A MISSING KNEE-JOINT

This is a story of an accident I had once while I was returning home. It was really scary and it still haunts me till date....

I went to the railway station today. It’s been more than a year since I have been there. The place brought back old memories.  For the last four years before I joined college I have been there every day- at 6 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and even 12 at night. I live in a small town in the suburbia near Kolkata. The place is really secluded and I had to travel 16 miles every day from Monday to Saturday (I was regular to school and didn’t miss school unless I had some sort of emergency). For tuitions I had to travel nearly 35 miles four times a week which even included Sundays. Dude it’s really painful when you go to bed at 1 a.m and wake up at 4:30 am for catching a train. For the last four years I never enjoyed my breakfast or dinner as I was always in a hurry and it was just thrice a week I got a proper lunch. I really thank my mum for all the pain she took to make me good food everyday even in such a busy schedule.

But there’s one incident which is still vivid in my memory. One that’s been a nightmare for me, one I can never forget. It was the night of 3rdJune 2006. Time 2 am. I had been to vellore with my family for my medical treatment and was returning then. My train was scheduled on 2ndJune at 11 pm. We checked and found out that it was running late. According to home rules I am supposed to go to bed by 11 pm (my daily train journey had not started yet). I was feeling very drowsy. Due to some wrong signboards and also a bit of our own mistake we were standing at the wrong position at the platform. When the train came we saw that the engine came and stopped before us. It was scheduled to stop for just 2 minutes at the platform. It was a long distance express train, so you can imagine how long the bogies can be. Our compartment was the 22ndfrom the engine. We didn’t give it a second thought and started running as fast as we could. My mum and dad had heavy trolleys with them and I had lots of food packages in my hand. I was wearing shoes a little big for my feet because they were the only comfortable ones I actually had. When we were midway, my dad stopped and he was panting (he was a heart patient as well as diabetic). My mum was having troubles balancing the trolley she had. There was a ticket checker standing nearby. My dad asked him where our compartment was. There was hardly and voice coming out of his throat. It was another 10 bogies away. We again started running. One of my shoes flew off and I spent 10 seconds searching for it. I was finally running with food packages and my shoes in my hand. When we were in front of the 18thbogie, I was too tired and climbed into that one and told my parents to do so and we would get to our compartment in the next station. My dad told me to get down as the signal was still red. As i was getting down I slipped and my legs went halfway below the train. My parents with the help of a few other people strangled and got me out of there. I was shrieking in agony. No one knew why I did so as there weren’t any visible external injury. I somehow jumped back into the train. My dad again urged me to get down. I was still crying and shouting. People in the compartment were sleeping and they got disturbed. Their anger could be seen on their faces. I was crying and shouting at the same time. My hands were clasped to my right knee. My parents who were down on the platform didn’t understand why I was doing so. But they sensed that I might have got hurt in my right leg. My mum came up and tried to help me get down. Instead of standing up and helping her I quickly grasped her hand and placed it where my hands had been. I could see the terror on her face as it turned blue. She turned towards my dad and said in a choked voice, “her knee joint is missing!

My dad didn’t believe but quickly came up with our entire luggage and tried to see what the problem was. He saw that my knee joint had been dislocated. He quickly searched it out and, by applying a little pressure, finally got it into place. I was still in a lot of pain and felt the weakness in my leg, but the sudden hot rush of blood was comfortable. By this time the train had already started moving. A few passengers who could sense the trouble of this thirteen year old girl came forward to help. The next bogie was the pantry car and the internal gate was closed. They shouted and pleaded to open the gate. ”There is a patient here who has a reservation in the AC compartment. She can’t walk. Let her in”, they all shouted. But it was in vain. After an hour the train stopped and there was another platform. But this was not the station where the train should have stopped. After a little doubt everyone decided to get down here and get to the right compartment. Two men tried helping me getting down but there was another dislocation and I sat down again defeated. After 30 seconds we tried again and I got down somehow. One person helped me cross the pantry car and get to another compartment. Then walking through the interlocking gates we got to the compartment next to ours. Since ours was the AC compartment, again the internal gate was closed. My dad got down to the platform and talked to the ticket checker. He showed him our ticket and tried to explain my condition. He understood and opened the gates to let me in. It was already 3:30 in the morning but I was too tired and sick so I drooled off to sleep. It was a two days journey and I even got a doctor in our compartment the next morning who gave me some temporary medication. After we got down at Howrah station, we didn’t take any more chances and took a cab back home. My parents had already informed my relatives and there was a doctor waiting for me at my place

While running that night for catching my train, I had never imagined that it would be the last time I could ever run. I sometimes think that what else could have happened if our luck wasn’t on our side. One of us could have missed the train and there was just one cell phone with us. The train could have started moving while I was under it. What would have happened if I couldn’t get out? What if it was not a dislocation but a fracture?

But the big question was how different life could have been if that incident had never happened?

I wouldn’t have been afraid of trains. I wouldn’t have weak legs. I could run to my heart’s content as other people of my age do. I could have got 30 instead of 28 in my physical education practical exams during class 12 boards. I lost one mark for running and the other for long jump. I could have been in the basket ball team of my college. I wouldn’t fall down and get hurt one day while returning from college to my hostel and my friends didn’t need to drag me back to the hostel.

Life would have been so different...................................

The End

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