Aug 1969. Earlier on 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set his foot on the moon . The local American consul General office in Chennai had received the film of this historic happening and they were screening it free for the public of Chennai , in the Children's theatre , Triplicane for about a week in Aug 1969.
Since they anticipated a huge rush, they had advertised in the paper that the public had to collect the free tickets in advance on first come first served basis. It was a Monday and it was a weekly holiday for us. I left my room at about 830 am( I was a bachelor , residing in Triplicane at that time ), took a cycle on hire and went to Midland theatre, booked a ticket for the evening show of a film ( Poojaikku Vandha Malar, If I am not wrong ), and from there went to Children's theatre , stood in the queue for more than one hour , collected the ticket for the next thursday's show and was returning to the room via Bells Road.
It was about 12 noon then. There was not much traffic on the road , but it so happened that a small boy riding a cycle, suddenly came to the main road from a side road and to avoid hitting him, I swerved my cycle and at that moment my right leg got caught in the front wheel and I was thrown up and onto the road , because of the sudden braking action due to my leg in the front wheel ! I fell on the road and went unconscious immediately. When I woke up sometime later ( about 15 mins afterwards, I was told ), I saw a big bus wheel near my head - about two feet from my head !! And the passengers of the bus were standing around me.
When I became fully conscious, I was told that the bus driver of the bus which was coming behind me saw me falling on the road and in a flash, swerved the bus to one side to avoid running over me . Thank God, he succeeded in his attempt and brought the bus to a halt near my head and the bus was standing at 45 degrees to the road !
Though the cycle got badly damaged , I escaped with some injuries in the hand, leg and face ( fortunately nothing happened to my head) .
After thanking the bus driver and the public who helped me regain consciousness, I brought back the cycle in a cyclericksha, handed over to the cycle shop, went to a nearby ESI dispensary, got the injuries treated , came back to the room, slept for three hours, and went to see the film in the evening!! ( Only to forget the pain )
A close shave with death . How can I forget this moment ?