She saved me! Again…

A real fiction, when someone or something saved me from a mishap… Or that way it seemed.

… …

After a tiresome day, I was going back to my home riding my bike in solitude.

It was a winter night, and the frigidity in the air was making me a little nervous. Winter chills are not just about the cold, but it also about hidden mysteries. I was unaware that one such mystery was already around me.

The iciness had also made my bike a little jolty. It seemed to resist against my command of acceleration and defy my want for speed. The engine seemed to give up against the cold resistance and then suddenly used to pump up its efforts to fight. It moved, almost dragged, as if it carried a lot of weight.

I loved to ride my bike alone, especially at night. I feel that the road sings at night. There aren’t much vehicles to disturb it. Silence is the most melodious song, it seems.

The highway was lifeless and I had to go a long way, half an hour more. So, I started to listen to the music that nature makes itself. Tires, while running naked upon the rough-textured, scurfy road, produced a melodious friction which in turn tuning in with the jumpers made a rumble-like traditional beats. And the air, making its way through and around my helmet, played flute-like soothing tunes inside my ears. The keychain was holding on to the key pierced in to my bike, but danced to the tune of this music, while making music on its own, as if it was dancing with anklets having little bells attached to it.

So, I started to sing along the sounds those winds were making. It is hardly audible on the bike when you sing, but that’s the beauty of it. We can actually sing without hearing what we are singing or shouting for that sake.

The usual city roads slowly disappeared and the surroundings were stripped of buildings and other man-made structures. Trees started to run along the road and the streetlights died. The cold air got converted into mists and the gelidity was almost intolerable. And the smell in the air turned addictive.

The darkness seemed to be following me, running along with me. The music that the nature was making turned its genre to a more sensual and serious form.

I suddenly felt a warm sensation behind my ear, as if a warm breath. Instincts made me turn and see, but it was obvious— there was nothing behind me. This long tiring cold ride was giving out such false sensations to me, I consoled myself.

Further down the road, I felt that sudden warm air behind my neck again. And then again. And again. It continued in a pattern, and would repeat every seven-eight breaths of my own.

It wasn’t normal. I had looked behind several times and was constantly looking out for something, a pest or an insect or a thing stuck on my neck maybe. But my hands returned all empty, everytime.

I started ignoring it. At least, I wanted to. Probably man had messed up the environment so bad that it changed every few meters, I thought.

Apart from that, my bike’s dragging ride was annoying me. Was it just the chill in the engine or the windage, I wasn’t sure.

The cold air dropped and the road stopped singing. There was no sound at all on the way. No windage, no buzzing sound and no resistance blowing my hair, nothing. As if I had walked right into a vacuum!

I had never felt such a sensation ever. It was almost horrific. It felt as if I was the only living person in that vicinity.

Suddenly, I saw a pothole in my way, I shifted my weight and expected my bike to move around it. But another weight shift happened and I went right through the pothole. The bump gave a painful ache in my back. I would usually swear in such situations. But this the other weight shift had scared me. It wasn’t me that was for sure. But who it was?

I was eagerly waiting for the familiar city roads, which were still 15 minutes away. I had lowered the speed due to past few weird occurences.

My bike ride wasn’t pleasant anymore. I was constantly looking for something— infront of me, around me, behind me… The drag in the bike was noticeable. And the weird fall in the windage – this all was making me uncomfortable, if not dreadfully scared.

A sudden rustle ahead of me would shake me up all to my pants and I would look around in the dark trees, wondering what terrorising creature might be preying for me there.

There was a weird smell in the air, and it wasn’t of dew filled grass or soil. Although, the shiver was probably more relatable to the cold, my mind mixed it up with pall and panic. My cautious (read terrified) self was almost at the brink of losing self-control and crying out loud.

A warm hand moved around my waist and grabbed me tightly. It was pulling me back from my abdomen area and I instantly applied brakes. My bike came to a stop, almost skidding and the back wheel lifted up for a second before falling back with a bang.

As soon as I stopped, the sensation went away and everything was normal again. But I wasn’t normal at all now. My eyes were wide open and I was unable to move at all. Just a few seconds, and my expression turned from being beaming to dreaded, more of being dead.

Nervously, I moved my shivering hand towards the rearview mirror. I wanted to see behind my back, but turning it myself didn’t seem to be a good option to my guts.

Hesitant at even moving the mirror, I gradually saw through it. From the rearview, I saw the empty road behind me. Gathering a little more courage, I moved the mirror and the area around my vicinity came into view. A little further, and the fabric of my shirt was just visible. With a deep breath, I moved it a little further and there… There it was, my back and nothing else. Nothing as I had expected. Empty backseat.

*THUD*

A loud noise came ahead of me. I turned and saw that a tree had just uprooted a few meters ahead of me. It had fallen on the road and its branches had covered almost whole part of the road. Its big trunk was covering the left lane, the lane which I was on. Had it been that I was driving, the tree would’ve fallen right on me.

I wasn’t sure whether to thank God for saving me from this near-hit, or whether to continue feeling this frisson as somewhere I felt that it wasn’t God who saved me.

I got off my bike, moved around it and after a few checks and calls, I finally felt relaxed. I could move the last few branches of the tree who gave out enough space for my bike to go through the right lane.

I jump-started my bike, as I was willing to just rush away from that scene. After crossing the tree, the engine again gave up and stopped in the middle of the road. I tried starting it several times, but it just wouldn’t start.

I got tired of kicking and so I took a while to regain my breath. I turned and saw that mischanced tree, and imagined what would have happen, if I had not felt that weird sensation which made me stop my bike.

