A night. A plain, simple night was all it was. May be The calm before the storm. Couple hours of a dark night just before the dawn that changed my life. The few minutes of a night that have left a deep impression on my mind, body and soul. The few minutes that have caused me severe pain and made me unable to move my leg. From being an independent working young woman, today I am dependent on my family to take care of me, to help me walk. Now the thought which must cross your mind is how did this happen? How my life took a complete turn around? Believe me, even after approximately 1.5 months the incident happened, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the events. Here comes the most awaited part -2 explaining how my beautiful romantic anniversary turned my life into a complete nightmare…
As you must have read in part-1, I and my husband went to Andaman and Nicobar Islands to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We spent the first 3 days of our trip at Havelock Island. It was a memorable time that we spent together. To continue our journey, and after having our fill of Havelock, we moved to Port Blair, moving our plan further. We had arrived at Port Blair, and checked in the North Reef hotel at 2:00 p.m. We were offered a room on second floor There was only one window in the room with grill. The room had a very modern Samsung Electronic lock which could be opened only by touching the Room Key Card against it, or by entering a Passcode, given behind the Key Card. The door would auto lock once closed.
We ordered Lunch via Room Service of the hotel, and then took rest. We left for Cellular Jail at 5:00 p.m., and stayed for the Light & Sound Show. Post the show we returned back to hotel by 8:00 p.m. after doing some shopping on the way. After dinner we took the stairs back to our room. On reaching the room we changed into our night clothes and went to sleep, as we planned to wake up at 6:00 a.m. on next day morning and do our packing, As we were supposed to fly back to Delhi on next day. We had asked our Taxi to pick us up from the Hotel at 8:30 a.m. on next day morning.
At around 3:15 a.m., my husband woke up when our AC switched off. The room felt a bit stuffy and he could smell something like diesel fumes. He assumed that these might be coming from the hotel’s generator. He waited for the light to come back on but nothing happened. After 5 minutes, he got up. He could hear some commotion outside, and thought that it might be other guests complaining over no light in the hotel. When he opened the door to check, thick black smoke started flowing in the room from the corridor. He immediately closed the door, and woke me up and told me that there is a fire in the hotel. We ran towards the Room’s window and opened it. It was raining outside. We screamed for HELP, but there was no response. The window overlooked another building which seemed uninhabited.
Seeing no other option, we took two towels from the Bathroom, and wet them in the sink and wrapped the towel around our faces and ventured outside into the corridor.We also grabbed our wallets and phone.The Room door closed automatically once we exited. The smoke was very black and thick. We couldn’t see anything even with the torches of our phones. The smoke was very pungent, and it burned our eyes and throat. We felt around, and somehow made our way towards the staircase. We made our way downstairs by feeling around each step. As we went lower we could feel it getting warmer. As we reached the last staircase towards Ground Floor we could feel a very hot sensation, and assumed that the fire source was here. We immediately retreated back to the first floor and somehow reached the first floor Balcony.
Throughout this flight we could hear the rest of the guests moaning and crying. ON reaching the Balcony, we were able to breathe a little easier. There was complete pandemonium outside. There were 4-5 people on the ground floor looking up at us. As the number of people on the balcony increased, and fearing further collapse of the Building, my husband and I got on the outer glass ledge of the Balcony and jumped from there. I jumped first, and he followed me. I landed hard on the wet marble floor below, slipped and fell on my knees. He jumped after me and felt a hard pain in his ankles.
I was unable to get up after jumping as I was feeling severe pain from my knees. On visual inspection I found my left leg knee was dislocated and swollen. A few more guests jumped after us. There were a group of children who kept on screaming for help for their mothers. My husband took his phone and called on the Police Helpline (100) first, which was busy. He next called on 101 and was connected to the Fire Brigade Department. He informed them of our emergency. After 15 minutes the Fire Brigade arrived, and 5 minutes after that an Ambulance also arrived on the scene.
