.

We must have ridden about 20 km when we came across a small crowd of people shutting frantically at each other on the right side of the road. Out of curiosity and habit, I stopped my bike, only to be brought face to face with a horrifying scene. There had been an accident. It was a hit and run case. Two heavily injured men lay writhing in pain next to the mangled remains of a motorcycle. They were bleeding all over the place and were in a state of shock!

The sight of so much blood had already made my friend nauseous as he told me “Soumya bhau, let’s go. Why spoil our little outing for a couple of drunkards lying injured by the roadside? Soon the police will be here and we might get into trouble”. Having seen much blood myself, I was not as flustered as him, but nevertheless, agreed to him and decided to continue our trip.

We would have hardly traveled a kilometer when my conscience kicked in – “What’s this Soumya? You are not someone who leaves people in dire need of help and runs away from the scene? What has gotten into you?” 

As these stinging questioned pierced my (by now half-dead) conscience, as if almost by instinct, even at full speed, in the middle of the state highway, my hands automatically turned my bike around (it was only later that I realized what a dangerous move I had made and could have easily become an accident victim myself)!

The crowd at the accident scene had swelled by now but was as clueless as ever. I decided to ACT! The first thing I did was asked my friend to take my bike, search for a phone, dial 100 and inform the police. Meanwhile, I decided to stay back and tend to the victims. I came closer to the victims only to be overwhelmed by the stench of alcohol reeking from their breath. I searched the bike thoroughly and found four small bottles of local liquor which I promptly discarded by throwing them into the roadside bushes. One of the victims was crying a lot but his injuries seemed superficial. The other victim had a 3- inch long (and God knows how deep) gash on his forehead, with many of the fingers on his right hand, almost severed and hanging by the skin. He was constantly getting in and out of consciousness. 

I decided to put him in a sitting position from his lying position. As soon as I did that, a fountain of blood gushed out of the gash on his forehead and splattered my face! This is when it dawned on me – I didn’t have much time. Luckily by then, my friend was back. With his help, I placed the seriously injured victim in the middle of my bike’s seat between the both of us and immediately headed for the nearest government hospital, a good thirty kilometers from the accident spot.

The ability to carry drunk friends on my bike to their rooms, by anchoring them with one hand thereby preventing them from falling off and riding the bike with another hand came in handy. Having firmly secured the victim between us, it was a matter of my riding skills, luck and God’s grace that would help us save this poor man’s life. 

It was around 8 PM when we reached the hospital in a record 20 minutes and with the victim, on our shoulders, we raced to the emergency room. My shirt by now had been completely drenched by blood and people were confused about who was the victim! With no time to lose, after laying the victim on one of the empty beds, we rushed into the doctor’s chambers and brought him with us to attend to the victim.

Those were THE most harrowing 30 minutes of my life (even if it was regarding the fate of a stranger) - waiting outside the emergency ward of the KTS government hospital in Gondia for the doctor’s word. Finally, the doctor came out and congratulated us that the victim was stable (which itself was a miracle given the amount of blood he had already lost). The doctor was surprised to know that we were complete strangers to the victim. From the wallet and other papers retrieved from the victim’s pockets, we managed tracing the victim’s relatives whose house fell on the way back to our college. We made a brief stop and informed them and asked them to immediately rush to the hospital.

Finally, three hours after Sonu and I had started off for a cup of tea by the highway, here we stood in our hostel room, completely bloodied, and still trying to come to terms with what had just happened. 

Although I never miss a chance to do a small act of kindness, help an accident victim, try bringing a smile on the face of a stranger as I walk down the road, this incident was a bit different. GOD had given me the best gift on the eve of my birthday – the gift of an opportunity of gifting life to someone! To be frank, this is not a completely selfless act done by me because somewhere deep within my heart, I too expect that in the event of role reversal, there will always be a good Samaritan who would take me to the hospital just in time!

As I entered the shower, there was a feeling of peace and serenity around me. Unknown to even me, a satisfied smile had manifested itself all over my face, which had long wiped off the worry (that was troubling me throughout the afternoon) about the severe torture that my lower back was going to take later in the evening!

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