In my mind, I felt that I should thank that sensation too, apart from being thankful to just God. Mentally, I thanked that entity or whatever it was for saving me from that hazard.

As soon as I did that, I felt the weight shift on my bike, and suddenly, the bike was much lighter than before. The weight shift felt as if someone just got down from my bike… But how is that even possible!

My mind was getting dizzy with these events and I wanted to get to bed as soon as it was possible. So I started the bike (which started without any problem now), and drove as fast as I could (the lag in the engine was gone too). When I got home, all the events kept flashing in my mind, and I couldn’t sleep for the whole night…

I can still remember that warm sensation around my stomach and that weight shift on my bike. Was it her, who had saved me the previous time? Did she just save me, again?

… …

Link to previous experience:

She saved me!

The Unusual Driver

A lady returning from office, late at night on a desolated street, trying to find a cab but finds goons instead. Read on to find out how she manages to run away.
… …

The telephone rang after ages and its ring seemed extra loud, as if it was screaming for proving its existence.

Riya got surprised on hearing that unfamiliar sound. The call was from her home, they were tired of trying to reach her on her ever-silent cellphone.

It was half-past twelve, mid-night. By this time, the helper staff would have left the building and security personnel would have slept in their cabins. And Riya knew about this. She forgot to look at the clock in making the presentation more appealing. After all, it was her first big prospective order from a reputed client and she had to give her best.

She left the building after closing her office, rather reluctantly. She never liked to lock this building as she had grown a special attachment to this place. It was from here that she had started her own business, that was all hers – no dependence on anyone. But her business was growing and so was the need for a bigger office.

It was a business street and was covered with offices all the way to several intersections ahead. So, at night it seemed deserted and a little scary to people not familiar with this road.

Riya wasn’t afraid of this road, the darkness. She had walked on this street for all her life. She took the second exit from the first crossway. It was very easy to find a cab on that street, had it been a normal office leaving time. At this time, the street looked more deserted than the desert.

She went on walking while trying different apps to find a cab. But she couldn’t find anyone operating in that area at that time. And she could call for cab only if the cab is operating in the nearby vicinity. Technology has its limitations after-all.

She was desperately trying to get some service online when a gang of vagabonds appeared out of nowhere on the next carrefour. It seemed through their behavior that they were probably drunk. And it still wasn’t very safe for a lone girl pass by a group of men in this country.

She was wondering what to do, whether to take another road or to walk through that situation strongly, thinking positive or to walk while calling someone or pretending to do so… when a car horn startled her.

At once, her mind started shooting different thoughts – whether it’s another mob of trash people who have come to kidnap her or whether it’s just another patrol van, which will be more grievous for anyone at night as they will hypothesize a filmy situation of crime and adultery and will demand proof for one’s righteousness without having evidence of any offense.

When she turned she was happy to see the yellow colored number plate on the car. Finally, a cab had arrived on that forsaken street.

The cab stopped ahead of her and the driver looked directly at her without saying anything. She looked at him, saw the green light saying ‘Available’, was about to hop in the car, when thoughts started pouring in her mind again. Riya found it hard even to trust the cabbie.

The cab blew a squeaky horn that got her attention. She stopped again, and considered taking the cab. She saw those drunk strangers up ahead the crossway and found somehow more safer to go with a single stranger instead of a bunch of ’em.

She sat inside the cab and told him her destination. The cab driver started driving without a word. He didn’t even look back at her. However, Riya was constantly looking directly at him and then at the navigation in her cellphone. She kept an eye out for any wrong turn the cab might take.

He wore a normal sweatshirt and rugged pants with a not-matching cabbie hat. His dashboard was unacceptably clean for a taxi. And there was a small family picture pasted on the only empty space on the dashboard. The backdrop looked ancient, and the driver was weirdly young comparing his picture and his current face, Riya thought. The cab had a distinguishing smell, as if the upholstery was polished recently. The dashboard design was also very old compared to the cab nowadays.

“How come you don’t show up in the taxi app? I tried searching for cabs, but there weren’t any on the app.” Riya’s suspicion was still on.

“I haven’t connected my services with those apps. I still believe in the old ways. Streets were more safer back then.” driver replied without looking at her.

Riya looked at the antiquated taximeter, which was working surprisingly. She was comfortable to be sitting in an unregistered cab. But, she hadn’t enough options. She didn’t ask any further questions to the cabbie, and hoped to reach some active street, if not crowded at this hour.

All the things were causing her to be suspicious but then…

“Don’t worry madam. You’re safe now. Those drunk people, or anyone for that sake, won’t be a problem to you anymore.” Cabbie said.

Finally she trusted the cab driver enough to sit without suspicion. The cool breeze and the calm ride took Riya into a quick nap, unknowingly.

After a while, when she woke up, the engine sound was off. The car had stopped. She abruptly got up to see where she was. But then calmed down to see the familiar neighbourhood. She had reached her destination.

She turned to talk to the driver but stopped when she saw the driver was sitting without any movement or any motion whatsoever. She saw the meter for the fare and shuffled through her purse to get the money out. She dropped the amount in driver’s box without looking at the driver, where something caught her eye. The box was almost empty, but had a few old, outdated currency in it. That currency wasn’t in circulation since years.

“Thank you madam. You’ve paid generously.” the driver spoke in a weird voice.

Riya almost got a heart attack when she heard his husky, changed, broken voice. She dropped the currency notes that she was examining from the driver’s box at his abrupt break, and looked up to find that the driver had turned to look at her – for the first time all this while.

His face was deadened and a large, slant cut on his face that ran through his eyes agitated Riya. She stopped ajar at the sight of him, but she didn’t ask anything to him. She just smiled and hurriedly left the car. On her way out, she saw the rear-view mirror just for an instance but she couldn’t see the driver.

