Saturday, July 21, 2012

Encounters with Yama

It is often said that while the date of birth of a person is pre-determined, his date of death is decided only by the Lord. As we are growing, we witness the death of many near and dear ones.  We also read about the passing away of celebrities suddenly or due to illness.

Almost all people above 60 have the habit of turning first to the obituary section of their favorite newspaper, every day, to find out if any of their friends/ acquaintances have passed away in order to count their blessings!

During our younger days, we think that death happens only to others – especially the older people. We never associate it with ourselves unless we are involved in some accidents or serious illnesses.  I am going to share with you a couple of my encounters with Yama!

The first incident happened almost 42 years ago, when I was still a bachelor in Mumbai! I was leaving my job in Grant Kenyon & Eckhardt to join ACIl; Delhi.  My boss in Grant was not happy. He tried to brainwash me from leaving. The day after I met him, I was very confused. Skipping office I decided to take a long drive to clear my head. I chose the National Park in Borvilli, a Western suburb in Mumbai, which is located on a small hill. It was a winding road going up and down the hill. As I was driving on the lonely road down the hill, I was totally lost in thoughts. Suddenly I saw a dog cross my path. Jolted out of my reverie, I applied the breaks. To my shock I discovered that it was not working. Narrowly missing the dog, I tried to bring down the speed of the car by changing gears and my repeated attempts to bring the car to a halt failed.

On one side of the road there were rows of trees while on the other side was an open steep drop of about 200 ft. Added to the break problem, I realized even the steering was not moving in the direction that  I wanted it to. The Car was running zigzag, threatening to veer off the road anytime! As the car was rolling down hill faster and faster, I became panicky.

At that point I realized I was going to be involved in a major accident and that I may not come out of it alive. All sorts of thoughts crossed my mind and I was praying hard to the Lord to save me. Suddenly my car veered to the right and stopped after hitting a tree. In the impact I passed out. When I came back to my senses, I realized that I was in an awkward position in the car, almost upside down. My car had turned turtle and its four wheels were on top while I was sandwiched between the steering wheel and the seat. With great difficulty I extricated myself out of the car and came out to find that I had escaped a major accident with minor scratches. The car, however, was badly damaged (which was another matter), but on that otherwise empty road my favorite Lord Balaji appeared in the form of a local guy who helped me out.  Those few minutes my car was running downhill without control, I was literally facing death!

Another experience happened just a couple of weeks ago.

One morning I was driving my car to my office, on the narrow two lane road, not far from my home. I was driving slowly and though my lane was clear, there was bumper to bumper traffic on the opposite lane. Suddenly I found a call taxi coming towards me in the empty space in front. I thought the taxi driver  was trying to jump the queue taking advantage of the clearer space in front of me and would  try to sneak  his way back  again into the row of vehicles in the opposite lane.  While I was trying to steer the car to the left to avoid a possible collision, the taxi driver continued to come towards me. I knew something was wrong and thought in those few seconds we were going to have a head-on collision! Literally staring at death!

Fortunately, since I was driving slowly and the taxi also was not that fast, the collision only damaged the two vehicles. Nothing happened to any of us, in either of the car. While I thought the taxi driver was drunk, it turned out that he had dozed off at his wheel, because he was returning back to his garage after driving the whole night and was very tired!

I have had all kinds of accidents involving my car during the last 45 years. Anyone else with a weaker heart would have stopped driving. But I have been carrying on putting full faith in my Lord to save me every time!

I realize that faith alone is not enough anymore. With advancing age and failing reflexes, I am finding driving very stressful and getting involved in `near ` accident situations,  every other week. As a friend of mine advised me, even God can’t help me if my time has come to keep my appointment with Lord Yama!


  1. what an adventure...i thought that people survived such accidents only in movies

  2. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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