100 bucks…That’s not a lot these days but 8 years ago, man that was some hard cash!
100 bucks…that’s what it took, imagining 10 crisp notes of Rs.10, adding up to an inflated ego, giving birth to a reckless and naive decision, leading to this story. A story of a lady, a lady who stared…
Its funny how when something bad happens, you trace back your actions slowly and methodically, revisiting those crucial junctures when you could have done things differently and arrived at an entirely different and maybe positive outcome. That being said, tracing back to this particular incident, I don’t find a lot of things that could been have done differently other than maybe, not be greedy for 100 measly bucks.
While the story itself has an interesting back-story where I establish my elaborate motives and reason, it all seems a bit pointless and inane. Because with all that content in the works, it boils down to a moment where in the middle of the night, I had to make a choice. A choice of reaching home in the middle of the night with 2 options in hand- Navigate my 250 cc monster of two wheeler either through a bustling highway in a city which is aptly called the city that never sleeps or take a scary obscure road through the jungle with not a soul in sight to help or rescue just in case fate was in a playful mood!
Standing on those crossroads, I had a brainwave that would make constipate for years to come- Using my ‘adept’ navigation skills & understanding of the fuel guzzling junk of bike that I possessed, a magic number of 100 Rs popped into my head. Calculating the traffic and kms to home with the my current average per litre would save me 100 bucks! 100 bucks to an adventure, 100 bucks to tell a story of my bravery the very next day! So began my journey, needless to say, I was so high on ambitions that i didn’t even realise when I left civilization and got deeper into the jungles. The ride was pleasant, darkness my friend and the headlight like a beacon of truth shattering everything evil…and then I saw her!
As the roads sloped down to a gradual turn, there sat female by a milestone facing towards the jungle, staring at a distance. She didn’t seems strange, just out of place, I mean a slim dark skinned lady in a green sari sitting by the road at around 12:30 was weird. What was even more weird was that in that blinding darkness sans street light, the beam of my headlight should have made her turn and look at me but it didn’t. So as i passed by her I decided to venture a look, but luck was not be, as her position and the light weren’t in my favour. As the bike passed her, I looked back in the rear-view mirror hoping to catch a glimpse of her in the red ambient tone of my tail light. And there she was!
Not on the milestone…Not in the ambient red light…But on my back-seat, in the pillion, riding with me, not looking at me but staring at a distance!
IT was her, maybe just for a fraction of a second, but her indeed. The immediate shock, numbed my response and the bike came to a grinding halt as I try to digest what had just happened. But the adrenaline kicked in soon enough and I started desperately trying to kick-start my bike. For some reason, looking around for help didn’t seem like a good option and the bike didn’t seem to be responding to my desperation so I decided to push it down a slope in bid to start the engine. Sweating profusely, I gathered some stamina and left over courage and heaved the bike down the slope, jumped on it and as it roared to life, the darkness around me dissipated with the beam of my headlight shining though. And there she was…again!
Right ahead of me, on another milestone, in the same position as before, staring at a distance and I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again, nor was I curious any more, so in came the twist on the accelerator and I sped ahead without so much as even turning my head in that direction. As i put a km between myself and that lady I almost let out a sigh of relief, when my bike gave up on me again. With the thought of ‘this cant be happening to me’, I frantically kick started the bike to life even as it was slowly running on the momentum from before and finally coming to a stand still. With darkness all around, some crickets providing a thrilling background score, a cell phone with no network and lady who seems to love milestones, I closed my eyes and did the only thing I could do…Kick Kick Kick…
After multiple kicks which seemed to take a million years the bike started…As the engine roared back to life, I hopped on the bike and made a decision! A decision that I may not be proud of today but it did serve me well back then! Whenever you think you are about to see a milestone, close your eyes and ride! There was no logic in it, just a will to live and not soil my shorts! 20 kms with at least 15 seconds of closing my eyes, brought me to the end of the jungle where the road connected to the highway…the bright, safe, well lit highway!
Just as I escaped the clutches of the jungle and the lady who stared into oblivion towards civilization, I decided to turn back look one last time at the creeping darkness and fear that I had left behind after having confronted so bravely! The feeling was incredible, and it would have been a 1000 times better if I hadn’t realised one small thing…Somewhere in between blaming god, saving 100 bucks and avoiding the lady, I took a U-turn…
I drove the wrong way, back to where I started!