She panicked and ran a few steps. But then, she must have seen from a different angle, the driver must have shifted while she saw that mirror, or she might have just imagined that in her mind. She just wanted to take another look at that scarred face, to see that vintage cab again and feel that smell of new polish, she wanted to ask the cabbie how he got that scar, she wanted to take another look inside that mirror… she wanted to thank him from dropping her at the right place.

Having walked just a few steps from the car, she gathered all her courage and turned back towards the cab. Out of all the things that she could imagine, she wouldn’t have imagined this.

The car had turned from a vintage car to a scrap, and was broken into trash as if a truck had hit it. The windows were broken and sparks were flaring up the car. There was once a moment that she could see the driver burning inside the cab. The driver’s head turned back in his seat and saw directly towards Riya through the rear window.

Riya was terrified deep down to her every nerve that she couldn’t even move an inch at that horrific sight.

Just a blink and everything in front of her disappeared. As if the car was never there, the cabbie was her imagination and all these events were just pen downed by some horror-stricken writer; the street ahead of Riya was as clean and as empty as ever. The night was calm and silent again.

But then, she had come all this way from her office to her home. It just cannot be an imagery all inside her head. Can it?

There are many streets untraveled by people at night. And this cab lurks around those roads, not to harm anyone, but to prevent a harm.

But would you trust it? …If you find one that is, or if it finds you…

The Thing

A taradiddle about a girl, traveling in a bus, who gets a weird dream while sleeping in her compartment, and a series of bizarre events after that.

… …

The constant brushing of the curtains over her face was annoying her. The whisking of wind from a tiny creak in the window was to be blamed; along with the poor locking system which let window to slide open with inertia of bus movements. It was an overnight journey and she had to have a sound sleep, for the next day was gonna be hectic, she knew it.

Initially, she had woken up frequently to fold those curtains up or to shut that window tight, but then she just let it be. It was better that way that she stopped bothering about that. It almost felt as if the wind had stopped gusting through the gap; as if the bus had stopped and she was at peace… Wait, why was it feeling like the bus had stopped?

She woke up with a sudden suspicion.

The bus was, indeed, at rest. She peaked out through the half open window. There was darkness ahead as far as she could see. She let out her head from the window a little further to see behind the bus and ahead. The roadside was covered with dark, huge trees and the road had no lamps or streetlights. There must be some problem ahead at the road and she had expected there to be a long line of vehicles standing on the road resulting in a jam. But, no. The road was empty and only her bus stood there.

She immediately opened her compartment to talk to other fellow passengers, but to her bewilderment, there was no one else in the bus. All the sitting seats were empty, and the other sleeping compartment doors were open. There was no movement or sound inside the bus. She looked towards the driver compartment, where she could not see any movement either.

She stepped down from her compartment and moved towards the exit. On her way, she saw that all the compartments were normal, showed no sign of hurried evacuation. Personal effects and baggage were kept as is as they were supposedly kept by the owner.

When she reached the driver seat, she saw that the engine was off, but the head lamps were on. Even the key was hanging near the ignition switch.

She stepped down from the bus. She could see a few meters ahead on the road due to the bus headlights pointing ahead. It was pitch dark all around except that.

The bus passage lights were not on, which was weird as they were supposed to be switched on every time the bus stopped.

The bus was parked in a weird fashion, as if it was hurriedly stopped, without properly parking it at the edge of the road.

One after other, she could see weirdness around her and her mind seemed to be quite conversant at finding such spooky things.

She moved around the bus for some clues. She even called out in the open for someone to come, but all she got back was her echo. She couldn’t find anything around the bus which could explain the stoppage of bus in the middle of nowhere and the disappearance of other passengers and crew.

She continued walking away from the bus with anticipation to find some help. She kept on looking back at the bus. She didn’t want to go farther than the point where bus tail lights would not be visible.

She thought of informing her family and friends about the situation. She got out the phone, turned it on and checked for reception. However, there was no network. Even the emergency numbers did not work. She couldn’t connect to the operator or anyone for that sake, and her phone was useless at that point with respect to communication.

She left a message in her outbox saying “URGENT” for testing purpose, sent to her own number. She thought that when the reception will be back, she would know it and will call someone for help; as it was late and no one would be awake to see her message at this hour.

^BAAAM^

She was startled by that sound. It was the sound of the horn of the bus. She turned back to see the bus. It stood there without any motion. She waited for some time looking at the bus. Was that horn real or just her imagination? If it was real, who was that?

She started moving towards the bus, but then slowed her pace as she approached the bus. Still there was no sign of movement around the bus. And who could have blown that horn!

She stopped for a while before glancing inside the bus through the entry door. Then gave a quick glance at the driver seat.

It was empty.

She climbed up the bus and checked all the compartments, and all the seats. There was no one. She moved outside the bus again, and moved around the bus to see who it was, while screaming out loud “Who’s there?”.

No one answered her call, neither did she find anything peculiar.

Exhausted with fright, she moved back inside the bus, went towards her compartment. But then she suddenly realized that the key to start the bus was there in the jack. She ran towards the driver’s seat, saw that the key was still there. She managed to get on the driver seat.

She saw the surroundings of the bus through the side mirrors. There was no sign of anyone. She took a deep breath and turned the key to start the ignition. The engine made a few desperate sounds of starting and then stopped. She tried again, and again, but the engine didn’t start.

She hit on the driving wheel hard with her hands and put her head on the wheel. She started crying. After a while, she gathered hope again and decided to try one more time. She pulled herself upright again and moved her hand towards the key, when suddenly the lights of the bus, those which were on, went out with a snap.

