Sunday, April 17, 2011

Almost Died

warning: unpolished and a bit incoherent BUT factual story ahead (appended video is totally unedited real life video!!)
incident time: 2011-02-27
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It was a grand plan. A grand plan to admire the beauty of much much grander one - The Sealink.
We were going to shoot a superb video of it and upload it online. We had done it before.
But this time we wanted to be alone about the bridge. No excited shaking and panning around of the camera.
No juvenile shrieks in the background. Just a serene video exposing the awe and wonder that is the Sealink.

We set out. Me at the wheel, Deeksha shotgun and Nehal in the backseat without a belt. Nehal without a belt.
As a driver I was just 5000 kms old. My car was as old as I was a driver - 5000 kms.
I had earned a few minor bumps and scratches over the time but got them old fixed during the second servicing of my new car - A shit coloured Maruti Swift.

Shit coloured - 'coz I didn't care to accompany my dad when he had gone to book the car. Of course the receipt said it was "Sunlight Copper" but that's just
a shiny name for orangey-brown. But once I learned to drive it around, I didn't care - despite the colour, I had managed to convince two girls to ride in it with me. Of course I had grown up with them, had known them all my life and one of them was going to be hitched in a few months - but that’s not the point.

Night. Car. Girls. Sea Link. And a camera to record the beauty. Beauty not of the girls, but of the Sea Link.
I just needed the girls to hold the camera while I drove.

We hit a massive body of traffic while moving on the road next to Juhu beach. People had come out late at night for some god forsaken reason.
Bumper to bumper traffic. I sighed! The city that never sleeps?? Balls!
The city which experiences traffic jams even at 2 am. Damn you Mumbai! Even though you fuck with me, I still love you.

Deeksha was beginning to feel pukey. I had to constantly alternate between accelerating and braking and this was making her nauseous.
Maybe she could hold her stuff till we reach the Sealink. Then I could stop the car and take a photo of her as she puked over the railing.
The camera's flash would highlight the length of her pukey stream and against the dark backdrop of the sea below, would show to the viewer how high the bridge is. I wished we had some water that I could offer her to thin out her puke and lengthen the stream.
I imagine her sticking her head out over the windscreen trying to dodge the wipers and sipping from the mist spray.
That's not what I was thinking as we were stick in traffic. But it could very well have been this. All I remember is that it was something with similar gross factor.

The final vehicle in front of us cleared out and we were free of all the traffic. We rolled down the window to enjoy the breeze. And because that would make Deeksha feel a bit less nauseated. But the damage was done. She declined to hold the camera to shoot the video. She just wanted to go home.
What a bummer. I pressed on "We have come this far, lets atleast go over it and take a u-turn and come back". She agreed.
Nehal, without her seat bealt on, wasn't saying much. Maybe she was asleep too. I thought to myself "thakeli kahin ki".

75 Rupees. Thats all it costs to experience driving over the bridge. Twice.
This time I drove slowly. Below the 50 kmph speed limit. I wanted us to experience the complete package of pleasure one gets by riding over it.
It reminds us of the power man can have over nature. I remembered the three reasons which make Reinforced Cement Concrete possible - steel and concrete have the same coefficient of thermal expansion, the microscopic surface of the steel is such that it improves the cohesion of cement to it and finally the alkaline nature of cement causes a passive formation of film on the steel which slows down corrosion. The awesome fact that all this is possible would make any one start believe in the greatest dude of all - God!. I don't know what else he wanted us to do or how he wanted us to live our lives. All I know is that he wanted us to make buildings. And bridges. Lots of them. And huge!

Anyway coming to back to the story, I drove over the awesome bridge, came out on the worli side turned around the circle and then a U turn later was back on the road leading back to the bridge. I was feeling sad that the girls were being useless and wanted to do something about it. I took out my cell phone. While driving. Over the bridge. Right when I thought the curvature had ended and the straight section had begun. I was fumbling with the cell phone trying to get it into video mode. At 80 kmph. Just then Deeksha shouted "Aya aye hey Anurag!".

I was about to drive into the side wall, and get us all killed. We could have dashed into the side wall, flipped over to the other side, crashed into the oncoming traffic in the other lane and then finally be bumped off into the sea where the filthy mutant fish flourishing in the mouth of the nala that is the Mithi River; would devour our bodies and return it to the polluted nutrient pool.


But that didn't happen. Amazingly neither did my testicles suddenly disapparate from my sac and apparate in my mouth. There was no adrenalin rush.
Within that split second I was able to brake just enough and steered and got the car to veer off away from the wall and back on the track.

Nehal was jerked hard to the other side and hurt her shoulder.
I thought the girls would kill me now. But neither of them knew how to drive. They had learnt how to but never practiced. So atleast I was alive till I got them back home till Andheri. I apologized profusely. I felt different. Like a hypocrite. I felt angry at myself for getting us killed almost. It didn't matter to me that we were still alive. Because this is how people die and I had done everything that could lead us to that. Sealink. Deathlink.
I felt as if my project had failed. Project, not to shoot the magnificent sea link, but to get us killed.
I wanted to kick my sorry ass. I remember thinking to myself that maybe I ought to drop them home and go right back and drive off the sealink. Fucking Shit. How could I do this.


"Dar gaya na" Deeksha said after a few minutes of driving in silence. Yup I was scared all right. Not at The moment when it could have happened. Weirdly I hadn't felt any rush at that moment when it happened. Maybe that helped  to save the car and myself and the girls. The scary part came later as I realised slowly what could have happened. And what made it worse was that I was very much capable of screwing up like that in the future too. Maybe I should give up driving. Maybe everyone should give up driving. Damnnnn...

Instead of screwing up my case, Deeksha was in fact thankful to me. Who doesn’t want added excitement in their lives?

As for Nehal, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, she wore her scar on right shoulder proudly. It could very well have been a hicke. So she thought that people would think.

As for me the experience was life changing. Worth sharing. Online.
Worth risking it being read by our parents.
I hope the probability that they will ever stumble across it is the same as the minuscule probability that saved us.
Or better still, I hope it’s the same as the combined probability that we lived and that the camera actually recorded the whole incident!

video

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