I am turning 12 today instead of 30. It was 12 years ago, on an ordinary September day that I came to this world. I was going about my work as usual, oblivious to the sudden death and the rebirth that was awaiting for me on that day. I was walking briskly down the bridge at the railway station hoping to catch my usual train. The train was already at the station and I sprinted forward to get on it. As destiny would have it, just a few feet away from the platform, I slipped and fell and got torn in half between the hot iron tracks and the rusted cogs of the train. The old me was dead and the new me was born. My world turned dark and whatever I know from then remains hearsay.
They said I was lucky the train had not picked up full speed. I was immediately taken to the hospital. My blood loss was severe enough to knock me out completely. The doctors did not think twice about amputating my severely crushed left leg. The pain was enormous. No amount of painkillers would have helped. In hindsight, I am glad I had enough physical pain to keep me distracted from the emotional trauma that was lurking around the corner.
Just like a newborn baby doesn’t remember much about their formative years, I do not remember a lot from the first year after the fall. The only recollection I have is that I ate a lot of painkillers, got a lot of psychological counseling, and wasted a year of my engineering college fees which was on top of the massive medical bills. My recovery was slow. I had a series of operations. My left leg was amputated and my right leg had to be shaved off of 2 inches of bone. I lost 2 inches of height. The surgery wounds took a long time to heal. I was bedridden for a year and then I started taking baby steps.
I resumed my studies, and at the same time started exploring options for a ‘Jaipur leg’. They are cheap and nice but not as good as the international prosthetic legs. When I first started using Jaipur, my skin bled a lot. I struggled harder than most toddlers do to learn how to walk.
Eventually it all seemed like a routine.
There were emotionally explosive moments too. Like the time I couldn’t get good grades in engineering, but still managed to secure an admission in a good college for my post graduate studies due to the handicap quota. It was by far the worst decision of my life. I felt guilty of having it so easy to get in. Also, the fellow students there were way smarter than me. There was a lot of pressure on me to just cope up with their level of performance. The education did little help to my career, but a lot of damage to my confidence.
Then there was the case for my marriage. My family started looking for matches early on as I was a special case. I was rejected ( quite reasonably ) by hundreds of potential spouses. They all sympathized with me and they all did not want me. These many rejections drills the thought in your brain that you are not really wanted by anyone. I was lucky enough to get married to a guy who is physically fit but of little means. Try being married to a person who only married you for your family’s money. Every night you go to bed knowing he doesn’t really like you, but he is stuck with you as he doesn’t have any other option. Hey, but I am not complaining. I lost half of my human rights the day I was born again. I am since then surviving half as a pet in someones care.
There are other minor occasional things that bother me. My prosthetic leg is now of an international brand and expensive, but unfortunately not water proof. I still feel the pinch when I see others do water sports and I know I cant. Also I can’t run or walk a lot. It hurts. Bad.
I am 12 and excited to start my teenage life. I am yet to deal with the regret I have of hanging on the door of the train that led to my fall. Only If I hadn’t.Life would have been so much different.