Monday, 5 September 2016

My Uncle

How does it feel? How does it feel?
It's as if time has stopped. It's as if everything has come to a standstill, and so have you. So much to do, to scream and run and jump, and yet nothing comes out.
It's one of those moments in life. 
I watched, with my two eyes as my uncle rammed his speeding car into a pickup truck, and splinter into millions of pieces and singe, singe in flames. 
We were all returning from a wedding, and my uncle was drunk to the point of oblivion. He got into a huge fight when we asked him not to drive, and finally agreed that he would just bring the car from the parking lot to in front of us, and then my mother could drive us home. 
So my mother and I waited as my uncle came up the road.
He pretty obviously wasn't thinking, for the car was hurtling at an insane speed, and didn't stop where we were standing. My mother yelled at my uncle and ran after the car, while I was numb from the freezing winter, and also shock and bewilderment.
It didn't take long, but felt like an eternity. Suddenly out of nowhere, a mammoth of a truck seemed to emerge on the road right in front of the one my uncle was on.
I could hear anything, nor see anything. My throat was dry, my heart beating wildly. I felt disabled, numb.
Gone. In a matter of minutes, a 35-year-old software engineer in TCS, gone up in flames and splinters. A 35-year-old man who was the light and life of our entire family. All charred and shattered.
I still have no idea what I was thinking back then, looking at my mother's silhouette, the car in flames, people rushing about, clutching their sweaters and shawls, light, noise, death surrounding us. I certainly felt the bite of the cold set in, piercing my flimsy clothing material - but no. My uncle couldn't die, could he? I swallowed, watched my mother and the slowly-growing crowd. 
In a matter of a while, my uncle's family was torn asunder. His wife and daughter moved to Chennai to live on their own, far from the place which served to remind them of that accident day after day, night after night.
Perhaps this is nothing compared to what people have suffered in road accidents. But yeah, road accidents shouldn't be happening. It's something seriously messed up if we're developing at such an accelerated rate, and continue losing people to brutal road accidents. My uncle isn't going to come back to us, anyway.

Anjali Bhavan