By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) For Mrighank Srivastava, one fateful September night in 2008 changed his life for the worse. Though he survived being knocked down from his motorcycle by a speeding BMW while his friend was killed, his injuries led to various health problems and he says life appears “worthless” now.
“I can neither eat nor drink properly. I cannot even work for long hours,” said Srivastava who is suffering from various problems due to post recovery complications.
On the night of September 11, 2008, Srivastava’s bike was hit by the speeding car near Moolchand flyover in south Delhi. While he received grievous injuries, his friend Anuj Singh, who was riding pillion, succumbed to head injuries.
Srivastava was taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre where a high dose of medicines, including steroids to survive the loss of blood, led to various health problems.
“My ankle was broken. I was discharged from the hospital after 10 to 12 days but remained on bed rest for six more months.
“I was under medical observation when, in 2012, I gained a lot of weight,” he said adding that doctor told him that it is due to water accumulation.
“Thereafter, I had to undergo bariatric surgery in 2015. The doctor removed 80 per cent of the food bag from my stomach. My food pipe has shrunk. Now I cannot eat more than two rotis and drink more than two-three glasses of water in a day.
“I have to suffer from dehydration in summer due to my appetite. My social life have been spoilt, I can’t enjoy parties, get-togethers and other events. Is this what one calls life?” he said.
A former journalist, Srivastava now works as a freelance video-editor.
“Before the accident, I was giving my best to my profession. But now I am not able to concentrate and earn good money.
“It is really sad that a 33-year-old man is dependent on his father. Even my 8-months-old daughter and wife have to survive on my father’s income. I now understand the true meaning of the proverb ‘health is wealth’,” he said.
He said he was shocked to hear that the court, which has sentenced driver Utsav Bhasin to a “lighter punishment”, has only awarded Rs 10 lakh compensation to Anuj’s family and Rs 2 lakh to him.
He said the compensation amount was too less as he has already spent Rs 18 lakh on his treatment. “The compensation amount can neither recover my health nor can it bring back Anuj,” he said.
Questioning the compensation amount to his deceased friend’s family, he said: “If Anuj had lived, he would have earned more than Rs 10 lakh.”
Anuj’s brother Kshitiz Chauhan said that he will appeal the judgement in high court.
Demanding harsher laws to control rash driving, he said: “There is no value of human life.”
Anuj’s father, Rajendra Singh, demanded harsher punishment, saying: “I am not satisfied with the judgment.”
A court on Saturday sentenced Bhasin to a two-year jail term in the hit-and-run case. He was convicted under Sections 304-A (causing death by rash and negligent act), 279 (driving rashly to endanger human life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code, but was acquitted of charges under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), which provides for jail term for a minimum of 10 years or maximum of life.
(Amiya Kumar Kushwaha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)