Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Part II

A quick check on Google Maps told them that the shortest route to Leh would take them almost four days if they keep up good timing. They would have to pass through Andhra Pradesh via Hyderabad on the NH9 and drive towards Lucknow on the NH7. From there the journey was pretty much straight-forward via New Delhi to their ultimate destination – the amazing mountainous landscape of Leh Ladakh. Among the four of them, Amit was from Delhi and thus knew Hindi very well. Shyam too had attended the basic Prathmik & Madhyama classes to impress a Punjabi girl back in college and knew a little bit of Hindi, at least enough to ask for directions in case they were lost. Sridhar and Vijay on the other hand were clueless when it came to any language other than Tamil or English.

            They set off towards Andhra on Saturday morning. Sridhar was sitting pillion with Shyam in Shyam’s Pulsar, while Vijay was in his Unicorn and Amit in his own Pulsar. The trip to Andhra Pradesh was around 500 kms. They planned to reach there in 7 hours, i.e., by Saturday evening and camp at Hyderabad for the night. They congratulated themselves for the perfect plan on their first day. But after a few stops for food, fuel, nature’s calls and various “take-diversions”, they could only cross Andhra around 10.00 PM on Saturday night. After a quick group discussion, they decided to proceed towards Hyderabad before stopping for the night.

 It was Sridhar’s duty to manage their navigation as he wasn't driving. As they drove through the night, they reached a fork on the road. Sridhar quickly checked his phone for directions. According to the map, they were supposed to head straight; there was no mention of this fork on the map. It seemed like they were the only ones in and around that area, they couldn’t find a single human soul who might give them some direction. Cursing Google Maps loudly, they stopped to think of a solution. They would have crossed the last village about an hour ago which would be more than 30 kms back. Vijay suggested that they should turn and go back to the village for the night. But Shyam insisted that they had come a long way ahead and couldn’t waste their time or fuel by going back. After a few minutes of discussion, the group proceeded towards the road on their right which seemed slightly wider than the one on their left.

Sridhar started to worry a little as the road they had taken became narrower with every turn and street lights became non-existent. Although he was sure that geographically the direction they had taken would lead them to Hyderabad, he was clueless as to how safe these roads were or which part of Hyderabad they would emerge out of. It was already nearing midnight and there was not a single human being in sight. The only light visible was emitted from their bikes’ headlamps.

Finally after what seemed like ages, Amit shouted, “Guys, look over there”. They could see two small specs of light in the distance. The lights weren't from any vehicles in the opposite direction or neither were they from the street lamps. Sridhar immediately got cautious. He said to Shyam, “Wait, Shyam.  I don’t think we should go any closer”. But excited from seeing the lights, Vijay had already gotten ahead of them and was speeding towards the source of the light. Amit, Shyam and Sridhar had no other choice but to follow.

As they drew closer, they realized that the lights came from powerful torch lights held by a couple of bulky looking men with thick mustaches. The men quickly reached the middle of the road and blocked the road ahead of them. Amit started panicking and said, “Guys, turn, let’s go back. I’m scared”. He had just voiced the other’s thoughts out loud. They were just 100 yards from the men when they stopped their bikes and tried turning back only to find themselves facing a big iron gate which had certainly not been there before.

To be continued…

Monday, May 5, 2014

My first attempt at a (not-so) short story!

            Sridhar was on top of the world. He literally was, as he was standing on top of one of the highest mountain peaks in Tibet. There was snow everywhere, wind was blowing hard on his face and he could feel the chilling numbness beneath all the layers of the clothing that he had on. There was not a single soul nearby; in fact, he did not have anyone in the outside world as well. He had left them all behind when he had run away from his house two years back. He did have three dear friends whom he had missed very much. He wondered if they still thought about him anymore. But he had not had any other option. He had run away from all the madness at his home. Being the only son of a real-estate tycoon, he knew he did not have to work for a living all his life. He just had to take over his father’s business which he did not think very highly of. He did not want that life; he was suffocated by the frivolity of it. He knew deep down that he was born to do something different, something adventurous. That is when he had set off on his own.

            As Sridhar stood there contemplating all this, he heard it. He froze on the spot. It couldn’t be, not her and definitely not here. He heard her voice again, a bit louder this time, calling out his name. Sridhar was confused, he wasn’t supposed to hear her voice here, not just her voice but any voice for that matter would have been impossible to hear over the sound of the roaring wind. Just then, smack! Something hit him hard on this back and Sridhar awoke with a start.

            His mother was standing beside his bed looking furious at him. At once she started yelling, “Even the dogs on the next street would’ve heard me, somberi kazhudhai”. Being called a lazy donkey was nothing new to Sridhar. But he was disappointed all the same. His glorious moment on top of the mountain was not real. He had overslept again and he was going to be late for his office yet again. Crap, he had to beg his father to drop him off and listen to his lecture all the way. His father, being a Government College Professor loved to give lectures to anyone who would listen. Sridhar often thought that his father’s only dream would have to be to give a lecture to a packed hall instead of empty desks and chairs.

            Sridhar was a Software Engineer and was working for one of the many IT companies in Chennai. He was mostly reserved and did not like socializing at all because he sucked at it. He had always been a moderate student at school and had somehow managed to get into a decent Engineering college. Right from his childhood he had been best friends with three guys, who couldn’t have been more different than one another. One was Amit (the geek), then there was Shyam (the flirt), and the third one was Vijay (the most normal among the four). They called themselves the “Fantastic Four”, just like every other four-member group in the world. Together they were born to rule the world, or so they thought. But after fourteen years of friendship, two of them – Sridhar and Amit, ended up in IT, Shyam was in Manufacture & Logistics and Vijay was in Accounting. Obviously, they all hated their jobs, and ergo their lives.

            It happened on a Friday, the last working day of the month. Failing to notice that his boss was in a lousy mood, Shyam pitched his brilliant business idea to his boss and got himself fired. That evening, the four of them gathered for drinks at Vijay’s place where his parents were out of town for the weekend. After several rounds of alcohol and swear words which were first aimed at Shyam’s boss and gradually extended to every damn thing in the world, Sridhar told his friends about this dream.

            That was the push they had all been waiting for. They quickly calculated their assets. Being the beginning of the month, they all had their salaries credited and intact in their bank accounts. Together they had three bikes, two Pulsars and one Unicorn. Sridhar only had his father’s Activa which was omitted from the plan unanimously. They all had their smart phones with Google Maps. As per plan they set off for their week-long journey the next morning, after of course calling in sick with a “Madras-eye”, “Viral fever” and “Ulcer complaint” to accomplish every biker’s dream in India – Leh Ladakh. Little did they know that this was the journey that would change their lives forever.

To Be Continued...

There is still time!

My Objectives : 2011 1. Change Job 2. Save 60% of Monthly income 3. Go on a Euro trip , if not World Tour 4. Write a full length novel...