It was complete darkness now. She couldn’t see anything. She tried her luck with the key, but it did not work. Probably the power was out. She started crying again while desperately trying to turn the lights on by switching random switches on and off on the dashboard. But nothing worked.

She slowly got up from the driver’s seat and turned on the phone’s flashlight. She could see a few metres ahead, but not so much. Sobbing, and frightened at the same time, she moved towards her compartment, taking each step carefully, looking around her while moving her flashlight in different directions.

When she had reached her compartment, she turned back to see towards the exit door, and as soon as she turned, her flashlight fell on that dark thing standing right behind her all this while.

Her heart stopped beating, she was aghast till the core and she dropped the phone on the floor. The flashlight revealed several parts of that thing but not fully, while the phone was falling, rotating on the way, towards the floor.

As soon as the phone hit the floor, the flashlight turned off and it was dark again.

She raised her hand to see if the thing was there still. She couldn’t feel anything. So she tried hitting hard infront of her with her fist, thinking to hit the thing hard on its chest, but her hand hit only the air. There was nothing in front of her.

She thought she must have been dreaming all this due to fright and tension. She bent down to pick her mobile phone, just when she felt a push from behind and came collapsing on the floor.

She yelled in horror and struggled to get up from the floor. While she was scrambling on the floor, she felt that something touched her stomach on the floor. Probably an insect, she quickly crawled ahead in alarm.

But it wasn’t any insect. Something grabbed her feet and pulled her back. She turned over to see what it was, when suddenly a hand-like thing came out of the floor and grabbed her by her waist. She struggled to move out of it, but the thorns-like things in the hand-like thing pierced her and gave her terrible pain.

She pulled hard to get out of that thing, but the pointy things were stuck in her T-shirt. She torn apart her T-shirt and came out of that thing. She had gotten hurt at several places on her chest and blood had started rushing out of those wounds.

She felt terrible pain at those wounds, but ignoring that she ran towards the bus exit. She slipped on the steps at the exit door and fell on the steps and hit her head on assisting poles near the steps. She gathered herself on the floor, while gasping difficult breaths, she pulled herself up using the poles and turned towards the door. But the door was closed.

She tried pushing the door and hit it with her hands several times, but it just won’t bulge. She felt miserable. With blood rushing out of the wounds on her bare chest and with new cuts and bruises on her bare thighs, she had a hard time staying up on her legs.

She shouted at that thing to show itself and asked her in desparation as to what it wants from her and why is it hurting her. Nothing happened. No reply came from the darkness inside the bus. She started crying again and asked the same questions to darkness.

She decided to break the glass and move out of this damn bus. She looked around for some object to use to break the plastic glass. Just then, she felt a strong sensation of heat over various parts of her body – her legs, her shoulder and her waist. She couldn’t move at all, as if something was having a tight grip upon her.

The plastic glass in front of her started cracking. It started bulging and came out of the hooks of the frame. And then it turned into a shape of a cone, with the pointed thing pointing towards her. She shouted with all her might, whatever was left of it, for help. But that wasn’t gonna help her much. The pointed cone glass moved towards her fast and went straight into her stomach…

She woke up clenching her chest and yelling. She was panting and sweating while in her compartment. She pulled her T-shirt upside to see if there were any cuts on her front. But there was no sign of any injury. She quickly glanced outside the bus window. The bus was moving.

Relieved that it was just a dream, she cleared perspiration off her face and drank some water. She was still traumatized due to the disgusting dream and felt as if the pain was real. This time, the wind, the moving curtain or the smell inside the compartment didn’t bother her. She went back to sleep while praying to God.

Just then, the bus slowed suddenly and stopped with a light jerk.

Immediately, she sat upright and was about to look outside her window, when a notification popped up on her phone’s screen: “URGENT”.

The Look

The bus was silent except for the artificial lady announcing arriving stations and occasional advertisements. People were settled. It was a long route with few stations and majority of the travelers used to travel till the last station of this route. It was the first bus on that route, early in the morning before the crowd of office commuters starts. Hence, there was always a calm in this particular bus.

And she used to love this calm, this serenity. She used to leave early than her time to catch this bus instead of the next which would be filled with noisy crowd, who all are in a rush to run fast towards a dead end called office. She had to bunk her college lectures to catch this bus, and no one knew that she was doing these dancing classes, but she never cared about others. She was a dreamer. And she had to pursue her dream, even if that would make people around her sad. Because, dancing was what made her happy.

She used to take this bus everyday, and almost knew everyone in the bus. Not by name, but by a character description she made for them out of sheer observation. There was a guy who always used to sit near that last seat window reading a book with headphones on his head. She had never seen him look outside his book. He came before her station and probably got down after her destination. So, he was more of a part of the bus for her.

There was one old man who used to sit next to the exit door, quiet and composed. He always used to stare out of the window. He would hardly talk to anyone who sat next to him. Once he saw him talk to a little girl and even smile a bit. But otherwise, he was a lonely man, probably away from his family.

Likewise, there was a whole family of commuters in that bus she knew so well that she could almost feel if anyone was missing someday, without looking through everyone inside the bus.

One day, she was late, and could catch the bus just at the last moment. That day, her regular seat was taken by another person, someone new. She was disappointed to lose her seat. She walked towards the end were there was empty space to stand. That day, she thought about all the things that she lost in her life due to not getting late.

Next day, she was on her usual time. And she got her seat well. But today, that new guy from a day before was sitting in front of her. She sat there without giving any look to him and casually avoided looking at him – her usual behavior with new people she met. A reserved behavior that the so called rich and reputable society had taught her.

