A long journey far from home, from a daily routine, and from familiar faces gets hard sometimes, but I did my best to prepare for the change of norm before hitting the asphalt. I knew the risks involved, and had to accept them in order for ADifferentAgenda to materialize. Starting this adventure was the best decision I have made in my life and I've enjoyed easy days as well as the tough ones. Even then, there are days that I wished would end sooner, but have come to realize in retrospect that they are the ones that will never be forgotten and have given me important lessons of life.
Oct. 23 2011 was one of those days. A series of unfortunate news and events would unfold throughout the day. First thing that morning, I was able to visit my bike for the first time and found out it's completely totaled. The mechanic who was storing it for me offered 300EUROS for it. 300EUROS... are you serious? Then I received news that the police had determined that the car driver was at fault, but unfortunately he doesn't have insurance, not even the minimum basic liability insurance. Which meant if I wanted any money out of him I'd have to sue, take him to court, and let the judge order him to pay up. I knew that the guy who crashed into me was very poor and had little kids he could barely afford to raise. I told the police I didn't want to sue him for money, he was free to go... along with the hopes of seeing my bike alive again.
Well, the bad day continued when right after the police left, i found out news that had left the world in stupor. I was in a state of shock...not knowing what to do. Was this even possible? Why him? Why do all the cool people leave us before the not so cool ones do?? Marco Simoncelli the rising star, the crazy one, the next champion had passed away in a horrific crash during the MotoGP race at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. I was heart broken, the already awful day just turned into the worst day ever. Sic, you will be remembered forever 58
Days passed by and 25th finally arrived; the day I'm scheduled to leave the hospital. I was told the night before that the doctor would be in at 8am and that I should be up to see her otherwise she would just leave. So I set an alarm on my phone for 7:30am, and attempted to sleep. I failed miserably.... I was too excited to finally being able to escape the damn hospital. Niko, my friend kept me company with conversations all night and at sunrise, we went for a little walk. The doctor arrived around 10:30am, entered my room, and went around checking the files. She picked up my file for no more than 10 seconds and then left the room without uttering a single word. I waited for 10 mins on the bed and there was still no sign of the doctor returning. I asked the nurse what happened with the doctor and she proceeded in telling me that the doctor had ordered that I stayed one more day and I'd have to take one last x-ray the next day before I'd be allowed to leave. Upon hearing this, I jumped out of the bed at the speed of a snail and made my way to the doctor's office. There was a huge line by the door, but I just went straight inside and in my obnoxiously loud Pakistani English accent I almost shouted, "Excuse me doctor, I dont want to stay another day here in your hospital. If you want to get an x-ray, You can do it right now, but I'm leaving today no matter what. Because I'm not a local, you're charging me 3 times more than usual whereas I could easily go stay at the hotel right across the street that charges half the price of this hospital and is at least 5 times more cleaner." The doctor's jaw dropped. She asked me in a very polite voice to wait in my room. In less than 5 minutes a random guy in a funny orange suit came to my room shouting, "KHAN KHAN KHAN???" then uttered something else in Romanian. I didn't understand what he was saying but I could tell he wanted me to follow him. We walked down stairs and straight to the radiology room. There was a big line, but we went straight in and within 3 minutes i was out with my x-rays and permission to leave the hospital. After everything was packed, i made my way down stairs towards the exit where Chirstenel's wife, who happened to be a nurse at this very hospital, was waiting for me in her car. We then went to a bank close by so i could withdraw all the money in my account out to pay the hospital. They wanted to be paid in Lei, the local Currency.
The hospital bill was about 4900 LEI ($1550) and i had 5100 LEI ($1613) in my bank account. Perfect... I was about to be officially broke with exactly $63 after i payed off the hospital bill. That didn't worry me so much because I knew where there's a will, there's a way. Possible scenarios came to my head and I thought I would just start working here in Romania for a little while and save up to resume the journey. So I slid my ATM card in the ATM machine and it gave me an Error. I tried about 15 times before i accepted the fact that my card didnt work. I was screwed. I tried another bank close by with no luck. There was nothing else to do but to return back to the hospital. When we got there, I went to the storage room to gather all my stuff to be loaded into the car. Cristinel suddenly appeared and i told him the situation. He told me that he was going to ask them if I was able to pay later. We headed to the counter, inquired about the situation, and were directed to the head accounting lady at the back. We walked towards the back and found ourselves in a small crammed office that had one too much furniture. The lady sitting on the desk had too much jewelry and paint on and her hair was dyed so golden it had seemed like she had her hair on fire for a while. I was overwhelmed with a very bad feeling...she seemed not so friendly, i dont know why. ("Never judge a book by it cover.")
