In Varanasi, among the 2000 or so temples, is a charity-run hostel called ‘Salvation House’. The guests come to here die.
In India the perilous roads, the ever-present risk of shitting oneself were both expected. We quickly learned that there are unexpected dangers too.
I turned the corner to come nose-to-nose with a decapitated camel, hanging grimly outside a butcher’s shop. A hook through the underside of its jaw.
When I woke I touched the side of my head gently. Dried blood. The pain was intense. Like a visit by the mother of all hangovers.
Wearing only a paper gown tied at the back, I climbed onto the cold radiography table. I rolled onto my side into the foetal position as instructed.
While still in the hospital I learned the identity of the driver that had hit me. A 19-year-old former pupil of my school. I didn’t feel anger towards him, but I didn’t forgive him either…
I was part-way through my secondary school exams. The culmination of 2 years of study. My future academic and employment prospects would be determined by the result. That was all gone now.
A broken femur shaft takes 3 months to repair itself. So, regardless of my other injuries, I’d spend at least 3 months in a hospital bed. It was unimaginable.