While she was observing people around her, her eyes fall upon him sitting right in front of him. He was constantly gazing towards her chest. There was weird smile on his face as if he was daydreaming something. It totally made her uncomfortable. And she got up from there and went to sit somewhere else, where he could not see her directly.

Next day, again, that guy was sitting in front of her regular seat. She felt miffed, but had nowhere else to sit. At first she felt to go and sit somewhere else, but then she recalled her grandma’s advice to her that she should never run away from her problems and face them with brave heart.

So, she sat right in front of him. Today also, he looked towards her. His weird unfocused eyes gazing towards her made her annoyed. She even made an angry face at him, then scorned and stood up.

Next day, the sit in front of her regular seat was empty. She thanked God that that peeved guy hadn’t come. She sat there and started reading her book. While reading a humorous para, she looked up, smiling, when suddenly she saw that guy sitting on a seat two boxes away. From there, the guy was looking constantly at the another girl sitting in front of him.

She felt really miffed upon him and she straight up went to teach him a lesson. When she reached the guy and was about to shout at him, he got up and hit her. Their heads bumped and they both stepped away for a while. What happened next was an eyeopener for her.

The guy had sat down again after he hit her on her head. He clenched the seat tightly and stood up slowly, unsteadily. He was still looking constantly in front of him, while she was standing right next to her. He extended his arm in front of him and said “I am really sorry, I didn’t see you…” and then started laughing “…I couldn’t have seen you anyway you see!”.

He was talking to her but he never looked at her until she spoke “umm…”

He was blind, with proper looking eyes, but lost vision.

She said sorry to him. Her anger had washed away in the abasement she felt for thinking bad for that guy. Well, she misunderstood ‘the look’.

After that day, she never saw him again, but she had made a separate entry of her little encounter with him in her daily diary.

Solo Travel Diaries – Strangers

While I travel seldom, of the times I travel, mostly I travel alone. Solo travel diaries are my weird experiments and experiences from incidents during my solo travel.

—–

Don’t talk to strangers. Stranger is danger.” something that we are taught since childhood.

But still, it happens, often, that you meet someone on your journey, you talk with them, and they leave a lasting impression on your mind, sometimes on your wallet.

I was standing near a charging booth, refilling the juice in my phone, which would help me stay alive that 9 hours solo journey.

While we don’t have anything to do when we can’t use our phones now-a-days, I usually have a lot of fun when my phone’s not in my hand.

I was whistling the tunes of some of my favorite songs, sometimes singing them along. I was observing the people around me and started noting down the types of people that one can find on a common station (probably future post 😛).

While doing all this, I had my one hand fixed on my mobile phone while the other on my bag. I just couldn’t let go of the fear of someone stealing things from me from that crowded place.

Suddenly, a man in his forties came from behind me and started talking to me.

“Hey. You’re a local resident of this place?” The man said.

Rather hesitantly, I replied “Yes.”

“Actually, I was here to meet my friend. He’s at the platform 10. (We were at platform 1). But the problem is I forgot my wallet at home and I need to buy the platform ticket. Can you please give me some money?” The guy continued, in English. Yes.

He was dressed decent and was speaking to me in a sophisticate manner and in English, in a state where very few do that. So, his first impression on anyone would be that he’s a genuine case. And he was asking for a nominal amount, so one would just give him money, with intentions to help.

“Actually, I don’t have change for that amount. Sorry.” I said the truth, but even if I would have had change with me, I would have lied to say the same thing.

“How much do you have? These shops can give you change.” He said pointing at the nearby shops.

I said bluntly “Why don’t you go and ask them directly? They would probably give you some money.”

This would have offended a genuine man. But he went on to talk to the shopkeeper.

While he walked to the counter, I watched him from the corner of my eyes. He walked to the counter, looked at me, and then was standing there for a while. There was confusion on his face. And it looked very genuine to me.

“He would give change if you buy something from him.” He said to me when he came back.

“I already bought what I need for the journey. And I gave him all the change that I had against those stuff.” I shrugged.

There was silence, a weird silence for few moments, after which he was about to speak something. But I interrupted him – “Why don’t you ask them? They might be having change and they might help you.” I was pointing towards the station officers.

He looked towards them. His face showed hesitation and he left, slowly looking around him, as if finding someone.

Then he boarded the train standing on Platform 1 itself. While moving towards the train, he briefly glanced back towards me.

I was watching him, indirectly.

He was obviously not a genuine case. He didn’t need any platform ticket. The train that he boarded left soon thereafter, and I never saw him come out of that coach. He might have needed money for some other reason, but he lied about the whole friend thing.

And I didn’t fall for it, being a cold hearted person. Had he told me the truth, I might have helped. Probably, still not. It’s hard trusting people nowadays.

While we may make friends out of those strangers while travelling, we have to be vigilant too. Not everyone’s the same.

Dreaming Reality – When I had to pee

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I was travelling in a nonstop air conditioned bus with upper and lower sleeper compartments. I was sitting in my lower compartment, holding tight to the window railing for balance and another hand squeezed between my thighs.

Maintaining the balance of my body was very important. I had my lunch just before the start of the travel. And never had the time to press the flush.

I had to go to pee. But thanks to my efforts of booking a nonstop transport, I was stuck there until the bus would pit in for some break.

I had tried all the methods I could remember to put the nature’s call on silent. I tried listening to music, watching an intense movie, playing with the curtains, taking deep breaths, concentrating hard on the broken mini TV in front of me, and what not!

