Thursday, May 18, 2006

The fears

I have a cousin who never used the Calcutta Metro because he had this innate fear of being stuck underground and dying in the train. And then there is Professor T who will drive hundreds of miles to get to a conference rather than taking a flight for fear of the plane crashing. And my mom will never get on a boat because she is convinced that boats are meant to drown and she doesn't know how to swim. People have all kinds of fear. The all pervasive, predominant fear is of dying. No one really wants to die (except may be some lost victims of unrequitted love). And yet, no matter how we try to play it safe by avoiding cars and planes and ships and trains, we never know how things may turn out to be when the time comes. And the truth is one may try his/ her hardest by staying at home thinking it is safe and still be hit by a hurricane or tornado and die. Or just have a heart attack. And die.

Yesterday there was a multi-car pile up on the interstate when I was driving back home which resulted in delays that took upto two hours to get through. And as I sat there in my car wondering about the people who were involved in the crash I had the strangest feeling. What were these people thinking of right before the accident? Were they thinking about some unfinished work in the office? Were they thinking about their family and how much longer it would take to get home? Were they thinking of dinner? Of taking the kids out to the ballgame? Did someone try to cut across another car thinking it would make him go a little faster and end up being the cause of the accident? I have no clue. I don't even know how many people were involved and whether they were alive and okay. But I know of people, friends, who have had accidents on the road. And died. It happens. It happens all the time. And I had the sudden urge to rush back home. To be safe in the arms of my family. To be able to tell them that I love them and how much they mean to me. And that I try to drive safe. But sometimes things happen that you have no control over. People make mistakes. And they suffer. And they make others suffer.

And I couldn't help but think of what it was like for people who are involved in an accident. And what it is like for the family who hear the news. I remember when B was rear-ended on a state highway and his car went and hit the car in front resulting in a three car accident with his car being smashed up on both ends. I saw a picture of the car after the accident and it is unbelievable that someone could walk away unscathed from that. And yet, B did walk out. Unscathed. And I have never been able to thank God enough for that. But I remember the exact moment when I heard the news. And I knew they were taking him to the ER. And although B kept reassuring me that he was okay I was scared out of my wits, sick with worry that he wasn't telling me the whole story. And the only thing that seemed important at that moment was that I needed to reach him and be at his side. Which wasn't easy because he was in Virginia and I was in Chicago. But I did get a flight with relative ease that let me reach his side.

And I know how much B and my parents worry about me driving to work everyday. The rush hour traffic, the thousands of people trying to get to work and home as fast as they can, the cars cutting across lanes squeezing in what little space there is, and the constant stress of staying awake and alert. And I know taking the train is a safer and less stressful option. But I save almost two hours everyday by driving instead of taking the train and I'd rather spend those two hours at home with my family.

So I drive. And I try to drive safe. And I pray that nothing ever happens to me on the road. I pray for myself and I pray for my family. Because I don't want to die. I don't even want to be injured. Like that girl from College Park who had an accident last Thanksgiving and is still in rehab. Or R's brother who is undergoing physiotherapy to get back on his feet, four years after his accident. No, I don't want that to happen to me. Or my family. But one can only hope and pray. And I want my family to know how much they mean to me. And that I love them. Even if I don't get to show it to them as often as I would like. And that I've always wanted them to be proud of me. And not be a burden or a source of unhappiness to them. Ever. And even though there are times when I hurt them without realizing it, I would do anything to keep them safe and happy.

And I am grateful to them for making my life so complete.

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Blogger Rapid I Movement said...

Awww, your're so awfully bhalo.

12:26 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:28 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Sorry guys but was having some trouble with my blog since yesterday. Thought it had disappeared. But looks like things are back where they belong.

@ r.i.m. awaj dewa hochhe na ki?

9:01 AM  
Blogger That Girl said...

woo!! i can see your blog now!!

yes.. life is fleeting.....
we're given a huge chance when we are given life...and so.. all the sadness that happens around us.. are reminders of how we should clean up our act...and really open our eyes.

11:19 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ grafxgurl "i can see your blog now!!" yeah me too. And I am so glad :))
Life is fleeting. Life is full of possibilities. Life is full. We should make the most of every moment.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Kausum said...

Sometimes, I feel, it is not death we fear but the consequences of death.

We fear about our perceived incomplete responsibilites which we have planned / procrastinated to do.

We fear the suffering which we and our closed ones would go thru before we actually die.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Trevor Penn said...

