Want rescue? Please hold indefinitely
'Jee madam what were you saying? There was an accident? Where?'
I was standing in the kitchen with my mother when we heard a vehicle come to a screeching halt on the main road we live across. As I peered out of the window, I saw the red car slam into what looked like a pick-up truck. There was a loud bang and then both the vehicles turned upside down on impact.
Immediately I grabbed the phone and dialled 15. The recorded voice of a woman asked me to hold and I did. This went on for around five precious minutes before the operator picked up.
“Hello Madam, Rescue 15.”
“Hello. There has been an accident in Block 16, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, please send an ambulance,” I spoke hurriedly.
“Just a minute madam, please hold,” he replied calmly as he shouted to someone,
“Yaar aik faarm dena. Baat sun aik faarm pakrana zara!”
(Hand me a form. Listen, hand me a form)
“Jee Madam, just a minute...”
Meanwhile a crowd had gathered where the vehicles lay like turtles.
“They took out the driver. He seems to be fine,” my mother told me.
Thank God, I thought.
“Jitni der mein aap faarm laingay banda mar na jaye,” I attempted to get him to listen to me.
(By the time you get the form, the man might be dead.)
“Jee madam what were you saying? There was an accident? Where?”
I repeated the address.
“Bhai meri baat suno. Faarm bhartay rehna, aik ambulance bhej do!” I chided him again.
(Listen to me, you can fill the form later. Just send an ambulance)
“Madam ajayegi ambulance bas thori der mayn.”
(Madam, it will be there in a short while.)
“Madam, where in Block 16?”
“Right across Aitchison School.” (It has been there for ages.)
“What? What did you say? Aithch? Aitchii? What?”
“Just leave it. It is right on the main road when you turn in the area.”
(In my defence I told him this because I know the Rescue 15 office is literally a two-minute drive away. First aid would have reached had it set out on foot when I called.)
“Okay madam, the mobile will be there shortly.”
I was so relieved I slammed down the phone.
By the time I got off the call, the woman who had been in one of the cars was standing outside too. She seemed shocked but otherwise fine.
A siren blared loudly. It was the ambulance. About 25 minutes after the accident. But it wasn't required anymore. The passengers seemed to be fine and were on their way home.
But I wondered, what if they hadn't been so lucky?
Read more by Tehmina here.