By Life Positive February 2012 I had decided to visit my friends and colleagues working near my place. I promised my mother-in-law to be back by four pm. I settled in my car with my water bottle and tuned in to the FM. Suddenly, I noticed that the bottle had tilted. I tried setting it upright to prevent leakage, and BANG! I had bumped into a Honda city parked on one side of the road. Two middle-aged men sprang out of the car in violent rage. On spotting a tearful female behind the steering wheel, they paused. I had no doubt that it was my fault and that I would have to shell out compensation. I told them the same and called up my husband. In the 45 minutes that he took to arrive at the spot, I kept shedding tears and chanting the mritunjaya mantra.After a brief discussion my father-in-law was also called in. He called them in for a cup of tea as our house was a minute away. They came and we paid up tens of thousands of rupees.Although we were relieved that nobody was harmed, it was a heavy day for us.In a few days, the memory of the incident had paled, and I decided to drive again. As the damaged car was still under repair, I asked my husband which day I could take his car. His expression changed. On probing, he told me that he was scared for my safety on the road and wasn’t sure if I should start driving so soon after the accident. I assured him that I knew what I had done wrong and had learnt my lesson. I would be more careful in future but fear could not stop me from driving. I quoted Gopaldas Neeraj’s beautiful poem:Those who shed tears silentlyAnd waste the precious pearlsKnow that for the loss of a dear dreamLife doesn’t end, doesn’t die.Those who bathe in saline tearsAnd plunge in sorrows without plunging in lifeKnow that for the loss of a small lake,The rains do not end, do not die.Those who forever celebrate sorrows,Who take pleasure in ruing a lossKnow that for the loss of a few starsThe sun does not pale, does not die.Both of us shed tears and the tension dissolved. The next day I took the car out, without banging, and with humility.I realised how important it was to cross that threshold of sadness and fear.Monica Gulati, New Delhi
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