Déjà vu

Déjà vu

Something was off. His eyes searched for what was amiss and there it was. His legs were gone.

Was he in a dream? A gust of wind, dark clouds gathering above, heartbeats pacing, commotion all around him, everything felt exactly the same.

Deja-vu had never hit Ashok so hard.

He was standing in disbelief, eyes wide and lips pursed. His mind drifted to that fateful day, 6 years ago. He was late for practice. Being the ace archer in his academy, he didn’t want to show up last. Great athletes lead by example—a philosophy he used to live by. But that day, he had lost track of time.

Riding his bike a little too fast, he cursed himself. Preoccupied and impatient, he curved his wrist on the accelerator more firmly than usual. The bike screeched and flew off. A few seconds later, as he lost total control, the bike skid dangerously and crashed into an oil truck coming from the opposite direction.

He had no idea what happened next. When he opened his eyes after what could have been mere minutes or an eternity—he found himself on the ground and surrounded. Strangers screaming, dialling their phones, talking to him.

He remembered how that day, like today, had strong winds and dark clouds. As he felt his consciousness fade, he heard the sound of an ambulance. Strangers hovered over him, wearing masks, while Ashok was wondering “Are you a doctor? What time is it?”

That is the last thing he remembered before waking up in a hospital the next day.

But something was off. His eyes searched for what was amiss and there it was. His legs were gone. Not amputated but lifeless like a broken wing. He had deep fractures and ligament tears. Doctors told him that it would take years of physiotherapy before he could walk again. They were explaining many things but all Ashok could hear was the shattering of his dreams.

How could this happen to me? I should have just died. 

When a tragedy befalls, it takes a long time to accept the reality. To understand that no matter what, life goes on. It doesn’t care if you quit and wallow in self-pity. So how you respond is your choice, and yours only.

Finally, he made his choice.

Shaking his head a few times, Ashok came back to the present moment.

He bowed deeply to the person standing in front of him. Today, the strong winds and the dark clouds didn’t matter as Ashok smiled like someone reading the last page of an incredible book.

As the national anthem started, he looked at his medal and then at the crowd cheering his name.

It almost felt like a dream.


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