Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Life. By Chance!

The camera had been under water for what seemed to be an enternity and I knew perfectly well, that life would never be same for this (Sony Cybershot) DSC H7. I have always loved my cameras and I had understood that my most precious (and loved) possession had been damaged, possibly beyond repair, even as I watched Chandu trying to wipe it dry.

But in my heart, there was not as much sorrow for the camera, as a sense of resignation to fate. I was surprised by the feeling. I should have known.

I was happy to be alive!

Prashant and I had visited the river Tungbhadra in the morning and like everything else in Hampi, the river too seemed to be calm and serene. Huge rocks and boulders are strewn all over the place in and around the river's course.

So that evening when all of us visited the river, I had already made up my mind to cross the river at a point where the stones seemed to be very near the surface.

I had made a huge calculation error.

Yes, the river seemed to be somewhat shallow and rocks were very near the surface but that didn't mean that one could walk across. But flowing water makes the rocks smooth and algae makes them terribly slippery. I was near the edge of the rock and had folded my jeans up, when I first saw that. Before that I had told Manish confidently that 'coming back' was what I was going to do, after crossing to other side. But seeing the algae I was in doubt about validity of my claim.

Seems it was too late to suffer from dilemma. I was too near the edge and turning back was no option. I slipped as I tried moving backwards. Next moment I was in the water and hit my heal against a rock. The first thought that came to my mind was that I had got wet completely and tried to get up by holding the rocks. But it was not possible to hold on to the rocks due to algae, and I slipped in deeper waters, loosing all contact with rocks.

In the next fraction of second, I was neck deep in water and the camera was on my body and I worried about it. I tried to swim towards a rock and fling the camera bag to someone, but water current was stronger than I could manage. And as water pushed me I tried to stay put in water so as to avoid moving any further but suddenly the river bed got even deeper and before I knew I was completely inside the water. It was no more sane, worrying about the camera!

This was the instant, when I felt that I would die. Before that I had felt that I would move towards the bank or would get on to some rock. But as I went deeper, the light green colour of water seemed ghostly and very very scary! I struggled hard and somehow was buoyed up.

I was breathing hard and had almost choked and was finding it difficult to stay up. The fear was creeping up again. At this point of time I heard someone shouting to move towards right. I tried moving towards them but flow was still pushing me ahead but thankfully the water was lot shallower and I was only too glad to find ground. Seems I was having a good day. I was flown around a big rock to this shallower area. Had I been flown straight, I would have been in deep mess, literally!

There was a girl (Keerti from Wipro, Bangalore) and a guy (Sachin from Accenture, Bangalore) here who gave me hand and comforted me as I walked towards the bank. (Sachin, Keerti thanks so much!)

Talking to Chandu, I suddenly realized that my glasses have been washed away. And after some time I remembered about my phone as well, which had stopped working! My right heel was in terrible condition and I could hardly keep the foot on ground and it still hasn't healed completely. And I don't even know how the thumb of left foot got that clot below the nail!

But as I said earlier, I wasn't too sorry about any of these. For the first time in my life I was HAPPY to be alive!