It wasn’t a Sunday afternoon because it was rather a Friday and an awaited start of my Christmas break, concluding a very hectic year. Every year by this time, I would be longing for the break to start to get on with all the delayed personal projects. Throughout the year, it would have to be adjusted or cancelled, but not this time. To make the most of it, I had already booked a salon for Friday evening itself. The last few months had blown past with a crazy set of travels, meetings and conferences back to back and I just couldn’t find a ‘me time’. This was finally my time!
The format for our 10-day end of the year was to travel to Kerala for Christmas festivities and visiting the in-laws and as always, we were readying but something kept nagging at me. For some reason, that year I wasn’t really looking forward to another seven hour travel with a long layover at Chennai airport. After a crazy year, all I wanted was to sit back, enjoy a book, cook a comfort meal or watch a pending movie, go out shopping and, if that was not possible, probably fix the house, which was being neglected for quite some time. But that became a distant dream as we booked our tickets last minute. Anyhow, before travelling again, I just wanted to be shipshape.
With each passing year, I kept missing cold Christmas’s from my younger days in Delhi, where you would complain that that year’s winter had been the worst in a long time to come but nonetheless snuggle with a warm cup of hot chocolate or coffee (when I grew up) and watch a Santa Claus movie.
After a good two hours of pampering myself from head to toe and feeling so happy, I headed to City Centre (a shopping complex in Salt Lake, Kolkata) for the last errand. I had got my husband a shirt, but he wanted it exchanged for the size and I decided to get it done with this year itself. As I climbed down the stairs, with my eyes on the phone; I fell down and heard a loud snap. Yes, it came from my ankle. I had accidentally skipped two steps and ended up hurtling down. My ankle hurt and I yelled out in pain. I tried sitting up on the stair and even tried walking a couple of steps, but gave up wincing in pain. I immediately called my husband and informed him. He was still stuck in office wrapping up work before the holidays and came over as fast as his feet could carry him.
Many scenarios kept running through my head. Did I sprain it again? Did I end up fracturing it this time? Or was it even worse? We decided to go get some x-rays done to get a better picture. And there it was. I had broken my right ankle and injured my ligaments on the left feet. Sitting on the x-ray table, with the attendant ranting on how I achieved this feat, my heart started skipping a beat and my stomach fell to the bottom. I didn’t know what would happen now.
I called my parents in Delhi and told them what I was truly staring at – my broken ankle. Our trip to Kerala came to an end within minutes. I got admitted to the hospital right away. As it was the holiday season, doctors on call were only on an emergency basis. After the swelling went down, the surgeon decided to go ahead with the setting of the bones with a titanium plate and four screws. My mom came in the nick of time to see me before I went ahead with the surgery. Everything was going at a breakneck speed, and I had no option but to flow with it.
I laughed and joked throughout the procedure. My next four months were bed bound but full of life. We watched movies, read novels, was assistant cook, was the go to taster in the house and gossiped in the evenings. After four months, I started walking again and went back to my ever crazy schedule of travelling.
It was a very difficult, introspective, challenging time of my life to date. It was made easy by each of my loved ones who poured out their love and laughter to ensure that I remained busy and occupied. The fallout has been I am ever so vigilant of stairs and where my foot falls. Yet I ended up walking the terrain of forts and desert in Rajasthan, slopes of Aizawl town and steps leading to Nathula Pass. Nothing is unachievable; you have to just put your mind to it.
Contributor: Amrita Paul
About our Writing Program Student
Amrita Paul is a Senior Programme Officer with the Prison Reforms Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. She has a Master’s Degree in Law (LL.M.) Human Rights from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. The primary focus of her work is to target unnecessary and prolonged detention of undertrials and work towards systemic interventions to prevent it. She loves watching movies and sitcoms (when she has time), cooking and creating new recipes, reading Christie’s and murder mysteries and appreciating music.