She is young, beautiful and just two years into her profession as a software engineer at MindTree. Born into a middle-class family of a scientist from Kerala, she has been living by herself in the bustling city of Bangalore. Her world revolved around her work, her family and of course the hope of building a future for herself with her fiancé – a handsome young man from Assam. They had met through friends. He also happens to be in the Information Technology industry, temporarily on a long-term assignment to the United States. Life could not have been more beautiful; full of hope for someone like her who could ask for little else. Then last week, everything changed.
It happened when she was returning from work, riding home on one of the many Volvo buses plying the city. As she was about to step out of the bus when her stop came, the door inadvertently closed in on her due to driver-error and in a moment, her body was pulled under, the wheels of the bus went over her knees, completely crushing the left leg. In that horrible moment of excruciating pain, she lay screaming under the weight of the bus. People stood around, in shocked inaction. A young woman got down from the bus to see what had happened; she summoned the courage to get people to pull her out from under the bus and then brought her to a hospital for emergency care. The attending doctors realized that the injury was severe and they rushed her to a super-speciality hospital where a series of emergency operations were conducted. Among the many critical procedures, doctors tried to repair the vessels supplying blood to the lower parts of leg so that blood supply could reach the extremities without which there was the danger of gangrene setting in. Unfortunately, the effort did not succeed. The knees had been completely crushed. The devastated parents and a few other relatives came rushing. As she kept her struggle on, a decision had to be taken to amputate the leg without which there could be a serious risk to her life. Time was running out. Finally, everyone consented that the left leg must be amputated above her knees. There was no other way.
The inevitability of that decision will take a lifetime to sink in. Her life has changed forever.
When her fiancé heard about the accident, he rushed back to Bangalore. She was in critical care, alternating between sets of life-saving equipment in the ICU and the multiple trips to the operation theatre under heavy dosage of cocktail anti-biotic and morphine to numb her entire consciousness.
Yet she knew he had come.
But she also knew that for a long time, she would not be able to say anything.
She would not be able to ask him anything.
After a couple of days of the accident, I met the young man in my office. With the amputation, the series of plastic surgeries that would follow, the management of pain, the trauma, then the slow process of her rehab and finally getting to use a prosthetic leg to gradually return to the world, it would be one long-haul. He in the meantime, had come to discuss about the formalities related to her employment insurance; issues like who would pay how much and what all needed to get done so that she could get the best care possible. After meeting with my colleagues, he had dropped by to see me. It was clear from his demeanour that he had come back to take charge. As I was talking to him, I could not but admire the courage, the character and the commitment. It was her life. It was his too. If he would have been “practical”, probably even she would understand.
As we parted after the meeting, I shook his hand and I looked into his young, resolute and immensely powerful eyes.
“I admire you“, I told him. He knew what I was talking about.
There was a moment of silence. Then he spoke.
“Nothing changes for me” he said with the firmness of a mountain. I watched him leave.
I know it is going to be another long haul for the one still in the hospital as I write my blog but for now, and for her, I am beginning to dream.