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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

When lives hung in the balance

Sanjeev Verma, Hindustan Times   June 20, 2013
First Published: 16:45 IST(20/6/2013) | Last Updated: 16:53 IST(20/6/2013)

I love adventures, but this was the accidental one and the most harrowing, with a rainy death brushing us just by a metre's distance.

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Before I narrate the incident, a disclaimer. Please save the sympathy for those who have lost everything, including loved ones, in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the past few days of incessant rains and merciless floods.

I, along with my wife, was driving back to Chandigarh on June 16 after around a week's tour of Uttarakhand when we encountered the unprecedented one on NH-72 between Dehradun and Paonta Sahib, around 20 km ahead of Herbertpur.

As we were just to cross a rushing stream of water coming down from our left-side mountain, suddenly it became a virtual rivulet with mud, debris and rocks crashing down.

Till the time we could understand anything, we were in the middle of the rivulet gushing almost half-way up the left side of our car and the unrelenting force of the torrent drifting us to the right side to throw us down the gorge into the Yamuna river.

Turning to the left, I found my wife's speechless and frightened face staring at me with the thought of the car being totalled. The very next second, a huge wooden log tumbled down from the hillock across the road just a metre ahead of our car. All I could hear was the pelting rain, gushing water, ladies screaming from the SUV following us and my car's engine, though giving the sound of a full throttle, was not responding with the car's movement as the tyres were just rotating in the mud at the same place.

Born and brought up in the hills, I had never experienced such a scene bringing shivers down the spine. But then, they say that your nerves are tested when lives hang in the balance.

It was then only that I looked back to see a number of vehicles lined up at least 50 metres behind our car to see our fate without thinking of lending us a helping hand. Putting the car in the reverse gear, I pressed the accelerator to the fullest, getting us out of insurmountable adversity to narrate you the experience I would never forget.

We were lucky enough to save our lives, but my heart and prayers go out to those who have suffered irreparable loss of their loved ones.

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