The Mcleo Accident

 

It was a couple of weeks before final semester’s final exams. Three classmates and good friends were looking for one more person to partner with on a two motor bikes’ ride to Dharamshala and Mcleodganj.  They asked me and I had to say yes, there wasn’t even thinking twice. It was a time when most of the architecture students had already taken off, renting most of the bikes from the only bike renting place in the town. We got the most dilapidated bikes. We were really adamant on going

“We are out of the campus now, we have to go no matter what”

remarked a friend, rather adamantly.

So we were off to Dharamshala on our rickety, really vulnerable bikes. The two riders had helmets, one friend was a Sikh, so he had his turban, only I was without protection (and I never leave wearing a helmet). We reached Dharamshala but went straight to Mcleodganj which is 6kms uphill from there. It’s a beautiful beautiful place. Since we only had one day and had to come back too, we visited the monastery (I don’t remember its name) and ate momos and started back.

It was dark now, I had ridden for an hour and was back as a pillion rider. My friend Jitender was particularly not conscious that he was driving very rash. I did reproof him jokingly but he was in his own peace with the speed. We stopped for the exchange of pillion riders, since our bums wanted a change of seat shapes. Ravinder (the Sikh friend) went to sit back with Jitender, and I with Sandeep.

Jitender and Ravi were ahead of us by 300-400 m. 5 mins later, a car was taking a U turn at perhaps 4 – 5 kmph. Since Jitender and Ravi were going around 60-70 kmph, Jitender naturally assumed that since the car was turning around slowly, it would wait for them to pass. It didn’t. It was too late when Jitender realised this and they smacked right into the right side of car and flew over the car’s bonnet to reach the ground in a frightening fashion. Sandy and I threw our bike aside and ran for them. Jitender had a few minor bruises to his name, Ravi had his turban save him but it had almost completely untangled from its formation. Both of ’em were safe. Sandeep was angry and went over the car’s driver to give him some verbal blows when a guy from the crowd, which had gathered to help us / watch us, took him by the arm and advised him not to engage with him.

He brought all of us aside into his mechanics shop on the roadside and told us that the guy in the car was drunk, and that he was from a politically strong family, and that his house was just at the opposite side of the road where accident happened, pointing towards the house that we could see in front of us, a big bungalow in a seemingly non existent, small village.

Our bike was significantly broken, in no condition to be ridden. The guy who had advised up against a brawl seemed decent enough to be asked for help. So we did. Amidst what had happened, we had failed to notice that he was a mechanic. When we realised, we took an insignificant and silent sigh of relief. Sandeep as jugaadi as always asked him if he could fix it for us and in minimum price since we didn’t have much money. He assented, but we were still skeptical. Having no other option available, we gave him our bike, checked into a Dharamshala (not to be confused with the place by the same name, from which we were returning). Dharamshala, is a big motel but of the villages, a big building with a large verandah and rooms which have no beds but jute mats.

The Dharamshala that we found had ₹ 10 / room / night charges. It was run by a very old couple, probably both in their 80s. They made us food, we ate to our fullest capacity, thanked them for it and resigned to our room. As soon as everybody had settled, everybody looked at each other baffled about a possibility. Then when we knew without even speaking out loud what everyone was thinking, everybody turned their eyes to meet mine. Having no possible answers to this quizzical question, we laid down on our mats and tried to sleep.

Ravi and I had switched places just 5 minutes before the accident. The perturbing question of the possibility of what might have happened, had we not, played with our minds all night, but we didn’t really talk about it. It was sort of a revelatory moment for all of us. This question didn’t have an answer, there were too many variables to look for, to make a prediction of an event that didn’t happen: from body weight, wind speeds, casual bikers talking to each other to decide upon a place to drink chai (tea), to the biggest of all: uncertainty, chance.

Next morning we had our bike fixed as much as was possible in one night. We thanked the mechanic, gave him his bucks and headed back to college silently. When we reached the bike renting place, he immediately recognised that we had had an accident. He laughed about it, and let us go without any additional charges.

