I am Loppua, a happy-go-lucky teen, that too, 18. I had just celebrated my birthday last month, the best part being I got my brand new FZ8 as a surprise birthday gift. It was a full black beast with streaks of dull gold coloring the front suspension and the disc brake, I adored it. A month had passed and I already traveled 500 kilometers. There were also a zillion odd advices from the elders around me, some said “Don’t cross 35 kmph!” Seriously?! Others advised “Wear a helmet!”, “Don’t race!” or “Don’t do this” “Don’t do that”. Honestly, nothing got into my head; I knew they were really annoyed with my mom and dad to have got me a bike so soon. With the constant flow of advices, scaring the hell out of my mom by telling about gory road accident stories, my relatives helped me a lot. My mom got me a helmet, without which I couldn’t step on the pedal. I couldn’t talk it out of her head, she was now obsessed about my ‘safety’. Wearing the helmet meant my shades wouldn’t fit in and I was fuming, they were Ray Ban!
Now-a-days helmets have become a thing of the past, I wore them only up to a distance of 50 feet from my house and not to mention I already started racing on highways. I even won a few of them. I had a few close shaves but that didn’t deter my urge to get out there and drive further more.
So that brings me to today.
I was leaving to pick up my friend who was arriving at the airport, when suddenly dad called me in and asked me to wear my helmet and drive because he saw me without it the other day on the road. I just gave him a shrug and waved a fast goodbye to my mom and dad.
Punching the helmet on my head, I started my bike. The usual bliss swept past me and I slipped into a trance. Before even I came to the corner of street, my helmet was out of my head and my blue shades were back in their place. I left the inner roads and took the highway leading to the airport. It was a glum day with stormy clouds edging the skies and winds dashing against my will, I was speeding round the corner.
I saw another biker who entered the service lane in the wrong side and took the extreme left at once, cursing his stupidity, I swayed into the highway. I should have checked my rear-view mirror.
Suddenly, something happened and I was thrown far away from my bike and there was excruciating pain gripping me. I tried to turn my head but my eyes were stung with hot fluid that poured from an injury; my injury. Agony beyond thoughts caught up from all sides. I tried to call for help from the on-lookers who were mindlessly staring at me. Suddenly someone came forward to stop the bleeding. I was slipping into a trance yet again, but this was a different one. From what he was saying, I was severely injured after the bus, that had come from behind, hit me. My bike skid to the off side and I went further to hit the pavement, thus injuring my head. I desperately wanted someone to call the ambulance and take me to the doctor and did not want them to waste time discussing about what had really happened. Some kind person came forward and called a local hospital telling about the incident and asked for an ambulance, from what he said they were not inclined to provide one and they wanted the police to be there so that in case if this accident proved to be fatal they wouldn’t be held responsible. After making a lot of calls, the Government ambulance finally came to my rescue. By then, I was bleeding profusely, my clothes were blood stained and fatality covered my thoughts.
Finally, two hands came and lifted me, increasing the stinging pain in my head and my legs were badly wounded.
The Emergency Medical Trainers looked very serious and concerned. I wanted to thank them, but I realized I was not able to speak; my vision had started blurring. I was in the ambulance with all the beeping units around and endless antiseptics were being used to clean my wounds. I was losing consciousness and pain was edging higher and higher with every frantic beep of the meters, the story of my folly was being written and the story was soon to end, I realized. I thought about mom and dad, I thought about all the advice that I didn’t pay heed to, I thought about the helmet which I didn’t wear. I heard someone, probably a paramedic on board, mention about my helmet and I tried to concentrate, he said that a helmet could have reduced the impact to a great extent and prevented the head injury and he added with disgust that my helmet was lying with the bike.
I knew I was going to die that instant. I heard them calling me, asking me to open my eyes, I heard them trying to madly get me back breathing and were trying to prevent me from jolting; I tried. I heard the ambulance’s siren blowing and rushing, after some moments my hearing senses failed. My pain reached the peak, I desperately wanted it to end.
I wanted to tell mom that I am sorry and tell her not to worry, I wanted to tell dad that I will survive and be back and I wanted him to be strong.
Suddenly, I felt really light, a bright light , and I felt no pain; I could see clearly, hear people. I wanted to thank them for saving me but I was alarmed seeing the desperate look in their faces while moving me out of the van. What had happened I wondered? I turned and saw the blood and soot covered version of me! I freaked out, I was dead and now I was a soul hovering above my body. They tried the CPR’s which were of no use. The meters were now silent, perhaps mourning or maybe jeering at my folly. It was entirely my mistake to have not worn the helmet, unheeded advice took a toll on my life.
The hospital was just a few feet away before I died. They tried their best to revive me, I wanted to tell them that it was of no use. They could not hear my words anymore and they could not see me either. Outside, one on the drivers was cursing a police men. I was startled and went near him; he said that in a signal which was particularly crowded, the traffic ticker was ticking red. The police men were around and they heard the siren, there were in fact two of them, who saw the ambulance coming but didn’t take any initiative to change the signal or stop the traffic to let us past. He was busy collecting fine from some person who did something wrong. EMT was bitter – muttering that the policemen could have acted in time, could have helped in faster movement of traffic.
After realizing that nothing can be done, the doctor announced that I was brought dead with severe head injury and immediate help could have possibly saved me.
The EMT looked at me and said, “Perhaps if you wore your helmet!”
And the driver of the ambulance said, “Maybe, if the police had guided us”
The kind gentleman who called all the other hospitals said, “Maybe if they had helped us”.
A familiar voice laden with inescapable sorrow said, “Maybe if Loppua had listened to our words” – it was my dad.
*This is a fiction, however the instances of hospitals and ambulances not responding to emergencies and Police men inaction against a struck ambulance in a signal has happened, in Chennai, in the recent times (time span of 2 years)*