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Four years ago I almost died...
I hope this photo-essay about my experience fills you with #gratitude and helps you find the strength to laugh through some of the challenges that life throws your way.
In June 2019 dad and I went to Ladakh in the Himalayas on an iconic motorcycle expedition. We rode through a snowstorm over the highest motorable road in the world at Khardungla pass, and on the other side in Nubra Valley, my brakes became faulty, my bike skidded on gravel, I went down a 20 foot drop, landed on a bed of rocks, and a 350 kilogram motorcycle flew threw the air and landed on top of my body. I was alone at the time and blacked out.
When I finally came to, I was unable to lift the motorcycle off my body and there wasn’t a soul in sight in the remote area. 20 minutes later, passersby in a car saw me on the roadside, picked me up and took me to the closest clinic. We reached there are found that both the bones between my left knee and ankle had snapped into two.
We were a six hour drive away from any place where we could get mobile phone connectivity. Our only option was to drive for 8 hours in a car, back over Khardungla pass, through the snowstorm, to the only public hospital in Leh, and to be airlifted to Delhi the following morning for surgery.
From the time of the accident, until after the surgery and beyond, I was laughing, joking and finding the positive in every scenario that life threw my way.
I have never known pain like the post-operative pain I suffered, but I managed to smile my way through it. There were innumerable times in the middle of the night when I’d be in excruciating pain, my leg covered in ice, and I’d call friends all over the world to talk to me to distract me from the pain.
I later discovered the my dominant wrist was broken too, and in addition to the rod in my leg, I had to have a metal plate inserted in my wrist as well.
I had to learn how to walk again, was unable to go to the restroom on my own, and was unable to even hold a spoon. But none of this stopped me from finding the positive.
I was grateful that I was wearing so much safety gear that I was saved from certain paralysis if not death. Had my bone cut through the skin in the remote Himalayan region where I had my accident, I would certainly have bled out.
I am grateful that I had the resources to get good medical attention in Delhi.
I was, am and will always be grateful for the immense support I got from my family and friends.
I was grateful that I was able to find the courage, and mental and physical strength to work, even while recovering. I performed comedy shows in wheelchairs and I gave motivational talks while standing on one leg and propping myself up with one hand. The latter was probably not a good idea as my left leg was swollen afterwards for an entire week!
I wrote an entirely new comedy show about the experience I went through. I called in ‘Unbroken’.
Most importantly, I'm grateful it was me who had the accident, and not my father.
I also learned a lot about myself. I learned that while a lot of work I do is coach people through difficult circumstances and transitions, I have the ability to actually practice what I preach.
I have much to be grateful for and even in extraordinarily tough circumstances, I am able to still be grateful. I am also able to find humour in what life throws my way, and continue to spread joy to others even while suffering tremendous pain. I am able to be positive while in a difficult situation, and that positivity and optimism rubs off on those around me.
I pray that you never have to go through what I did. But if life ever deals you a tough hand, something you have no control over, remember that you will always have the ability to choose HOW you play that hand.
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