32 In Quest of the Last Victory
a couple of close encounters in different events and sports including
one at debating. I would carry a part of these close losses with me
always. I had met a lot of boys who would say that they gave up
a sport after losing a particular competition. I did not want to.
I wanted to win. I knew I could. How many times would luck be able
to stop me from winning? Not every time, or so I thought.
Luck can stop you once, luck can stop you twice, luck can
stop you three times but luck cannot stop you every time.
A Fortunate Encounter with Possible Death
This was sometime in the January of 1993. One day I woke up to
ﬁ nd myself in the hospital bed. A few of my friends surrounded me
and a close buddy Anupam Gaur had a heap of bandages pressed on
my right eye and the right side of my face, trying to stop the blood
which was oozing from my eye and escaping from the sides of the
heap of bandages despite his pressing hard. I did not know what was
going on. I asked Anupam Gaur ‘Gaur, what happened?’ He said
‘You got kicked by a horse’ Horse! What horse? I did not remember
any horse. ‘Which year is this?’ I asked him. He just said, ‘Relax’.
The doctor came in and my bandages were removed to profuse
bleeding. The doctor stretched my battered eyelids to check if I could
still see with that eye. Yes, I could. He was amazed. ‘I cannot ﬁ gure
out how your eye got saved with such an injury,’ he said. Over the
next few months he would repeat this statement every time he saw
me. The next couple of hours I was held down by ﬁ ve or six people,
who kept my hands and legs pressed down while the doctor stitched
my eyelids back in place with twenty-nine sutures around my eyelids
and right cheek. It was such a painful experience that I was pushing
away the people holding me. Two to three more medics had to be
Training in the Army 33
called in to pin me down. Physically, it has been the most painful
experience of my life.
Pain only matters to an extent. After that it does not
matter how much more or less of it you have.
Over the next few days I recollected the incidents, little at a time.
It was a morning, sometime in the beginning of my 4th semester.
I, along with other batch mates, was going on my bicycle to the equi-
tation lines for horse riding classes. I used to love riding. We used to
get to ride bareback horses for three hours in the surrounding hills
and jungles. I particularly remember the one time when our horses
waded into horse-leg deep water and then galloped out of the watery
stretch. I remember once when I, along with six other riders, galloped
through a jungle stretch and at the end of it I was the only one still
atop my horse. The rest ﬁ ve horses were without the riders.
That particular day, I remember, I had got a huge horse called
‘Hercules’. This horse was from the type of horses that were used to
pull massive carriages of the Victorian era. It was one of a pair that
pulled carriages; its partner had died. It was being tested to see if this
horse could be used for riding. I didn’t like the idea. However, refusing
to ride a horse was considered a matter of ultimate shame and dis-
grace (even by me). ‘Refusing’ was not even under consideration.
I brought the horse out. The moment I brought it out, it started
grazing. Standing next to it, I tried to pull its head up with the reigns
but the horse was so strong that I couldn’t pull its head up with the
reigns (though I was no longer a weak guy). If I couldn’t pull up the
head of the horse with the reigns, it meant that the horse was too
strong. After a few attempts I took, the horse kicked around wildly,
broke loose from my grasp and ran away. I ran after it to fetch it.