At the hospital we were wheeled into the casualty ward, which started filling with other guests from the hotel. Most of them arrived coughing in dizzy state and were put on oxygen. Some of them were vomiting out some sort of black mass. The doctor on call sent me out for an X-Ray. The constant shifting of Beds had put me in considerable agony. Once the X-Ray was done, I was wheeled to the Female Surgical Ward – II. The orthopedic on call had diagnosed a fracture in my left Femur and dislocation of Patela (Knee Cap). He informed us that I needed immediate surgery. As we had no assistance at Andaman, we decided to fly back to Delhi at the earliest for the surgery.
We requested the doctor for the same, and he agreed and decided to readjust My Knee Temporarily And (check) put it in plaster. He also decided to do the same in OT under General Anaesthesia, as I was in considerable pain. Thus, he informed us that we would be able to fly out on following day only, as they would have to monitor my vitals for 24 hours. I was wheeled into the OT at around 11:00 a.m. By that time my husband was starting to feel a severe ache in his ankle, which was also starting to swell. But, I don’t know how he continued on. Probably, because, he could not afford to be added to the casualty list.
Once I was in a slightly better state, my husband decided to visit the Hotel to check on our baggage. He checked with the Police officials at the hospital, and was informed the name of the Police officer in charge at the hotel.
MY HUSBAND’S PERSEPCTIVE
On reaching the hotel, I was met by the Police In-charge, who sent me to my room under police supervision and one hotel attendant. On reaching the room, I first put on some decent clothes, as I was still in my undergarments, and collected my belongings. I noticed that our watches were missing and reported that to the Police official. Once everything was packed, I was accompanied out of the hotel with my luggage.I was informed that the Hotel management were arranging to place the Guests in some alternate arrangements. The Police In-charge asked the Hotel representative to arrange it for me, and the latter started making some calls. Also the manager of the hotel seemed to be out for Lunch.
After 10 minutes, he informed that the hotel where they were making alternative arrangement was full. On being pressed by the Police to check further, he started dialling numbers again but was clearly not interested to take any further action. After 20-25 minutes of further in-action by the Hotel Representative, I politely requested him for an update as I wanted to quickly return back to my wife who was all alone at the hospital without any food since early morning. The hotel representative told me very rudely that everything was full and that I should make my own arrangement. I was very upset by such a response, but it seemed that the Hotel Staff had no sympathy for our condition. Feeling the need to return to my wife, I did not pursue the matter and left with my luggage to find another hotel on my own.
There was no food available at the hospital, and no decent canteen around. I was offered support by some family members of another patient in the ward. They took me in their car to a nearby bakery, from where I was able to purchase some Bread & Butter. I took that back to the Hospital, and fed my Wife some buttered bread. My wife was in considerable agony and was extremely depressed with her situation. I too was feeling very bad at our condition.
Back to Delhi
After reaching Delhi, I went through my knee surgery. I was discharged from the hospital after 5 days and was asked for a complete bed rest for the next 3 months. After 1.5 months my plaster has been removed and even then I have not recovered. It will take a whole lot of time, 4-6 more months, to recover for me fully. To just be myself again. From having a busy schedule, it causes me deep anguish, to sit at home doing nothing. The physical and mental pain of it is hard to bear, very hard.
13th July 2018 – Present Day
It has taken solid 1.5 months for me to overcome the emotional trauma and re-live the moments. all because of the support of my family. Especially my husband and my In-laws. Despite his own physical injuries, he provided the best for me and took care of me, still is. My mother-in-law who like a fairy godmother has been taking care of me unflinchingly. I am forever indebted to them for the special care they have taken of me. And also for motivating me to go ahead and express my deepest fear so I finally feel liberated from it.
All I can say is that the event may have broken my leg, caused immense agony. It could not break my will to fight back and survive. I soon look forward to just being me again, going back to work and living my life.
Thank you for reading this!
To Read Part 1 click Here