As I type this , the clock shows 2:59 am with not a shred of concern for my lack of sleep ,because its a clock. But I am writing now because I’m scared I might forget some parts of what I want to write if I wake up tomorrow and try .
Before I let this write-up begin its course, let’s know something about me. I am a Tamizhan living in Mysore , doing my internship post MBBS .
Every batch of 24 hours I traverse through never forgets to give me an adventure while it ticks . I call these situations “adventures” because I want very badly to be optimistic ; because the realist in me screams from the depth of my consciousness that they are colossal calamities . But my humor-infected train of thought has the remote control.
Let me tell you about the adventure I had today, about 6 hours ago.
The habit of humming a Beatles song while on my precious bike was once again at work as I glided around a turn en route to the hospital for my night rounds. With ‘Love Me Do’ playing in the think tank, I was on my way when it happened.
Situations where you have no time to do anything but a mistake are tricky. The lazy red Activa took a right turn so suddenly that I could’ve sworn I saw two of them at that instant. KERPLUNK.
I love that split second sound of a clash between two vehicles just for the sound . But an instant later as the impact got me obliquely descending on all fours like a pig going down a water slide , ‘Love Me Do’ was on pause and ‘Not Again’ started playing.
The accident involved two vehicles and so , naturally , a crowd of fifty huddled in from thin air to see if there was enough material for a TV9 scoop.
The mellifluent lady and her adorable son screamed and howled respectively at my irresponsible way of riding . With a pack of drunks in full volume , an uninvolved passerby grabbing my T shirt by the collar and the Pedestrian-cum-Pope’s instant sermon , it was a textbook Indian accident scene , so to speak.
I remember staring constantly at the road , nodding and shaking my head to their rhythm of abuses as the crowd thinned and the lady got down to business.
“You’re not going anywhere. I’m calling my husband” – Nod
“You think you can ride off without clearing the mess you made ? ” – Shake
” Let’s take this to the Police, they’ll know what to do with you ” – Nod
“Do you have any idea how injured my son is now ?” – Shake
“Take us to a hospital right now and pay for all the treatment !” – Nod
My submissiveness knew no bounds as my wallet gaped in all directions, from holes made by unreasonable humanitarian obligations. With 3 X-ray reports, a paper bag full of unnecessary medication to pay for and the mangled carcass of my beautiful two wheeled friend, my day was going so well.
The only thing which probably stung me as much as the fall was the sudden reminder this incident told me that I was from another place , no matter how well I knew the regional language or how well I blended in with the people here.
With a dessicated wallet and a swollen up thought ,I found myself on the road at 2:18 am , gracing the cold dead of the night with silent shivers.
Had I been wasting my time making friends here ? Will I ever blend in with any society besides my own ,back in Chennai ? What is this sense of belonging that I crave anyway ? Was becoming a rebel , constant in defiance and acquired isolation, the only way I hadn’t tried yet ?
Mulling these over repeatedly I took lazy, careful steps homeward when I heard an autorickshaw honk in its earsplitting way , breaking the silence of the night .
Now I haven’t really grown up to control myself on how to react to scary things like these. So my immediate response was screaming like a crossbreed of a 17 year old girl and a baboon. The two drunk gentlemen in the auto cackled with uncontrollable laughter . Then I began laughing ,because , well, it WAS funny damn it. Then , conversation ensued.
” Where are you walking to at this hour ,doctor ?”, kannadiga no. 1 asked.
” Home.” I replied.
” And where’s that ?”
“Near the Sterling Theater”
* laughter from the two strangers*
” Come on then I’ll drop you home .” he offered.
” Thanks a lot , but I don’t have money on me , so I better …” I began explaining , before I was interrupted .
” We don’t need money , man. We’re heading that way.” , kannadiga no.2 interjected .
And the 15 minute rickety ride with two complete strangers , with senseless laughter and jokes on money, wisdom on the road and a farewell at the end was all I needed. So much generosity from two people belonging to the same place as the ones who drained me ; what a fool I had been ! Busying my mind with questions of belonging was so funny now.
For no matter where we are , kindness and a lasting thirst for fun and adventure was, is and will always be innate in all. The differences do not attempt to distract us from the similarities , but to help us value it.