A Palm Reader Predicted The Motorcycle Accident That Nearly Killed Me – 8 Years Before It Happened

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I’ve always heard that you see your whole life flash before your eyes the moment you're about to die. I didn’t. There were no warm childhood memories, no images of my family, no flashbacks to defining family moments. Instead, I was blinded by a quick flash of warm, white light, and time stood still. I was suspended in a moment of pure clarity, almost as if removed from my body, with an unprecedented level of focus and capacity to analyze the perilous situation I had gotten myself into.

As time slowed to a halt, there was a single image burned into my thoughts: the face of a man I had met just once eight years ago. I could see his weathered skin, wrinkled by time; his crooked teeth, stained by years of black tea consumption; and the menacing scar just below his left eye. I relived the moment he took my 19-year-old hand in his, carefully studied my palms, and definitively predicted my death at the age of 27 in a motorcycle accident.

I relived the moment he took my 19-year-old hand in his, carefully studied my palms, and definitively predicted my death at the age of 27 in a motorcycle accident.

Although it didn't feel like it, everything happened in a split second. I was returning from an early morning photo shoot in the outskirts of Pondicherry, India. Outside of the village, I rode past some uneven dirt roads. Rains from the previous few days had created large puddles my motorcycle struggled through, as water rose up to the engine, causing it to stall mid-puddle.

Still I persisted. I made my way back to the main road, heading back toward my base camp in Auroville for breakfast. As I shifted up the first three gears, something jumped onto the street directly in front of me. My thoughts immediately flew to children playing on the side of the road or a dog crossing the street. Instinctively, I slammed the shoddy breaks of my 160cc Honda Hero rental to avoid collision. The force launched me off my bike and directly into oncoming traffic.

On the other side of the road, an old vegetable delivery man was driving his motorcycle in the opposite direction, and I was destined to fall into his path. There was no time to prevent it; there was no time for him to swerve. I could smell the hot rubber of his screeching tires, the oil on his greasy chain, and the fumes coming out of his exhaust. I closed my eyes and braced myself for contact, fully expecting my face to be crushed on impact, but something unexpected happened instead — something that ended up saving my life.

Within the last two-tenths of a second or so, momentum carried me ever so slightly away from his front wheel. His motorcycle drove over my left shoulder and ran diagonally across my back, hitting my left ear, and narrowly missing my head, neck, and spine.

His motorcycle drove over my left shoulder and ran diagonally across my back, hitting my left ear, and narrowly missing my head, neck, and spine.

It was over in an instant. When I opened my eyes, the only thing I saw was the overcast sky directly above me. Was I dead? Was this the moment I transitioned into my next life? Thoroughly confused, I tried to force myself up. Instead of rising, I let out an animalistic yell. I could suddenly feel my insides crushed by his two wheels. The pain was excruciating, but it assured me I was alive — very much so. I was in an alternate state: my arms full of blood as adrenaline rushed through my entire body.

The local villagers scrambled to attend to the old vegetable man who had ended up driving into a ditch unscathed. They didn't crowd around me though. It’s not like I had just gotten run over by a motorcycle or anything... Eventually, one of the men did come over, but only to warn me that I should leave quickly if I wanted to avoid further trouble. The village took care of their own, and my safety would be in jeopardy if I stayed.

The bag I carried that prevented more damage to my back

Still in shock, covered in my own blood, I struggled to gather my belongings. I picked up my camera bag, hobbled to my fuming motorcycle, and sped my way back to Auroville.

None of it had hit me yet, and I couldn't fully comprehend the gravity of what had happened. My body was operating as if on auto-pilot. Looking back, I could have easily ended up in ditch myself at high speeds, as I struggled to make my way to my nearby friends' house for help. As I tried to make sense of this surreal morning, of everything that happened, all my focus was on the man who predicted this moment and that eerie look he had on his face.

It was 2008 when my aunt invited over the palm reader; I was on summer holiday in Mumbai, India before heading into my junior year of college in Paris, France. It wasn't all that out of the ordinary to do. My family is originally from India, and I have been exposed to spiritual practices from a very young age. Much of my family strongly believes the spirit world, palmistry, and astrology all have very real effects on our lives. My great grandfather was even a priest for the spirit world.

My aunt, in particular, was curious about where the next few years would lead me — whether I would land a great job out of school or, more importantly, whether (and when) I would get married, which is a major topic of interest in Indian families.

My mother and brother visiting me in the hospital

When he arrived, I agreed to the palm reading session for pure entertainment, and I volunteered very little information to the man. I was skeptical of his honesty — and of palmistry in general. He opened with a few stereotypical and obvious statements that would apply to most 19-year-old men: Don’t drive too fast, be careful with alcohol, study hard, etc… He told me the girl I was dating at the time would not become my wife, which wasn't exactly a shocking revelation for me.

At the start, he was concise and quick, offering one-off sentences and trite pieces of advice. But soon after, he found his stride and started fleshing out his predictions with more details.

At the start, he was concise and quick, offering one-off sentences and trite pieces of advice. But soon after, he found his stride and started fleshing out his predictions with more details.

Some of what he offered was promising and some worrying (like his prediction of my death). But when he told me I would be famous in the media world for sports achievements with a trophy coming my way, I was convinced the guy was a complete hoax. I left the experience curious, but generally unimpressed.

