I've written 6 Narrow Escapes Stories. With this it becomes seven. Looking back I can't help but wonder that four out of seven of those incidents involved vehicles. Saved by the shoestring, Faulty Starter Motor, Stuck In The Rail Crossing and The Erratic Driver all involved vehicles. One was actually a bomb blast and the other a train. Then I escaped drowning and from a wild elephant. This next story, which I plan to be the last in this season is non vehicular. This is a home accident where I nearly lost an eye, when I was just a kid of four.
Though I was just four, I used to climb small trees like any other boy my age. The shady neem tree (this one is actually a variety called mal kohomba in Sinhala) in the front yard of my father's ancestral home was one of my hideouts. I loved to sit on a branch of that leafy, evergreen tree, hiding in the cool, shady foliage. Maybe it was too shady, explaining why my uncle had chopped off some limbs leaving just stubs with jagged edges.
While I was sitting in the shady tree enjoying the view from my favorite vantage point, I saw my father coming home. It was my childish habit to dip into his pockets for a sweet, when he returned from work. But now he was returning from the stream that flowed down through the village. He had had a swim and a bath like many people in the village enjoyed. And he usually had a handful of sweet purple berries which grew on the banks of the stream, as well as in the hedge that bordered the paddy fields. I was waiting for this sweet which made your mouth purple with its sweet stain.
I was so excited I didn't waste time climbing down. I simply leaped from the tree which wasn't very tall. Something went wrong. I crashed through the lower branches and a jagged edge of a chopped off branch pricked left eye. I landed on my feet but with serious injuries to my left eye. A jagged splinter which had pierced my eye was still sticking out of it.
Father dropped everything and came screaming. Everybody gathered and I was rushed to the nearest doctor where he did what he could and made me rush to the emergency room of the eye hospital. Our village was closer to Colombo. They had removed pieces of leaves in addition to the splinter of wood several centimeters long. Luckily it had pierced the white of the eye missing the pupil by a few millimeters. Anyway I was sent home after a few days face swathed in bandages, but had to keep visiting the Eye Hospital for many more years to come. My sister was also born when I was blindfolded. When we were returning home in a car with her couldn't see her. I simply touched her gentle skin and got to know her for the first time. I remember asking my mother if she was fair.
This accident left a brownish scar on the white of my eye, but now it's totally faded with time. Even now when I think about this, or when I describe this to someone which is not very often, it gives me goosebumps.