One Monday morning, not so long ago, parked firmly in the leather clad seat of my car, while waiting for the ever slow moving cars in front of me to move. I was introduced to a tune which rocked the bedrock of the government that we so willingly elect. The tune immediately brought back a thought which I had buried deep within and locked it away in some corner of my mind promising myself never to revisit it again. As the tune played on and the cool wind slowly caressed my face, I felt a nerve twitching on the back of my neck while a cold sweat ran down my spine. Suddenly I was reminded of that hopeless feeling again which I had tried to over come rather unsuccessfully.
Before turning on the ignition that day, I prayed to the weather Gods to be kind on me and my fellow commuters. I also asked forgiveness for all the dirty and foul looks that I had thrown at those trying to pass me by, the day before. This was followed by my routine drive to work.
Soon as the day grew older and the clouds grew darker, time seemed to slow down on the roads of the city. The ashtray in my car screaming “OVERLOAD, OVERLOAD”. With every cigarette that I smoked, my patience turned to ash. People around me started looking angrier and the city started to resemble a zombie town, where everyone was ready to tear each other apart given the slightest reason to do so.
Avoiding the eerie glances at me, I slowly pressed my right foot on the accelerator and inched forward in what seemed like a never ending queue of cars. Slowly but surely I moved ahead on that godforsaken road. Over a period of time, I had familiarized myself to every bump and hole that I met on the road. But every day, I would make new acquaintances. That day would have been no different, if only for that tune which kept on turning up no matter what frequency I tuned into on my radio.
While driving down the same road a day before, my eyes were treated to a sight of a group of people in luminously colored jackets and a board which read “Go Slow, Work In Progress”, and I thought to myself “Surely, things just had to get better”. After all, what more could go wrong? These saviors sent by God himself would surely save the day.
That day, however, I met my old enemy again and it seemed he had grown stronger. The pot holes seemed to have deepened and the luminously colored jackets had disappeared. I noticed a poor fellow trying his best to drive out of a rather large hole that he had ditched car into.
An hour or so later I found myself on a clear patch of road, all to myself and a few other. I floored it, making sure to take a look at the faces in my rear view mirror.
Belatedly but thankfully I reached work to the scowling words of my boss, but believe me, those words felt like a soothing balm on an itchy rash. I almost felt like hugging him and telling him of my ordeal. Nonetheless, my day passed along like any other.
At lunch, I decided to go to the cafeteria. There on the large LCD, I was reintroduced to the same tune again which I had heard on my radio. This time though, I saw her as well. Curly hair, a nose ring and dancing to the tune with aplomb. The tune was pretty catchy and soon I had it on my lips as well. I couldn’t stop humming it to myself for the rest of the day. I have to admit, the lyrics were quite critical but there seemed to lie a shred of truth in them as well.
Little did I know, that the video would snowball into a full blown controversy and by the end of the day she had been accused of being overly critical of the public services and her credentials had been called into question.
By midnight, as I drove into my lane back home a voice over the radio announced that local youth Netas had called for her head and demanded a Rs 500 crores lawsuit to be filed on the lady for the heinous crime of trying to defame and deface our esteemed local government bodies. “Shame On Her”, I said to myself. After all, what gives her the right to question those in power. She is just a woman blabbering on the radio. It takes a lot of effort, hard-work, and labor to reach a position in the public office.
Anyways, like every night I crept into my cozy blanket feeling every bump my body had endured through out the day. I could hardly sleep that night. Twisting and turning all night trying to forget the pain piercing my back like a knife as cold as the darkness outside.
Tuesday morning felt like a fresh new day, but the day passed by just like the day before.
The next day, while reading the daily news on my tablet, I read that the local government body had issued a notice to the lady for breeding Dengue-infected mosquitos in her balcony pots and under the bed. “Imagine that. What a witch she must be.” I thought to myself and continued with my daily routine.
That night while driving back from work, I was feeling tired. Eyes bloodshot from the lack of sleep and body aching from the rigors of the last few days. Luckily, I had an open road that night and the lure of a full night’s sleep on my cozy bed was keeping my brain from shutting down. I thanked the almighty for the open road and continued in the sweeping rain which had burst out of nowhere. Suddenly I felt a warm light on me as if someone had turned on the heater inside my car. As I turned my head to look right, I could see two distinctly separate points of light drawing close to me. A loud bang and people’s voices are all I remember after that.
Yes, you guessed it right, a truck had slammed into my car and I woke up in the hospital today morning to be told that my accident had caused a huge traffic jam on the express way.
Just before the doctor walked in, I promised myself that I ‘ll be more careful from now onwards and keep my eyes peeled on the road. Little did I know what the doctor had in store for me.
My eyes watered a little when the doctor said: “You’ve just been POT-HOLED“.
Author: Toorjo Sengupta
Co Author: Abhishek Sharma