Add inches to your life

It was an unlikely day for a moment of reckoning – a satisfying day at work, filing an exclusive, knowing fully well the subject was in a deep state of discomfiture and so heading home feeling a little light-headed was par for the course. Except that destiny had other plans – a plan that included my coming within four inches of my moment of truth, as they say.

I stood rooted to the spot as I watched the mini-truck hurtle towards me and another pedestrian – strangely though, not out of fear but out of strategy. We were backed up against a wall, and I reasoned in my mind that the driver, in the interest of self-preservation, would either turn left, or right as the road bifurcated. Except that in the dimness of the cabin light, I could see the driver had frozen – and which I knew spelt bad news for us.

I had always imagined, for long, as to how I would die – would it be peaceful, in my sleep, or a violent end, and I admit, a truck had at times figured in the scheme of things. Only thing that scared me was the physical pain that would have to be endured till the grim reaper came for the soul harvest.

I have often also wondered if I would be able to face my certainty with the fortitude that I saw in my father, who hurtled towards his own with barely an acknowledgement of the fact. The day he realised he had to physically depend on others for as simple a task as getting out of bed, he decided to call it a day, that very night.

Some would argue, too proud to admit to the fact that he was human, too proud to ask for help. But for better or for worse, for good or for bad, he’s the man whose Y-chromosome I inherited.

There was this fleeting, wild moment, when I fancied jumping on to the truck’s windshield and grabbing hold of the roof, even as the truck driver desperately applied the brakes. What scares me now, in recollecting the event, is that all that was supposed to happen in such instances – my blood should have frozen that very instant, my feet shouldn’t have moved an inch, I should have turned pale with fear – didn’t happen. And that’s what scares me – have I started expecting death at any and every moment that I have stopped loving life? If so, can I even offer love to anyone?

As soon as the truck screeched to a halt, about a couple of inches shy of half a foot, I thought what if it hadn’t stopped. I would probably have been gracing the wards of some hospital, or worse, maybe its morgue, and someone far, far away, wouldn’t have had a clue, thinking my silence was another mood swing!! Eventually, it might have become a known fact, but just how long that eventually would turn out to be, would be anybody’s guess.

And then I realised that I was probably excited, because in that state of mind, I had already detailed the incident in text message to her number – the realisation of which was followed by immediate regret. What if she thought I was trying to milk sympathy? And considering that there wasn’t even a scratch on me, it did seem like a cheap publicity stunt on my part to garner some concern.

If I had landed up with a few broken bones, or maybe permanently out of service, I wouldn’t mind the sympathy, though I am not quite sure if in the latter case I would be even able to sense it!

As time passed, my hopes that my message wasn’t delivered – my service provider does help me out at times, especially when a message I want to be sent keeps looping in cyber space – started rising, only to be dashed a few moments later when the phone beeped.

And if that was the end of it, no sirs and ma’am! The lady escalated the issue to the highest level – well, I guess she was having her sweet revenge at embarrassing me for the umpteen times I have done her that favour! Won’t deny it was flattering and awfully nice of the elders in the family calling up to enquire.

Anyways, this was the little adventure of the day – had planned on writing about something else, but this freak occurrence has pushed back the topic I had in mind by a day.

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