Your life can change in a second of time if you are not watchful of the early signs. My life did changed in a moment's time as I was not paying attention to the signs shown to me by the Universe. It happened way back some 10-12 years back when my family along with my father's brother's families joined us in TATA Sumo to travel to Salasar Balaji in Rajasthan from my hometown some 300 km away. In total we were 6 adults and 7 kids of vaious age groups from 2 years to me being in my 19. We started our travel around 10pm towards the holy town. The driver seems to be a good guy wearing a safari suit and continuously chattering about the recent political rally where he met some of the senior leaders of some political party and had snaps shot with them. As every Indian common man has some interest or cribbing involved with the political system, my dad and his cousins were really amused. I was thinking when he will stop speaking so that I can fall asleep on the last seat of the Sumo. The car also held the stickers of Lord Bajrang Bali and we were traveling to one of his avatar's temple so my uncle has full faith on the driver and the vehicle. The lighting on the roads in rural Rajasthan is very very less and roads are not wide enough also so everytime another vehicles approached in your direction, you have to take one side of the vehicle on the kaccha road. My uncle was sitting along with my father on the front seats along with the driver. The middle seat has my mom, 2 aunts and one other uncle sitting. All the kids were in the back with myself guarding the gate on one side and my younger brother on the other side of the back seat. Small kids were all sleeping on the space between the back seats as we carried our beddings. Now it seems to me on the thought, how so many of us were inside the a single vehicle and 3 families fitting into the vehicle and traveling together. But at that time it didn't seem so difficult to travel as there were small kids occupying very less space and enjoying the travel playing games like antakshri and singing songs.
The ride was smooth and slowly we all fall into the hands of sleep and only my uncle was awake to keep talking to the driver so that he doesn't fall asleep. But no matter how harder you try, sleep overpowers you when there is nice cold air in the summers, vehicle on the roll and you are sleep deprived. Suddenly, my uncle's voice of saying the driver in full voice “dekh ke” made all of us fully awake so as to find what has happened. The driver was sleep deprived due to his political rallies travel and agreed to travel with us in the greed of making more money. He slept for 2-3 seconds while driving and there was a turn on the road and the sumo was going straight ahead where the next thing was not at all visible. After the driver heard the yell, he tried hard to control the vehicle and bringing it back to the road by making it steer back on the road at high speed. The vehicle did moved back to the road and the tyres tried to come back on pakka road where one of the tyres bursted and the vehicle turned to one side while dragging on the road and at the end of the road, turtled upside down before coming to rest.
I was fully awake by then but could not think that the gates on my side is now switched location with my brother as I kept looking for the knob to open it. The smallest kid of 2 years was sleeping in my arms so I was very tensed and was looking for her. When I saw her standing alright outside on the road, I immediately pulled myself out from the window opening, the window glass flew in the air during the impact of vehicle with road. By the time I came out, my brother was able to open the back gate and slowly all my cousins and uncle aunt started coming out of the vehicle. In the middle of the night, there was no light and there was no other vehicle traveling, so it was difficult to judge our condition. Due to the impact the front window of the vehicle crashed and my uncle came out from the broken window. The driver was hurt because of the steering wheels hurting him on his hands and head. He was conscious as the injuries were minor. The bedding was thrown on the desert land full of small thrones and we asked all the family members to sit there and relax. In the end on of my father's cousin was missing as he was sitting on the side so we started looking for him immediately. The window of his side was open before the crash and he has taken his hand resting on the window. As we found out he was buried under a lot of beddings and luggage that it took him time to become fully aware of his location and to say something. We helped him come out of the vehicle and sit on the bedding. By that time the other travelers I.e night buses traveling in Rajasthan saw the vehicle turtled and saw children crying immediately came to help and offered some help. Finding all of us alive and without any major injuries, all thanked Lord. The vehicle was brought to upright condition with the help of bus passengers.
The nearest town from that area was Churu which was some 30kms away. We couldn't sit there all night long so me and my uncle went in search of another vehicle from the nearest village along with one of the jeep drivers who offered help and the driver too came with us to call the insurance and some mechanic to check the vehicle. After searching for the vehicle in the middle of night around 2am, we got one vehicle to take us to Churu so as to decide whether we should continue our journey to holy destination or go back home from the city. Finally as all of us were walking on our feets without any injury at all leaving aside some due to the glass cutting here and there, we decided to higher another vehicle and complete the darshan. We finally were able to do darshan and reached back home safely.
There are many early warning signs which we ignored and it almost caused 3 families into the grave. The very first warning was the driver's talkativeness which was due to the fact that he wanted to keep himself awake as he was tired due to all his earlier travel. Secondly, we could have booked seats in a bus and so many people in a small vehicle is always dangerous. Thirdly, the driver's greed which not only costed him the vehicle loss along with injuries to himself but also was a threat to all of us.
There are many lessons we can learn from this real life story which I am unable to rationally derive because of the feelings involved but for some it could have been the last journey of life!
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Thanks a lot!