Now the time for trying to forget that thing was gone and the mission to not let the fugitive escape had started. I was sitting with immense concentration, afraid that a bump on the road might let the dam explode…

I tried one more thing that had always helped me with boredom, although not directly related to my problem then but still, was worth a shot.

But there was a slight problem. All the seats had the translucent doors closed. I could only see a blurry image of people inside.

The bus took a sharp turn, which shoot my determination to its peak level.

I settled back to my position and saw outside my compartments. I could see the reflection of the seat above me on the door of the seat in besides me. Someone was sat up, a rather abruptly. It seemed the person inside was uneasy with the way the bus took turns. Well, I was uneasy too…

I tried reading a novel, but couldn’t concentrate on the words well. Just then I heard the door of some compartment slide.

I peaked outside my compartment again and saw that the door to the compartment above me had opened. It was a girl of my age, who looked as if in great tension. She looked around, just like I had a few minutes before. Then she went back inside, but didn’t close the doors.

I wondered what could be worrying her. But my own tension was far more important than her that time.

For a few minutes, my mind was more occupied in stopping something else, but then my curiosity got over it.

One more time, I let my head outside my compartment and looked above my seat. Coincidentally, she did the same, peaking down at me. She had the same expression of tension on her face as I thought I had at that time.

I hesitated a little, but then decided to talk to her. I showed her my little finger and made a question-asking-expression on my face. She made an uncomfortable face, but nodded eventually.

Funny, we both were in the same situation, and on huge pressure…

I showed my little finger to her again, and then with the other hand stretched the imaginary line of my little finger to the Max stretch that my finger and thumb could achieve.

My face must have shown her my agony, that first she looked at me with pity in her eyes, and then started laughing wildly.

I laughed along too, but another bump on the road stopped our laughter and instantly replaced it with a grim.

After a few glances, she came down from her upper compartment and sat in front of me in my compartment. We carried on with intros and casual talk, while we both had looked tension and pity on our face for our condition.

I gave her a comforting look while holding on to one of her hands. She didn’t let go, to my surprise.

The bus took another sharp turn and we both held tightened our grip on other’s hands.

I didn’t know her name, she didn’t know me either. But holding hands tightly did help very well… Whenever the poor condition of roads questioned our strength to hold on and whenever the sharp turns tested the leakproof-ness of our packets, we fought the situation with vigor.

We didn’t leave each other’s hands till next half an hour. During that time we kept the conversation on, which helped us get distracted from the most common problem of humans, the pee-pee condition.

When the bus slowed down and took a halt, we got up slowly, still holding hands, careful not to let haste waste our efforts so far.

While all this time, I had been successful to get my mind distracted from the pressure but I thought, even holding hands with a beautiful girl in a tightly build bus compartment couldn’t help me win over it. That was the time I understood one saying – when you got to go, you got to go! 😉

We reached the loo and finally parted our ways to be at peace… Phewwwwwww!

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In real, there was no girl above my compartment and there was no holding hands. Otherwise, everything was true. I was in a tensed situation and was waiting, longingly, for the bus to stop.

An out of control mind made up this story to divert my attention from the reality… and I instantly started writing it, to help me get diverted.

Lens vs Eyes

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Months of boredom and years of frustration is making me all cranky and sad. I have to go out somewhere. I have to take a break from my daily life. I have to do something…

The ring of my phone dragged me out of my frustrated thoughts. My friend asked me to check out a trip cum trek plan to Kasol. Instantly I got up, planned it with my friend, decided about going, informed office and family about it and booked the tickets within a span of half-a-day.

A vacation finally, after a very very long time…

Waiting for the Time

We reached early at Delhi and had a few hours before our trip started from there. So, we took rest in the garden near the India Gate eating bhutta (corn), waiting for the opportune moment to leave the surreal place towards our pick-up point.

At the Gate, we took some pics and sat down to rest.

Our trip captain had created a group on WhatsApp of all the people being part of the trip. People were sharing their experience in the new town, pictures of places they were visiting and the usual useless stuff.

My friend was busy in trying to create his first impression in the group by following the herd. It was boring to sit there silently, but as we were tired of the past 4-5 hours of walking with all the luggage, it was nice.

When we reached the Gate, there was a flood of selfies and group pictures. I saw a man, in his late 60s guess, looking at all of them. He was a good physique, slow steady walk, sharp eyed man with his hands folded behind him. He looked like an ex-army person.

He looked displeased with those kids. Probably because those kids were happily taking pics with the Gate instead of feeling gratitude for those souls, that the Gate represents.

Then there was a woman in her late 40s. She was selling baked corn. We weren’t starving, but we took one each and sat there in the garden. I had to pay but as I didn’t have proper denominations, I told her to pay her in a minute by borrowing from my friend.

Her girl came after a few minutes to ask for payment (probably the woman thought we’d forgotten the debt). I told her to bring one more for us both. That was I could use the bigger denomination. She went back happily.

After that she went to (probably) her brother to play with him. But her brother scolded her and said that the game wasn’t suitable for her. She sat there watching them play.

They were playing lagori (satodiyo) (seven stones). One of them was very good at taking the aim, but his partner was slow at supporting him. The other team was not so good either in seeking or in hitting. But they won most of the matches as they played well as a team.

Besides, the one who was good at hitting missed several aims in boasting about his ability and telling his mate how to play the game. But none of these mattered to them.  They enjoyed anyway.

As the bulky-tummy-boy missed hitting the hitters, his team mate hit the ball on his big-bang-bum, calling him a slow ass. I and the other team members laughed

Mixed Introduction

Our trip started with gathering at the pickup point. Having this bad habit of being on time, we reached at the spot a little late and still got early than 90% of others. 😛 We started introducing ourselves. There were people from different parts of the country.