Bearing in mind your recent hiatus, I feared that something untoward had happened and that you deleted the blog...

Speaking of fears, it's said that you have to face your fears. But strangely enough, I didn't fear death until i was face-to-face with death. In one moment of epiphany, i understood how valuable my life was to me, and most importantly to my family and friends.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

College Park? you are in Maryland?

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, but isn't that life's design. I wish when my time comes, it comes fast and I dont even realize it

lovely post, I cannot tell you how happy I am that you are back - you are a beautiful person

12:45 AM  
Blogger Adarsh A. Varghese said...

Very well written. Keep writing!

2:25 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Some days I wouldn't mind being killed in a pileup. But it must be quick and absolute because I refuse to live on crippled.

I don't think the Grim Reaper wants me, because I'm way too demanding :-)

3:35 AM  
Blogger jhantu said...

i think im going to die coughing and splitting blood and dragging my ass all over the to do with the 20 a day smokes .. quick escape isnt going to be my forte me thinks

9:35 PM  
Blogger Fosix said...

i'm not scared of dying, but i am scared of being crippled...
i've been a passenger in a couple of bad accidents... on one occasion the only thought that came to my mind when our car skidded on a freeway towards the metal guard rail was "damn, this is gonna hurt bad"... and it was a very calm thought... wierd, now that i think about it...

dammit, if only my gun hadn't jammed that day... ;) :P

8:37 PM  
Blogger Jinguchakka said...

Yeah, even I am scared of driving eventhough I do so daily and even plan and go for long drives.
But it's fate, I guess.

12:53 AM  
Blogger RajpaL said...

Nice Post! I agree with 'Kausum' on "Sometimes, I feel, it is not death we fear but the consequences of death"

Life is so fragile, isn't it? We humans behave like we are immortals. All the emotions we have i.e. anger, frustation, animosity, love, affection etc - ALL gone in one flash when life ceases to exist. What IS DEATH? Darkness..Vaccum or something else!

I remember reading somewhere - We live our we shall never die. And one day...we die like we never lived...

2:15 AM  
Blogger ghetufool said...

nice one. please say hi to professor T on my behalf, i finally got somebody who shares my feelings...or fears.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Your husbands accident sounds really scary. Thank god he didnt get badly hurt. Drive carefully ok?

7:40 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ kausum very nicely said. Couldn't have said it better. Thanks for stopping by.
@ seashells I'm much too vain to delete my blog :) And yes, we only realize how important life is to us and the ones we love when faced with a crisis.
@ bonatellis no I'm not in Maryland but Northern Virginia which is close. So I have friends in Maryland and DC. Keno, tumi ki ashbe?
@ t.b.g. thanks and thanks again! I hope we all stay around for a very very long time.
@ adarsh thank you. And keep visiting!
@ sue lol. No one wants to live on crippled and disabled but I've seen too many people who have been forced to do exactly that after accidents. Which changes the whole perspective of life and living.
@ jhantu good grief, I hope not! But you'd be much better off without the smokes. But you know that already.
@ fosix it's a horrible moment and strange when you think it might be your last one how everything around you comes to a dead halt. Once our car skidded off the freeway and did a 80 degree spin and came to a dead stop in the middle of the highway with traffic coming head on. I thought we were going to die. Yet, starnge enough not one car hit us. Everyone braked and stopped. Just wasn't out time, may be. But I had a feeling someone up there loves us.
@ jinguchakka it is so weird that we spend countless hours planning on little things in life yet when it comes to the big ones it is all up to fate!
@ rajpal thanks for visiting my blog. And very true....I like those lines you quote there. keep visiting.
@ ghetufool well there are plenty of people with fears like these, not just you and Prof T. But we all live with them.
@ ron thanks sweetheart. And yes, I try.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Sudarshan. A. G. said...

:) ... Amen.

The three fates hold a very delicate strand.

All we can do is hope and pray.

8:41 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ a.g.s. thanks!

9:01 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

something similar. recently driving home from work in cal, was almost in an accident. a black ambi came out of a sidelane full speed - straight into my path - without headlights - i was getting off the highway (em bypass). till the very last fraction of a sec, i really 'knew' i wont make it ... only at the end i 'realised' i had, infact, made it ... and the way it felt in my head for those moments before the realisation really surprised me.
funny reading this hear today bcz we were talking abt this in class earlier today

7:52 PM  

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