I sat and watched Cristinel and the lady converse in Romanian, not understanding anything except a few words: Pakistanieze, Motorchaclate, ATM, Arad, Accident, Moulnar, Insurance, blah blah.. I knew he was trying to convince her about something by explaining the situation.. After 25 minutes of waiting and having not a single clue of what was going on, I see her writing something on a piece of paper and handing it over to us as she ushered us out of the office.
I asked Cristenel to fill me in which he replied with, "there is some good news," and that he'd tell me in the car.
He told me he had booked a flight for me to Bucharest where a distant cousin/relative was waiting for me but we had to hurry because we still had to pay for the ticket and the receipt had to be scanned to the airline company for confirmation before i was allowed on the plane. After 2 hours of taking care of all the documents for my flight, I'd realized that somehow my credit card decided to work perfectly again. Is someone up there planning this whole thing?? Right after we got everything settled, Moulnar, the guy who crashed into me, called me on my cell phone and as I don't understand Romanian, I gave the phone to Cristenel who tells me that Moulnar wanted to see me one last time and that he was waiting for us at the hospital. We rush back to the hospital, and see Moulnar there with the biggest smile on his face and a few tears rolling down his cheeks. I got out of the car and we hugged like two old friends.. He thanked for not taking him to court and suing him. I told him, "We Muslims forgive everyone and you should tell your kids too that Muslims are good people."
He then told me that he took all the money out of his bank account and wanted me to take it.. I thought maybe he was offering a million and I'd just take a quarter of that, but instead he offered me about 250EURO. I felt so bad for this man, hugged him again and told him not to worry about it... Everything's good. We exchanged good byes and before taking a seat in the car, I asked Cristenel to ask Moulnar for one more thing. "Moulnar, you crashed into me, it was your fault, my bones broke and i lost my bike.. You didn't lose much, so to pay me back, I want you to go to your church for 30 days straight, 5 hours everyday, and pray for my recovery so that I can get back on the bike quick." He smiled and chuckled and we drove off..
We had to rush towards the airport. It was an hour away from where we were at that time and the flight desk was supposed to close in exactly 50 minutes... It seemed like we had already missed the flight but Cristenel was determined, he said that he'd drive fast so maybe we'd get there in time....
After driving for about 20 minutes we got to the same exact stretch where I had crashed. Going past it was weird.. I felt dizzy, then I laughed, then I fell quiet for a bit, and then realized.. oh damn, I should've made a video.
When we were about 20 mins from the airport, Cristenel said, "That accounting lady was really nice. She felt sorry for you, Moin, so she wrote the hospital's account number on the paper and said that you could pay later. Just when we were about to leave her office though, she told me that if you didn't pay, you wouldn't be the first Romanian who didn't pay. So Moin, you don't have to pay and because it's a government hospital they will collect money from the government and because it's not your fault at all... its all good." I felt bad, but the smile on my face was a mile long.
We arrived to the airport and found out that the flight was delayed about 20 minutes. So i got into the airport without an issue, boarded the plane, and flew off to Bucharest. When i arrived in Bucharest, my cousin Umair greeted me at the airport and ushered me into the car and took me home... A HOME AT LAST.
The next day Daniel called and said, "Moin, you don't have to worry about the bike, I have it with me, its safe, and I will have the bike ready before you are ready to ride it."
It seems like someone's playing a very intense bone breaking game of chess, but He really knows how to win because He has shown some amazing skills. I always thought it was funny how our Pakistani cricket players come in front of the microphone/camera and say I WANT TO THANK ALLAH before saying anything else. Well I'm here now, about to say the same thing. I want to thank Allah for making all of this such a breeze. Everything that has happened for the past few months seemed so planned yet, unplanned. Things have just been turning in my favor. The ATM card not working when I had to pay the hospital, but suddenly worked the same day when i had to pay for the air ticket. Seriously...whats going on?? I don't understand it myself..