Real Happiness

Victory and defeat hold different meanings for different people and being happy with this victory or defeat is also strange. From Latehar, we left for Ranchi (both in Jharkhand, India), on a light vehicle and from there we had to leave for Siwan (Bihar, also in India) on a night bus. Everything was well planned and we were supposed to reach our destination by the next morning. We started our journey on a very positive note. After covering almost 100 km, I felt uneasy because the bus was making loud creaky sounds and the ride became more bumpy than usual. About a few minutes later, around midnight… We were out of the city and in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Then all of a sudden… Our bus collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. The driver slammed on the breaks and sharply turned the wheel to the other direction. The bus tumbled off and started rolling down the road. The entire episode happened in the blink of an eye. We met with an unexpected accident. Everyone on the bus was screaming and shouting. There was a great rush near the door. It was a surreal and haunting experience and we were lucky enough that none of us got hurt. I kept getting flashbacks in slow motion of the time when the bus driver slammed on the breaks until it laid tilted and damaged on the road. All the people lost their tempers. We immediately got off the bus. We waited patiently outside while the others got off. Then I saw my father entering the bus again. We thought that he was going inside to bring out the luggage. But then we saw that he along with the bus conductor was busy rescuing the bus driver who was stuck in his seat. I saw several people injured with blood stains due to the glass pieces from the windows but the driver was the worst affected. He was unable to stand. Perhaps he had multiple fractures. My father along with the conductor managed to send the driver to the hospital by another vehicle. Everyone was surrounding the bus watching anxiously as the entire scene unfolded. The bus looked like something out of a horror movie as it was laid on its one side, totally destroyed and disfigured and the dark night sky intensified the entire happening. And since the bus was badly damaged, it could not proceed further. Then just like everyone else, my father went to the conductor to take back our bus fare since we had a long journey pending and we had not even covered half of the route. But till then the conductor had ran away and left the spot. However, there were a few passengers who had already grabbed their money from the conductor. I am still not sure if the driver made it out alive since he was badly injured. But I have a feeling that he did make it because he was immediately sent to a nearby hospital. I still wonder the causes of that accident. Maybe the driver fell asleep at the wheel? Maybe he just lost control of the steering wheel? Maybe he got distracted from the road? Or maybe he was simply drunk? I am still clueless. I often think that if the bus driver did not slam on the breaks at the last second, or if we were heading a bit faster, then I am sure everyone on the bus would have died and nobody from the outside world would have known about it. We fled the scene because we got picked up by another bus that was heading to Patna luckily. In that bus we had one more passenger from the previous bus who was along with his mother. He was boasting about how he took advantage of the situation and snatched away the money from the conductor. He thought it to be a great achievement. That boy was very happy. Because he was in no loss from that journey, in fact he was in profit because he actually took a greater amount of money than his original fare. So it was obvious for him to be in joy. On the other hand, our entire money was lost since the conductor ran away with it. But my father was still happy. On being asked the reason, he replied that the driver too would be having a family and the happiness they would feel, when they come to know that he has nearly survived a fatal accident, is a lot more valuable than this boy's happiness. These words of my father made me think a lot. Have you ever noticed that some people appear to be happy, while others seem to exist under a black cloud always? This is because happiness is not something that happens to us, or something we are born with. Happiness is a choice we all can make. This can be applied to all the circumstances in life where we can filter out happiness from it. At the end, everyone was happy- My father being happy for saving a life and the boy being happy for making a great amount of money. The driver's family too would have been definitely happy to see him alive. Now that is the ‘Real Happiness'.

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Niki

Writer and Playwright

London, United Kingdom