People started sharing their personal details, family history, job details etc. and we started judging people based on the details shared by them, while trying desperately to remember their names. It was a good deal of effort to talk with a few and there were some who never stopped talking, even when we looked away.

While people were interacting and trying to break the ice, I was busy at studying their behavior. How differently people behaved on the same situation and how different were their views on the same topic – was exciting to me.

With each conversation and with each of their expression, I knew more about their nature and their attitude towards different things. Who was more interested in whom, who was scared and who was really excited, who was humble and who was a show off, all came out with more time spent talking to them.

It was supposed to be one group going on a trip, but from the start itself, the group started splitting into various mini-groups based on the law of mutual attraction, which states that “Just by one glance at the person, instinct tells us whether we would be comfortable with them or not, and most of the times, that instinct is true.” The instinct is not based on judging others, but on knowing ourselves very well that it might require us to go out of our comfort zone.

There were three types of people on the trip – one who cared for no one and enjoyed in their own style, one who were attention seekers trying to please “the cream in the crowd”, and the attention givers. And there was me too, the forth category. 😛

And they were doing similar activities – enjoying themselves & getting involved in the group or learning from attention seekers to seek attention; seeking attention or desperately trying to; and giving attention or bearing the pain of smiling at those stupid gimmicks by attention seekers.

Start of the Journey

The journey started with people occupying the seats in the bus. Old childhood habit of climbing the school bus last didn’t let go of us this time too. We saw a few seats available in the front while many at the back. We instantly went to the backside, another old habit. We settled and starting talking with each other about how excited we were about the journey. It was going to be awesome – claimed different exclamations.

Soon the party started and more “cool” people started to show off their “cool” traits of drinking, joking and sharing their previous experience (more of exaggerated escapade).

Based on the mini-groups formed while waiting for others, the sitting arrangement wasn’t hard to guess. It was obvious that the back seats were full of extroverts and front seats were full of semi-introverts, who took a little more time trusting others. However, I was at the back, even though being wholly introvert.

While the ice had been broken well in advance, it took me more time to get along with the whole jolly attitude. It was a difficult switch to make.

But I just ignored trying to do that and continued with my observations. There were people worse than me. They were not interested in getting along at all. They were more like – “let me sleep in peace till the end of this trip.” 😛

Night, Morning & Dancing Bus

Night was the time to take rest and recharge for the next full day of adventure. While some had started the excitement right then and there 😉

We were watching a movie on our phone, but that didn’t last long and I fall asleep.

As people started to wake up, the morning got more and more interesting. We stopped at a ‘dhaba’ (roadside eatery). Our cravings had crossed limits and it was a fight to get our breakfast in all that crowd and confusion.

While the route was long, fellow travelers wanted to wait no more for having fun. The music system started playing some beats and those of the extrovert types, who could dance, started grooving to the tunes. Soon people started stepping in the narrow dance floor.

While those who could dance raised their ratings in the bus, while those who couldn’t but were enthusiastic enough to dance raise the drollery in the bus to high levels.

As one after the other people started to switch off their eyes, my mind filled with several thoughts about how the next few days would be. It was just a trip you would think. But it was way more than that for me.

It was my first encounter with strangers. It was a chance for me to become an extrovert from an introvert person. And apart from all these, it was an item from the list of places I wanted to travel in the world.

So, all in all, it was a big deal for me. And imagining the carousel of images flashing by my mind along with a mixture of scenes visible through the window, I slowly drifted into dream world.

The morning was difficult as my friend had started drifting away into pleasing the cream. I started conversing and slowly felt that it wasn’t that difficult as I thought. But then again my introvert mind made likes and dislikes about people and took me away from them.

When the dancing acts started, I didn’t get up and show some moves in the bus. First I was more interested in watching the natural beauty outside the window and second, I just couldn’t. 😛

There were some humorous & some sizzling dance moves, some quaint and amusing jest, while some irritating and odd comments that raised sparse rivalry amongst people, while bonded a few others. It even showed that some of our fellow travelers were totally pesky and some were awesomely cool.

Photography

In this age where it was more important to tell others that we were enjoying rather than enjoying itself, photography is the first thing we do at every place we travel.

Here also, there were selfies and abundant natural pictures of whatever came in the way. In just a span of an hour, there were a thousand clicks and several hundred “woo” moments for the crowd.

While people either took pictures of self, where background didn’t really matter at all or tool pictures of natural landscapes and scenery like a pro. But very few, actually none, were interested in capturing the odd.

The people there, their culture and their style of living, the natural habitat and the shrewd juggad in various day to day activities.

Apart from that the usual mountains, trees and river, I was more interested in the microscopic beauty of nature. Some I was able to capture, while some are only recorded in my memory.

While a fake sunrise pic through accidental flash of my camera amazed others believing it to be real sunrise (even in their social site updates), my camera captured old architectures, dew formation on leaves and wires, naturally grown green gardens, the fight of sun against the clouds…

While things only in my mind were – a dirt hill made by ants which had weird formations all around the top, a bird teaching her babies the first flight, a dog reacting to the sudden human invasion to their territory by shaking his head, and a bird hunting a fish from the gushing river flow in a flash… These and several such serene sides of nature were captured in my memory.

Dangerous Turns & Tunnel

While climbing up the hill, there were some parlous turns on the road. They created a sense of roller coaster ride for those on-board. We were awestruck by the way the tire turned just inches from the end of the road. Just a slight error and we would have fallen down the cliff in to the river. The driver, of course, was very skilled that we didn’t.

When bus entered in the tunnel, people started shouting, coming out of the window. They waved to the other commuters on the road and yelled hip hip hurray when we came out in the light.

