MAGAZINES | Sunwheels

Shattered Dreams

Today we bring you the story of a man whose carelessness led to the death of his newly married friends in a road accident. All names have been changed to
14 Mar 2015 10:56
Shattered Dreams

Today we bring you the story of a man whose carelessness led to the death of his newly married friends in a road accident. All names have been changed to protect the identities of the people mentioned in the story.

Javed’s Story

After a seven-year courtship, Arif finally tied the knot with Artiat her residence in the Western Division of Fiji. The couple was introduced to each other by Arif’s best friend, Javed.

“Arif and I were best buddies, we grew up in the same neighbourhood, played soccer together, completed our education together, and basically did everything that buddies do,” explains Javed.

“He was a great guy and there was never a dull moment when he was around.” Javed described Arti, who was his distant relative, as a “lovely girl” who was the “perfect match for Arif.”

The couple chose Javed to be the best man at the wedding and handed him the responsibility of driving their baaraat car (vehicle used as transport for newlyweds).

Javed recalls Arti saying earlier that it was the “perfect day to get married” as the couple was also celebrating their birthdays on the same day. Arti who had recently completed her Degree had secured a four-year scholarship to pursue further studies abroad. The couple had planned to move to their new home after the wedding.

The wedding was a grand affair. Families, friends and guests including the newlyweds and Javed thoroughly enjoyed the event.

“The funniest moment was when Arti boldly snatched the microphone from the priest during the wedding ceremony and announced that no one was supposed to cry when the time came for her to leave with her husband,” says Javed.

“You know in Indian weddings, there is a lot of drama and tears and she didn’t want all that. However when it was time to leave, it was Arti who couldn’t stop crying.

“It felt strange to see her crying badly as she was a happy person and I cannot recall seeing her cry like that before. She refused to let go of her parents … she said that she didn’t want to leave.”

Arti finally agreed to leave almost two hours later when an aunt and uncle decided to travel with us.

The newlyweds sat beside each other in the rear seat and were accompanied by the aunt. The uncle sat in the front passenger seat while Javed drove the car.

“The trip back was sad at first but uncle managed to make everyone laugh at his jokes and made us sing along with him and soon Arti returned to her bubbly self,” recalls Javed.

“We played music, told stories, sang and laughed a lot during the journey.”

Javed was driving the car just under the speed limit however since they were getting late and it had started to rain, he decided to drive faster.

At 7.28pm that evening, the car, which was moving at a speed of 90 km/hr, reached a narrow section of the road that has many sharp curves as it climbs on one side of a deep valley.

Javed was so engrossed in the conversation that he didn’t notice a truck that was coming from the opposite direction had veered into his lane until it was too late. The truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

The truck crashed into the car causing it to flip over several times before it landed on a huge rock jutting out from the valley. The uncle broke few ribs, suffered minor head injuries and broke his left arm. The aunt suffered various bodily injuries. Javed sustained moderate head injuries, shattered few ribs and broke both legs and an arm. He is also totally deaf in his right ear.

Arti died instantly. Arif sustained massive head and other bodily injuries and never woke up from a coma. He was admitted in the hospital for two months before he passed away.

The tragedy occurred almost 22 years ago however the couple’s families and Javed still cannot get over their death.

“Two wonderful human beings are no longer alive because I failed to drive responsibly”

“Two wonderful human beings are no longer alive because I failed to drive responsibly that day,” admits Javed.

“If only I had remained within the speed limit and had been alert, my friends would have been here today.

“Their families including mine supported me through those difficult days. I’m still in touch with Arif and Arti’s family but it is not easy to talk to them as I’m the reason why their children are dead.

“I feel ashamed and I don’t know why I escaped death.”

Javed is pleading with all road users to act responsibly while on the road as tragedies cause a lifetime of pain to so many people.

“Road rules are there to keep us safe on the road and one wrong decision can turn deadly,” he says.

“Ours was such a fun and happy life. I used to believe that accidents happened to other people … other people get injured … other people get killed … I never thought that it would happen to us but it did happen … and now my friends are dead,” he said.

“I am humbly requesting people to change their way of thinking so that they do not go through what my friends’ families and I am going through.”

Javed says he doesn’t have the courage to go on road trips.

“I’ve been told that Arti’s soul is still present where the accident occurred and this hurts a lot,” says Javed. “All of us pray daily to God to help her soul rest in peace.”

The couple’s parents are still living in Fiji. Javed migrated few years after the accident and he is operating his own business. He underwent counseling for two years that has helped him to move on in his life. However he still sees a psychologist atleast once a month to keep mentally fit.



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