I don’t know about the others, but that unanswered question has changed something in me. It has made me more accepting and resilient of anything and anybody.

themcleoaccident.jpg
From left to right: Me, Ravi, Jitender, Sandeep

Prompt: Descend

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Campus Diaries : How I came about writing

In fits and starts, memories are rushing down the past into this moment, like they were wary of the time they live in, time travelling into the time of our existence : this moment. It is usually not a good practice to develop what one wants to convey to the readers, while writing, but I’ll effort in on it to the best of my capabilities to make an exception.

The first thing that I did after coming to my college, four years back, was touch the basketball ring’s rim. And hence started my seemingly endless journey in the  awe inspiring  Dhauladhar mountains. Funny story I didn’t have heck of an idea which branch I wanted to choose. I asked my father to close his eyes and randomly fill the preference order in the online counselling. Hence, I came to be (soon to be) known as an Electronics and Communication ‘graduate’ . It’s my final year and it’s a pain instilled on a four level scaffold when somebody reminds me of the exams that are scheduled from after day after tomorrow. First level : ‘Exams are here!’ second level : ‘Second last semester is coming to an end!’, third level : ‘Final year is coming to an end!’, and the fourth : ‘wow! what after?’

In these four years, I was hyped as ‘The Man who can write’, which is and was far from the truth. But unknowingly and inadvertently, I really did what they thought I did. These four years I excelled and improved myself in the following things : Basketball, writing, poetry, reading, making and maintaining new friends, and well obviously maintaining the old ones. ‘Maintaining’ is a very mechanical term as if people were objects and not living things. Pardon my lack of lexicon.

In conversation with a new friend, a faculty member, I confined my deepest fear. The fear that I had not utilized the time and resources these four years of college gave, in construction of something that would become my expertise. I almost stopped studying, because the faculty environment was an impostor. I pared everything I thought not worthy of putting my time and effort in, and started reading and writing. And while doing so I found immense freedom. She made me realize that had it not have been for leaving the things that I thought I shouldn’t have, I would not have found what I did!

I was introduced to poetry on an inundating pretext of exuding impression. In 9th grade, my English teacher(with whom I was smitten with) gave all of us a poetry assignment. I spent day’s whole night to come up with three stanzas. On being asked if I had used a dictionary, I denied to sustain my mission : to impress her with my verbal prowess. She knew nonetheless, I could see it in her squinting and jocosely incredulous eyes. I still remember rummaging through the old stuff in the attic after years of having written it, in a red colored register. I had lost it, I had to let go of my first poem.  And then when the void of academics and heavy gamuts of free time periods started rolling in front of me, I started reading other people’s poems and works. And in my internship period in Mumbai, in the dazzling drizzles in IIT B, I started writing insofar that I lost the count of hours and days, the rains aiding this process. I decided that I didn’t want to go back and get done with my college. But this was just a flick of a candle, I knew that it could be foolish. I played safe, returned and continued with my streaks of writing and editing and re editing and rewriting and submitting to the online poetry magazines. Til now ? Rejections.

It’s a matter of literary fiction, what all I’m telling you. It needs an autobiographical literary fiction to tell you all that I want to. But right now, with an interrobang in my head, I would have to limit the words that are willing to ooze out effortlessly.

Writing is difficult not because of the structure and grammatical and functional correctness that one can’t do without, but because languages are words! Preposterous? Let me paraphrase.

  1. Thoughts are only approximately converted into spoken words. We are met with numerous situations in daily life where we find it abstruse to convert exactly what is inside our heads into words in conversations.
  2. And the secondary instinct of story telling (after food and the evolutionary desire to reproduce), is to speak about things and not write about it.

Ever had a meditative moment in your life? sure you have! let me give you an example. You are shit angry on somebody, irked, and you have blurted out everything you could on him/her. And the next few moments you are just staring, but not really. You aren’t thinking anything, for you have gone totally hollow and empty. Words? Words, I guess have the same urge. To achieve silence. I wrote about it with a wooden quill (it is called?) I was gifted by my junior on my birthday :

And in between swaying with my continuous urges to read and write stuff, intermittently guarded by the writer’s blocks, I found a new passion to look up to. To make people write ! Be it for any reason, or no reason at all. It’s still testing my enticing for good skills, and I’m as active as the space itself. To provide a platform for my campus junta to write on and upon, I started SRIJAN . It’s still in it’s infant stages, but it’s working!

I guess it’s enough for now 😀

Shivasthe Panthanaha (May your ways be auspicious)