About three and a half years back, when doctors said you cannot cycle again, Brigadier Narendra Singh Chaarag was shattered and disheartened. An Indian Army officer and as an avid cyclist, he was clueless about his future and if he would be confined to his bed for the rest of his life, after sustaining fractures in his body which included bladder injury affecting the pelvis, rupture of the small intestine and large intestine in a tragic accident.
However, defying all odds and challenges, the 55-year-old brigadier recently led a 3,600km cycling expedition covering different states from Kanyakumari to Delhi. He completed this incredible feat along with a 13-member contingent of NCC girl cadets.
The unfortunate day
Recalling the incident, Chaarag says, “It was August 1, 2020, and I was posted at Ranchi. As a routine, I used to cycle more than 30km every day. That day, I had started around 4.43am and had completed about 32km of ride and was in the outskirts of Ranchi town when a speeding mini truck hit me from behind and fled from the spot of the accident.”
Although he was wearing a helmet and did not suffer any head injuries, he shortly realised that his legs had broken. “For more than an hour, I was lying motionless on the road until some police officers came and rushed me to a nearby military hospital,” recalls Chaarag.
Multiple injuries and bladder trauma
The hit-and-run accident in Ranchi had left Chaarag with multiple injuries to his body. The damage was, in fact, serious. “Both my legs were completely fractured. Even all the bones in the pelvis were also damaged and broken. This also included rupture of the intestines and the urinary bladder,” shares Chaarag, as told by doctors.
He was informed that multiple surgeries had to be conducted on his pelvis and legs which were completely damaged in the horrific accident.
Road to recovery from bladder rupture
Seeing Chaarag’s initial health condition, the doctors were concerned if he would even survive for a day since he had sustained multiple organ injuries. However, he says, “The recovery started after two months from the accident. Within a few days, there was improvement in my health, and I slowly started to turn by lying on the bed. After doing a lot of exercises as instructed by a physiotherapist, I was finally in a state where I could sit on a wheelchair and move around.”
But the brigadier had the self-confidence that he would get up from the wheelchair and walk someday. “With this confidence, I slowly started walking using the crutches,” he says.
Tryst with cycling
Chaarag had been cycling for the past 12 years. However, his mental strength and determination led him to join some cycling groups in Allahabad and he trained himself further. He started cycling exactly one year after the accident.
“I was confident enough to cycle once again but one of the biggest challenges was that one bone in the pelvis which was broken used to hurt when I sat on the seat of the cycle. Riding for a longer time resulted in bleeding in the lower part of the groin area due to the broken bones in the pelvis,” he said.
Taking his passion for cycling a step further, Chaarag recently completed a long cycling expedition which commenced from Kanyakumari on December 8, 2023, and ended the ride in Delhi on January 23, 2024.
“The journey was challenging as I just suffered a major accident and was still recovering. However, it was an expedition that I had planned long back and leading the National Cadet Corps (NCC) expedition was quite inspiring,” said Brigadier Chaarag who is currently the commanding officer of the Baroda NCC Group Headquarters.
Apart from cycling, Chaarag also practices yoga and plays badminton. He follows a good sleep routine and healthy diet to keep himself fit.