According to official Govt. statistics, more than 1.4 lakh Indians lost their lives to road accidents in the year 2017. We often underestimate the effect that accidents have on families of the victims. Here is a story of a fatal crash that shattered a lovely family.
A wife lost her husband, and a son lost his father. Yukta Shinde tells the tale of raising her son and surviving through her darkest days. “This is something I have to face for the rest of my life, only the family who deals with such loss understands the pain,” says Yukta, a brave-hearted woman who faced two major unfortunate losses with great courage.
The accident – the first loss – occurred on a usual Monday morning, right after a cheerful weekend. Yukta and Sameer Shinde had been married for a few years. They had a son who had barely seen life, amidst his high-school chaos. Sameer, who was in his mid-40s, was walking to his workplace when tragedy struck. Yukta lost her young husband in a road-accident when a speeding truck hit him. It left him critically injured and he breathed his last on the same day.
For a while, the whole thing seemed surreal. “When the news reached me that morning, in the course of calls, I and my son, presumed he would recover in due course of time, which wasn’t the case. It felt as though our family had died together, but then I had to re-start living, for my son and his career. To lose a husband at a young age and someone who’s also the sole bread-winner of the family, it’s a contrast to the natural order of life” she added.
Months after Sameer passed away; Yukta would often experience panic attacks and fall sick more than often. Luckily, she had a good neighborhood that would take care of Siddhartha – her son and her only purpose of existence. She could barely make a decision on what to eat each day, and how to find a source of income to survive for the rest of their lives. Eventually, things got better, and she learned how to adjust. She became the major decision maker, extended family members parted ways, and her only family was now limited to her son who was an aspiring engineering student.
Very often, motorists/drivers do not bother about other road users and are often seen disregarding the law. The ones who bear the brunt of such carelessness are not just individuals, but their entire family. While it’s disheartening to witness people like Yukta, what is it that can be done to save precious lives and change this disturbing trend?
Nearly three people died in every ten minutes in road accidents across India last year, according to a published official report by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The second loss – As years passed, nothing changed except for the fact that Siddhartha was now an ambitious man who was well-qualified and capable to run the house and look after his ailing mother. The untimely death of Sameer taught the mother-son duo how one single moment can change your life.
Just when they started to live a normal life, destiny had other plans, and Siddhartha was diagnosed with an incurable neurological condition. With time, his illness turned deadly and had no treatment, or cure available. As the illness progressed, his condition robbed his functionality, intellect, and mobility to perform the slightest of things on his own.
At 26, an ambitious man who had dreams of his mother to fulfill, ended his life by setting himself ablaze due to his immobility and depression that had taken a toll on him. Life threw Yukta into a never ending nightmare and alas she was left with nobody in her life.
A year later, meditation and therapy was all that helped her recover. At 65, an early widow and a mother who lost her son, re-built her life to work, earn, and survive for herself. While majority of us dream of an early retirement, there are brave-hearted individuals like Yukta who continue to work because they’re left with no choice, and contentment isn’t an option they’ve been blessed with.
Driver fatigue, over-speeding and drunken driving are major factors in road accidents. For every one killed, injured, or disabled by accidents, there are countless others deeply affected by loss of a family bread winner, the cost of prolonged medical care, or the burden of disabilities.
No one deserves to be just another statistic. No child deserves to lose a parent, and no parent deserves to lose a child. It is a louder wake-up call than anything else. It is completely under our control to reduce the number of road accidents, and it is about time that we take responsibility.