It was one of the playful evenings and I was 5 at that time, playing with one of my friends, on the terrace. Children at this age are so innocent that they don’t realize the dangers near them. My friend and I were sitting on the edge of the terrace, which didn’t have grills or any kind of protective fence. To top it all, the house where we were playing wasn’t ours. It was of one of the neighbors, who had gone out of station. At that time, there was no flat system and there were single-storeyed individual houses, whose terraces were almost boundary-less, with just 4-5 inches high border. So, it was very easy to go to one another’s house via the terrace.
My elder brother, who was 10, and his friends were playing on the adjacent terrace and I, with my friend chose the closed house. Silly we were, fighting over a piece of paper! It was a newspaper and I wanted the graffiti part of it which my friend also wanted. It looked like a tug of war. Obviously, the paper got torn and I fell backwards, not realizing that there wasn’t anything to stop me. I fell on the mezzanine first and the force of my fall made me fell down on the floor.
Commotion followed and my brother rushed to mom and shouted, “Mummy, Ruchi (that’s my nickname) has fallen down”. In shock, mom hurriedly ran and climbed up the stairs to the terrace where she found me lying unconscious on the floor. There wasn’t any blood, but I was lying still. She was about to jump down, but everyone held her back. Soon, many people gathered and were thinking how to take me out of the locked house. Just then, a guy from nowhere came and jumped into the house. He held me up and sprang out, over the wall. Before anyone could talk to him or thank him, he just vanished out of sight. My right eye was swollen like a ball and I was taken to our nearest family doctor, that too at his home, who said that I should be rushed to the hospital. Without wasting any time, he took me in his car to the government hospital- the only hospital in town.
The next challenge was how to inform my father about the accident. At that time, there were no telephones at homes and no phone booths in trend. My father used to go 22 kilometers on his motorbike for work. One of the uncles in our neighborhood just took out his bicycle and rode all the way to my father’s work place. Ah! So kind people were during those days.
By the time my father came to the hospital, I was still unconscious, but had vomited blood. Tension prevailed and there were lots of bad thoughts coming in everyone’s mind. My father sat by my side. It was around midnight when I opened my eyes and said, “Papa”. My father thanked God that I was sound and normal. Everyone around me said that it was a miracle I was safe. I had no clue about what was happening, but was very happy as the doctor advised me to have lots of ice-creams because there was internal bleeding. All our neighbors kept visiting me during the next couple of days.
This incident has been re-told and narrated so many times in most of our family get-togethers. But, everytime we are left with the same question, “Who was that guy?”