Strangely enough, in the coming years, certain predictions materialized in extremely detailed ways. I was offered the role of sports editor for my university newspaper. My athletic achievements fit on a Post-it note but my knowledge and passion for sports motivated me to work hard at the task. I was awarded the “best section editor” at the student media annual reception. I remembered the palm reader then and was impressed at how specific he was in predicting that particular event of my life. There were other small things as well. The girlfriend? Sure enough that ended a few months later.

View from a roof in Paris, where I attended university

Perhaps those predictions in themselves weren't enough to change my life, but they were enough to give me pause. What else could come to fruition? My thoughts rushed back to that day, and I remembered the man had strongly advised me to be careful while driving, particularly two-wheelers, as he saw darkness surrounding my 27th year.

The man had strongly advised me to be careful while driving, particularly two-wheelers, as he saw darkness surrounding my 27th year.

Although I hadn't been very attentive toward the beginning of our session, I remember his shift in facial expression when he spoke of this darkness clearly. He didn't interpret the event outright, but he saw two possible outcomes: my death, or my narrowly avoiding death and experiencing a life-changing event. His demeanor tightened and his eyes sharpened as he spoke those words. That prediction stayed with me, buried somewhere deep, for the next eight years. And it wasn't the only warning I received either.

My mother visiting me in the hospital

My very intuitive mother told me about the particular path I was headed down just days before the accident. She was worried about me as she had consistently woken up from the same vivid, recurring dream of a plane crash the entire month I was traveling. A few years later, she would reveal she called because she could see nothing but a sea of darkness in my future.

[My mother] was worried about me as she had consistently woken up from the same vivid, recurring dream of a plane crash the entire month I was traveling.

Yet there I was: 27 and on a motorcycle. So why did I ignore the signs? As much as I wanted to avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy, I had trouble projecting myself beyond my 27th year in my mind; it was as if my mental calendar had turned to pure black after the first three months of 2016.

And so I set out that early morning of January 26, clueless to the fact that the palmist's prediction would manifest itself. Clueless that the events that day would force me to reevaluate and change my life.

I was rushed to the hospital as soon as I reached my friends' house, and I spent a week in the intensive care unit. The doctors were astounded that the motorcycle missed my spine by a few centimeters, narrowly avoiding partial or full paralysis. I had to spend the month recovering from a ruptured right kidney in Pondicherry before I was repatriated to France.

The month-long stay at the hospital initiated a long period of self-reflection, and, after the initial shock and realization, I felt anger. I wondered why this was happening to me. Had I deserved it? Was this a cosmic punishment? Did I really deserve to survive the crash? I doubted myself; I wondered if I’d ever get back to my nomadic lifestyle. Had I missed my chance to be a travel photographer? I questioned just about every relationship I had.

The doctors were astounded that the motorcycle missed my spine by a few centimeters, narrowly avoiding partial or full paralysis.

Many of my friends couldn't comprehend the gravity of my situation — whether it was because of their own stressful lives or because of the falsely heightened sense of proximity social media gives us, I'm not sure. I was disappointed in many of those so-called friends, but was also happy to see certain people emerge after losing touch for many years.

I was bedridden, couldn’t walk much, and depended on others for daily tasks. I took this in stride and patiently rebuilt myself. I understood how fortunate I was to have my mother and brother at my side, along with a close group of friends and family sending their love. As I was moved from the ICU to my hospital room, it became clearer to me how lucky I was to even be alive. The anger was still present, but hope and progress became more apparent.

The only way I found I could express myself and share the emotions of being confined to a bed as the world continued to go on, ironically but unsurprisingly, was to take photos of the entire experience.

The only way I found I could express myself and share the emotions of being confined to a bed as the world continued to go on, ironically but unsurprisingly, was to take photos of the entire experience.

I shot images of my Indian hospital experience on my iPhone to share this defining and earth-shattering period of my life with family and friends in a series entitled “Hospital Chronicles.”

My very near-death experience crystallized the idea that my main purpose in life is to create a visual narrative to share my stories with as many people as possible. It is, quite frankly, the only thing I truly enjoy doing every single day.

My accident highlighted one concept to me above all: We, as humans, are fragile; we are not immortal, and this earth will continue spinning long after we are gone.

I have become increasingly spiritual and more in tune with my religious side over the past eight years. I will always cherish that palm reading experience as an open door into the spiritual world.

A year and a half after the accident, I enjoy photography more than ever before. The experience not only changed my thoughts on how intuitive humans can be, but it also confirmed my purpose in this lifetime.

As I get even more in touch with my spiritual side, I have a clearer vision of what photography I want to share with the world. I may not have enjoyed the commercial success I've been longing for yet, but I have a renewed appreciation for the little things; the minute details; those transient, everyday moments that bring beauty to life.

Sure, the rest of the palm reader's words still echo in my head: “If you survive this darkness that looms over your 27th year, the next troubles will come at the age of 52." But, as I've got a few years left to prepare, we can save that prediction for another time.

As for now, I’m enjoying a reinvigorated sense of observation through this fresh source of inspiration to capture images and share my vision of the world with others. Stay tuned.

Moonsplaining is a content package dedicated to the power of feminine spirituality. Instead of blaming the universe for your problems, learn how to harness its ebbs and flows for your own good. Here's how to make the universe work for you, not against you.