Indian Transport And How I Almost Lost My Life.

I think what really struck me as odd on the very first days after touching down in Chennai, was the insane number of bikes. And the fact that everyone rode them, from teenage kids within neighborhoods to grandmas and grandpas. 

I also saw grandparents with their grand kids on the bikes. They were so carefree cause you'd see the kids facing the other way round towards the drivers behind them. It was the cutest thing, a bit dangerous when you start thinking critically about it, but still cute.

I also really tried to photograph a family on a bike - the mother, father and kids all seated comfortably - but a phone camera could not capture that scene clearly.  So I resorted to taking a few videos instead.

I saw all this while in Ashwanth's comfortable AC ventilated car on the first days as we househunted. Ashwanth was my internship supervisor.Then he pointed out the buses and I remember thinking, who will get into those crowded buses like that?

I also remember noticing that most of those buses did not have windows, and that some people were dangling on the front and back doors because the bus was too full to house everyone.

It was so full that it slanted towards the left, the side with the two doors. It looked as though a little nudge on the right side of the bus would cause it to topple over.

In spite of that, in a few weeks time we had become loyal bus commuters. When I say we, I refer to myself and the other 5  East Africans I was interning with. Two from Rwanda, another from Uganda and the rest from Kenya.

The cab services Uber and Ola were considerably affordable; but again not the kind of affordable an intern could resort to as a constant means of transport. Tuk tuks crossed our minds but no one ever acted on those thoughts. They were also crowded because 2 people still found a way to sit with the driver at the front

Two months into the internship and our stay in Chennai is when the almost fatal fall happened. It's magnitude did not hit me until I got to Chola House, which was our home for the 3 months we were in Chennai.My head started spinning so I decided to sit down and take a breather. I remember looking at my left palm and seeing it tremble a couple of times. And then I realized that my body had just experienced a mini trauma.

I speak of my body as though it was a separate entity cause at some point, it felt like some other force had temporarily taken over and given it energy it was not aware it had.

After sitting down for a bit and  regaining my balance, I went to do what I did every evening before my evening meal, which was clean my lunch dish.

So when I turned the tap it hit me that I had just brushed shoulders with death, and boy was I terrified. My tears and the tap water started trickling down almost simultaneously. Then my imagination took over and I saw my family receiving the news about my death - and I just lost it.

The weird part was that in those split seconds I was dead in my head. A dead person crying about their own death. I clenched on to the dish not seeing it anymore; it was as if I was trying to get myself out of that false reality I had created.

That's when AC, the owner of the place we stayed in came to rescue me out of that mini depression or mini nervous breakdown, whatever it was I was experiencing. He took me to his office which was just a door away from the kitchen, and led me to the chair. All that time I was working hard to catch my breath. He tried to calm me down, then when I started breathing normally, the words 'I almost died' were followed with chilling silence.

Here's what happened. It was night time and we were trying to alight from a very crowded bus cause we had already passed the stage - and who knows how far this bus went. So my Rwandese friend Sue tried asking the guys standing close to the driver to tell him to stop. At that time the conductor was busy collecting money at the other end of the bus with his back facing us.

Everyone looked at her blank faced. So we were stuck in a full bus in the night going lord knows where. We had made our way to the front door, so when the bus stopped for a bit, Sue jumped out of the bus and when I was just about to follow her, the bus started moving again.

I have never learnt how to alight properly from a moving vehicle so all I remember after getting out of the bus was losing balance and falling backwards onto the tarmac. As I mentioned above, I don't know where I got all the strength from because I woke up so fast that the guys that ran to help me already found me out of the road.

I went to join Sue who had walked further ahead; she had no idea I had followed her and that I had also fallen. I was as embarrassed by the whole situation as I was in pain so I just casually mentioned that I had fallen. That is when Nelly, a fellow Kenyan who had watched me fall rushed to us and asked if I was alright.

Nelly said that she had temporarily lost all energy on her legs when she saw me fall and she had waited for the bus to stop, then rushed out to look for me. That time, the impact that fall might have  had had not hit me so I simply said I was fine.

There was a car right in front of me when I fell and a motorbike right beside it, so the thought of me being run over by either one of them or even both of them literally brings chills down my spine to date.

Anyway, AC got his first aid kit and helped me clean the open wounds. I experienced intense muscle injury on my left hand and my back, but with the painkillers and muscle injury rub I got from AC, I was feeling better in two weeks time.

But hey, I'm alive right? 🙂 On a light note I am very grateful for my fleshy African bum bum. Cause my bum took a lot of that fall's impact. I still experience some pain when I sit for long periods of time to date but isorait 😏. I am also grateful to AC and all my guardian angels who I believe must have been working extra hard that night.

It's important to note that not all my experiences in India were grim and gloom. This experience was still fresh in my mind so I needed to get it out of my system. Sharing about my vulnerable moments is hard, but I think, it's just as important as sharing about the fun stuff. So please stay with me. The fun stuff is in the offing.


Christine said...

Waah! what an experience. You have described it so vividly.Did not sound so serious when you told me about it.Thank God for the Guardian Angel. " The Power of A Praying Mother"
Luv Mum

Wendi Ndaki said...

Love you too Mum. The plan was not to tell you over the phone. It slipped so I tried to make it sound like it was nothing, so that you don't worry 😌

Unknown said...

OMG!!!!!!!!! Thank God for life Wendy! So sorry about your experience- Alicia

Wendi Ndaki said...

I am very grateful for life Alicia. Thank you.

Bibs said...

Am really sorry for what you went through. It sounds very terrifying, am glad you are ok and I hope you fully recover soon. Thanks for sharing and I always look forwardto your stories.

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thank you so much Bibiana :)


Oh God!!! I had no clue that entire time.

Patience Subira said...

What an experience! Glad that you are well now. I can relate coz there is an instance I nearly got run over by a truck. The realization that one just escaped death doesn't hit until later

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thanks for sharing your experience as well Patience. Clearly we are both blessed to have escaped death.

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