The turns were terrific. Sometimes the tires even went outside the edge of the road, hanging in the moment and then came back on the surface. It was a sight to be seen, if you only see the tire and the cliff below, you’d feel that the bus is falling down the cliff and still you’re happy. An amazing illusion of emotions…

When we stepped in the tunnel, there were tiny orange lights on the ceiling. Right above one of such light, I saw a nest of a bird. In the dim light, it was not a clear view. But I wondered how our paths always intersected with the habitat of other animals.

At the end of the tunnel I saw the light. The echo of different sounds created a unique effect in the Tunnel. And when we came out of the tunnel, just then echo suddenly disappeared and there was a crisp change in the sounds that we heard before. As if the horn was suddenly kept inside the water and blown….

The Rain – Spoiler and Maker

As soon as we reached the destination of our trip, it started raining and continued with a few breaks. The rain spoiled our plan for the big trek, however, we continued with a smaller trek and had fun with it.

Crazy excitement, going through those mud ponds, conquering those rocks and walking with our mates was so much fun. In between that came photography time, selfie time and several hours of chit-chatting.

The rain created a mesmerizing environment there and the view of the dark cloudy sky with a mixture of snow covered mountain peaks and the sound of the nearby river created a perfect representation of nature and tranquility. The placid serenity of the silent mountains created a perfect studio for the photographer in us.

Bonfire

At night, it was time for the bonfire. After getting fresh and eating our food, we assembled for some fire and dance, both real and metaphorically. We danced and enjoyed till late in night. This was the time when almost everyone enjoyed dancing and chilling.

While I was so excited to dance at the bonfire, it didn’t quite go well. Apart from some dancing and grooving, people were more interested in smoking and weeding around. The smoke filled the air and created a mixture of pollution & irritation in the otherwise dulcet night.

Bonfire was at its place, but the dancing was not organized. With so many people around, less number of dancers and very few interested in dancing, it was very difficult for me to dance my heart out in that smoke and rout mob. Still I tried, but finally gave up as smoke filled my lungs. I was so roiled that I didn’t even attend the next day bonfire night.

Night and the Emotions

Dance let the emotions flow. The starry night and the pleasant cold breeze created a romantic atmosphere and helped create more bonded friendship amongst a few. While others were fuddled in weed and alcohol.

All the smoke and alcohol made me totally irritated and disinterested in the group and I was more interested in sleeping than to befriend anyone. I went straight to my room and let the night end for me.

The Next Day

While it continued raining and spoiled all our plans to visit nearby places, we were going to nearby Gurudwara and the natural hot-water spring. It was inexpressible how soothing was the experience to take a dip in the hot-water pond.

People shopped and wandered around while coming back from the Gurudwara. At night, was another bonfire, but I didn’t attend that.

While the soothing hot-water touch was great, but I was more interested in going further towards the mountain peak, where it was snowing. We tried searching for a mode of transportation but couldn’t. We even tried talking to the coordinator regarding taking the whole group further up the mountain, but due to time constraint, he couldn’t.

While coming back from the Gurudwara, I was filled with varied emotions of not being able to explore everything, yet happy to have seen these beautiful places. I let my emotions take form of art and drew a half-face on the dew-filled window of our bus.

Someone point it out to everyone in the bus and it came to my attention that I was not alone there. 😛

Curfew Cries

It was time for us to leave. The sunny clear sky mocked us when we were leaving the place. While traveling back, a riot occurred at the city and we were halted on-route. We had to spend the whole night on the highway. People went out for some tea, food and yet another round of smoking.

The roads cleared in the morning and we departed for our way back home. On our way back, we saw the devastation the root has caused and clicked a few pics for memory.

It was time to turn back and go back to where it started. But some kibosh stopped us right in the middle of the road. While in the midst of riot and people killing each other, the adventurous gut of people inside the bus was still high. But as soon as my mood for fun started, these people started to smoke. And all my adrenaline to do something crazy would flush down the sewer.

The night was long and the silence was irksome. So people who had bonded well during the journey started conversioning, while waiting for sleep to fill their eyes. I listened to their conversations silently. They were interesting sometimes. 😛 At least they were better than the folks outside smoking their lungs out.

On our way back, I saw how easy it is to last our minds and go crazy for us humans for some selfish cause. We can do anything to disrupt normal life, but we can’t do even slightest of hard work to make it better.

Run Away Baby

As soon as we reached Delhi again, the rush to run away from the city towards our home started. The departing goodbyes were a little dramatic. People were hugging and bidding farewell to each other. It was a little heavy.

We took a train back to our home and our fairy tale came to an end.

While I had not bonded with anyone to feel emotions for anyone of them, yet leaving them was a little emotional. I couldn’t express any of that, but still felt happy that I had made lots of friends on this journey and the moments would be cherished for days to come.

While for most of us, the trip was over. But for us it was still a day more. Two of our mates joined us on our travel back to home and we took whatever train we could find on the platform going towards our cities. It was a Run Away rush as the riot was not stopping and we had to save our asses.

But in all that upsurge, me and one of my friend stayed real calm. We cared nothing about all that and had a few common ways of having fun. The train journey was a story to tell, some other time may be. 😉

The Aftermath

The aftermath of the trip was bewitching. It took several days to recover from the emotional flood of excitement and fun from the trip and to get back to our boring usual working lives. And several instances of that aftermath was poured out in form of social media group chat. Group chat was filled with emotional messages and ‘miss you’s and other such stuff.

Slowly the shine of that trip fade away and we were back to our busy selves. But it was amazing how few of us were bonded for life…