Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Dark Stormy Night...

It was a dark, stormy night. One little Maruti 800 was battling the fierce winds and the lashing rains and was going down slowly on the deserted road. The trees swayed to and fro and threatened to fall down any time. The driver Vishwanathan (a.k.a Vish), a young Floor Manager at a call center, was suitably frightened. "I wish I had stayed in the office", he said to himself. But now it was too late to go back.

So he drove on.

All this while, the fierce wind kept blowing as if it would never stop and would tear the entire surface of the earth. Suddenly, though it did not seem possible, the downpour became heavier. The windshield wipers were rendered useless and absolutely nothing was visible. Vish had no choice but to park the card at the side of the road and wait for the storm to pass. He sat inside and prayed hard. The storm had turned Vish from an agnostic to a believer.

The wind howled like a trapped wild animal and the lightning threatened to reveal something dreadful. Vish put his head on his windshield and tried to block scary thoughts from capturing his imagination. He stayed like this for a few minutes when all of a sudden there was a knock on the driver's window. Vish was startled out of his escapist reverie and he turned to face whoever it was who was knocking on the window at this ungodly hour.

The face on the window was looking at him eagerly and gestered him to roll down the window. Guided by an unheard voice in his soul, Vish obediently did so. The stange man on the window asked in a comforting voice, "Sahabji, what are you doing here? This is not a very safe place to park yourself, especially in this weather. Last week, a man was looted of his car and other valuable possessions. Worse still, they left him to wander in the jungle that looms on both the sides of the road. By the time he was found, he had gone half mad."

Scared, Vish asked, "Where did you come from?".

"I was driving by when I saw your car parked here.", the man replied pointing towards the road right ahead of Vish's car.

That is when Vish noticed the huge cargo truck parked right ahead. "How did this huge truck get here without being heard?" Vish thought. "May be the storm drowned the noise."

"I am unable to drive. It's raining too heavily.", he replied.

"Where are you going? May be my truck can help tow your car." inquired the truck driver.

Even though Vish was still skeptical, he decided to take a chance. The truck driver looked pleasant enough. "I stay at Nehru Colony around 15 kms straight down this road."

"That's perfect. Let me tie your car to my truck and we will soon be on our way." The truck driver replied and went to fetch the rope from his truck.

This seemed too good to be true. Soon Vish's car was tied to the truck with a sturdy rope and they were on their way. In the meanwhile, the storm still refused to abate. The wind howled, the trees swayed, and the rain still lashed across the windshield.

And they drove on.

It is said that staying idle is the best way to go crazy. And that is what happened with Vish. As soon as his car started moving, with his mind off the worry of reaching home, the very obvious question occured to him, "Why is the truck driver still driving at this hour?". Nervously, Vish squinted out of the window to confirm that they were headed in the right direction. That is when he saw it.

They had just crossed huge Mall that indiacted the entry to his colony. Vish Panicked. He blew the horn madly to stop the truck driver. However, the truck didn't stop. It went on. Vish blew the horn again. But to no avail. Just when he thought of opening the doors and jumping out of the car, the truck stopped at a crossroad. The truck driver got out and walked towards the car. Vish froze in his seat. The truck driver knocked at his window. Vish rolled down the window and shouted, "Are you deaf? I have been blowing the horn for the past 10 minutes and you just wouldn't listen. Where were you trying to take me. We left my colony behind."

The truck driver looked hurt and said, "Sahabji, I am deaf. I could only understand what you said till now by reading your lips. I did not hear the horn. Even now I stopped only because I thought I will tell you that I will be taking a left turn from here. You should have used the dipper."

Moral of the story: "USE DIPPER AT NIGHT".

[The story was created in our car pool between Garima, Vaishali, and Me with all of us adding one line in turn :)]

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ramblings at midnight

A wild creature shrieks close by, and it startles me out of my sleep. When did I doze off? I shouldn't have. With danger at every step, falling asleep is unforgivable. But I am tired and my feet hurt. I know I need to keep walking. What do I seek? What am I so restless about? The warmth of the cradle that I so often dream of fills my heart and I suddenly have no more doubts. I must keep walking till I arrive. Till that mysterious voice whispers calmly in my ears, "My child, you don't need to run anymore. You don't need to seek. You will be well taken care of. Just close your eyes and relax. Sleep, if you must. When you wake up, you will still be safe." But that voice, that cradle is not yet near. Why do I feel that it is going farther away? It's getting cold around here.

I must keep walking.

Huge black trees surround me. The forest is so dense that I cannot see the sky. I fight my way through the tall grass. I cannot see what lies ahead or, for that matter, what was left behind. But those eyes seem to guide me. They are gigantic and full of love. They look down upon me from the tall trees. Sometimes i see them amongst the grass ahead, sometimes i step on them. But they never seem to blink, nor do they let me out of their sight. Now I see them on the bark of the broadest tree. I stand on tip-toes and try to touch the dark lashes. They wink at me and flicker out. Scared that I have lost them, I frantically look around and there they are, quite far, on another tree. I run to reach them, but these phantom eyes play hide and seek. I run around, stumble, and fall. I can not hold it back anymore. These words come rushing out, drop out of my eyes, and wet the earth below. "Why do you keep making me walk to you? Why do you keep going away? Why do you test me every time?"

I wipe my eyes and stand up again. I look around. The phantom eyes, the warm cradle and the calm voice, all seem distant. I run after them, but they get away faster. The kind eyes furrow, the voice is no longer calm, and the cradle turns colder. Slowly they fade out and the jungle is devoid of its serenity. For a while I keep running with a sacred hope that i will see them again. But gradually I slow down until I stop altogether. For a while, I look out to see if they are coming back. Eventually, I turn around and walk away.