The Last Breath
It was a regular day, 26 July 2019. I was riding towards my office, lost in my own world, having that precious inner monologue that I always have, it’s like me against myself.
I saw cars and scooters breaking to a halt in front of me, I saw this 50 year old thin fragile man under an overturned auto while his passenger’s feet were visible. They both were moving and people had stopped and started to gather around them.
I immediately stopped and rushed towards them. I lifted the auto along with three more people and the auto driver and the passenger popped out of the auto. They both were visibly shaken. The auto driver was bleeding and had hurt his knees, arm and foot. He was scared, I could see from his face. I gave him some ice cold water while people advised me not to give him that but he still took it and poured a bit on his wounds.
His eyes had this really lost feeling that is hard to explain but I know what it was, it was like he was looking for something, the kind of feeling one has when the mind is not able to process everything because it all happened so fast and one feel really scared.
He gathered his wits and I stopped the traffic to help him park his vehicle on the left of the road. He got out and sat on the footpath while he was surrounded by people who were asking him questions. I went back to him after I moved my vehicle from the middle of the road to the left. I went back with water to him and someone asked him to lie down and he just fell backwards. Breathing deep and with lot of efforts. That’s when I realized he is not okay
I tried to see if he was hurt in the head but couldn’t see anything. Slowly it looked like he was looking out in the open, his body suddenly got stiff, he clenched his teeth, and stopped talking. Someone called the ambulance while another person offered to take him to the hospital in his car. People lifted the old man and took him into the car.
I remember seeing that face, those clenched jaws, the stiff body, the eyes focused out in the nothingness, the deep breathing, the kind of breathing you make when you are struggling for each and every breath. Struggling desperately for your body to get that last molecule of oxygen. Why I remember it? I remember because I saw it, I saw my own father struggling, at his last moment.
Seeing the auto driver I kind of knew what was happening? I don’t know whether he survived or not, but I wish he could, wish I could have done more.
*the accident happened close to pillar 57 at Brar Square metro station at 11:30, Delhi. People claimed it happened because of a jaywalker and the autos trying to prevent crashing into that person.