Do you believe in the adage ‘Sweet are the uses of adversity‘?
If you don’t then read this.
I slowly opened my eyes and everything seemed hazy. There was excruciating pain in my legs and my palms. Everything was blurred and all my friends looked on with worried and perplexed expressions.
The Accident or as I now see it, The Blessing.
In life, things seldom go as planned!
That night just before dinner, my roommate and I had decided to go to our friends’ room to blow off some steam with a round of gossip as we girls always did. In their room, there was a small double rod heater to which I sat next to. Now I must add here that, heaters were as a rule not allowed in hostels. But almost every other room had one as we always needed Maggie and coffee to survive the cold. Also as a habit we always wanted to defy authority; doing something against “rule” always had a fascinating allure. In retrospect, it was stupid and an invitation to a disaster that I soon found out.
As it happens on that particular day I was wearing a long white skirt with woolen slacks on the inside. I also had woolen socks on. So, dressed like that I sat next to the heater and what happened next was probably a result of my stupidity.
We got chatting with little idea of what was to befall? And then it happened. Suddenly I noticed the fire in my skirt. I stood up. And no sooner did I do that that my entire skirt was engulfed in fire. I could see the headlines for the next day ‘Girl burned to death in hostel fire mishap’. I didn’t know what to do!
I looked at my roommate and even she was helpless. I used my hands to douse the fire but ended up burning them instead. There was no time. I had to do something about it. I didn’t want to die this way; not now, not ever!
I do not know where but I suddenly got an idea and rushed out of the room, fell on the floor and started rolling from one side to the other. By then everyone had gathered around me, some shocked, some terrified while some rushed to get buckets of water; all the while everyone shouting out loud for help. The rolling put off the fire. Finally, some of my seniors threw blankets on me. Some poured water while others tore away the skirt or what was remaining of it. The woolen slacks and socks were now stuck to my skin. I was burnt severely up to my thighs. ‘That’s it my life is over!’ I said to myself.
The Hostel Warden, nincompoop as he was, didn’t come along to the hospital instead I was taken by my friends and admitted there. In all this commotion and all the pain, all that I could think of was how unfair God was to me at such an important point in my life!
As the days passed I grew irritable with no faith in God. I was in pain with no strength to study for the placements. I couldn’t walk properly. With every single step, blood oozed out of my wounds. My friends were all very helpful but gradually it annoyed them and rightfully so. I was becoming very ill-tempered. I knew they were all helping me but they could not feel my pain. There are no words to describe how hard those days were for me. It took an entire 6 months for the wound to heal. The scars stayed though as a constant reminder of that horrible night. I felt handicapped. I could hear people talking in whispers. ‘Her friends have saved her life still she is always in a foul mood with no gratitude’. I wished I could tell them that so much pain sometimes gets the better of you. But also I wanted to set the record straight. I saved my life by rolling on the ground. Nobody else did. They helped me later but I saved me. So, yes, these whispers, some unwarranted hurt me making me feel even more miserable. But something happened and this tragedy fell into perspective.
When I was in the hospital, I opened my eyes one day to see him standing next to me. He was smiling for some reason. He tried hard to be somber but he just couldn’t. He was the only one smiling in the entire room.
‘I am sorry, but the joke was hilarious which I realize you missed. How are you by the way? Nice way of taking a break from studies huh! ’ he grinned. He was the so-called ‘bad guy’ of our branch, also mischievous and always up to something. Little did I know then how he would change everything!
‘Ya right, why don’t you try it for a change’ I remember telling him.
We got talking. He cracked one joke after the other, even tried to speak in Bengali. ‘Aami tumake bhalobashi’ he said and again burst out into a cacophony of laughter.
His jokes changed the claustrophobic hospital room to a breezy hangout. He never showed me false sympathy. And he never expected me to be forever indebted to him for being nice to me when I had just escaped death. He took my mind off every worry and helped me relax in the most unassuming way. Perhaps because he was the only person who wasn’t judging me. In him, I found a new friend.
As my mood improved, I realized that things could have been worse. At least I would get better in 6 months and start all over again. Slowly I began to see all the positives and everything started to fall into place. My faith returned and I looked ahead to good things in life. I got placed in a reputed company. My wounds began healing more quickly. I was able to walk properly again whereas the doctors had said I would limp for the rest of my life. This accident also opened my eyes to my true friends. I was able to see each person for what they actually were.
6 years down the line I am still friends with him but now he is my husband too. If it wasn’t for the burns then he would have never come to the hospital to visit me. If it wasn’t for that mishap, I wouldn’t have found a friend and finally a life partner in him. When I look at the scars now, it reminds me of our first date, our first holiday together, my first placement. It reminds me of all the good things that happened to me since. So, if Shakespeare said ‘Sweet are the uses of adversity’, he sure knew what he was talking about! Today I am a stern believer that everything happens for a good reason. In fact, I cannot thank god enough, for without the accident I would have missed out on meeting the love of my life. So trust me every adversity is just because God has something better planned for us hence Be Positive!
One very cold night in Gorakhpur, one heater & me. The fire, the chaos, the pain, the terrible pain, months of dressings & medication. The result, a scar that literally reminds me how lucky I’m to survive and to have found my life partner in one of the lowest times of my life. Sweet are the uses of adversity indeed. #adversity #lifelessons #nabasays #grateful #fridaymood #friday #nabasays
It has been 12 years since that fateful night. 12 years since S came into my life. I won’t say bad times or lows don’t bum me out anymore. They do. But somewhere deep down I know that everything happens for a reason, probably a good one at that. That night getting burnt was probably the best thing that happened to me in college. It showed me who my real friends were. That showed me that when you help someone or are kind to someone, you don’t do that with the expectation that that person remains forever indebted to you. That night showed me that I had surrounded me with people who would be my friends till it suited them. But most importantly, that night gave me my life partner and now we are a family of three with our little girl. So, every time you feel like life is striking you down, take a moment to remember what you have, what you still have and can have. Trust me, more often than not, things will look up. Things do look up.
Be Positive! And remember, sweet are the uses of adversity.