This is a story about a few people held by a traffic jam and how their lives shift gears. Time is magical and everything happens for a reason. Sometimes a few people may never notice time’s magic even when it happens before their very eyes.
“Hey, sorry dude, it’s hell of a traffic here and vehicles lined up; don’t know when will it get cleared” Sunil cribbed on his phone.“Chill bro, she is yet to reach, any wild guess when can you make it here?” Jeff sounded relaxed on the other end, who throws a party that day.
“Man, I thought she might have reached with you; why you so lazy to pick your own girlfriend man?” questioned Sunil.“Not like that Sunil, she is coming along with her friend; only couples allowed here in this pub, Do you need a partner? Or shall I ask her to change the plans?” Jeff gave a witty reply.
“Oh Jeff! Do not pull my leg man, I will make it somehow, just wait for me dude. Any idea where are they now? So I try to reach ahead of them, now why on earth you are saying this man! I thought it was a singles party, ” said Sunil.
“Thought of surprising you man, I bet you will enjoy her company she is hot man”, before he completes Sunil intervened, “where are they now?”.
“I have tried reaching them, but they are in an unreachable area, or on the way, hmm… hold on for some time I give them a call and get back to you.”, Jeff puts the call on hold and dialed his girlfriend’s number. “Blah blah… blah..” the voice sounded in an unfamiliar language for Jeff, he waited, then came English’s turn “The subscriber you are trying to reach is not reachable, please try after sometime… blah…”
He disconnected that call and retrieved Sunil’s call “Bro, I am unable to reach them, where are you now?” “Avenue Road dude” replied Sunil. “Ok bro, you try to reach the earliest, I will wait here, ” Jeff disconnected the call.
“Crap man! Why the heck this traffic jam, no one move an inch” Sunil resumed his cribbing to himself. He increased the volume of his favourite track on his posh car to relax his mind. He lighted a Cigar.
A school kid turned to the music’s direction and his eyes glued to Sunil’s car. “Daddy, when will we buy a car like this?” questioned his father with eyes still on the car. “Soon, dear, next year we will buy” replied Prasad, a software engineer.
His mind has started doing the calculations of the EMI for the Housing loan and Car loan. “Daddy will that car have music like this?”, curiosity has not stopped the kid. “Definitely Harish, It will be even better”, he replied with attention.
Prasad, a good father who never behaved rudely to his son and always answered his silly questions responsibly. “Why nobody moves daddy? We wait here for a long time, Mommy would have reached home, isn’t she?” inquired about his employed mother,an HR in a consultancy. He replied “She may be on the way; I think she will win today and we are going to lose” he smiled citing their usual competition ‘Who reaches home first’.
Actually, his wife Kajal’s office located in the next block to the Avenue road. Sometimes if luck favours, they catch-up on the way to home; since Prasad’s office the nearest to their son’s school; he usually take care of his pickup and drop.
“Why so many cars and bikes are in line? Are they standing for prayer song?” his curiosity continued with more creativity. “No son, cars and bikes would not go for prayers and we call it ‘Traffic jam’” answered Prasad. “Why is traffic jam now daddy? Can’t they do traffic jam after we reach home? Tell them we need to win Mommy and let us go!” he thrown the next set of questions and commands to his father.
Another voice too asked a question to Prasad from behind “Anna (brother in Tamil), what happened? Why so much traffic jam?” asked a girl. He turned to see a girl in typical Indian styled mask, she started unwrapping the shawl which she wrapped around her face to escape pollution and safeguard her fair face. She looked like a girl returning from a college, her back bag and the stickers on her Scooty said so.
“Don’t know, its been around half an hour we are waiting here” replied Prasad. “Oh, even I do, just thought of asking someone what’s going around. Thank you anyway “ she smiled at his son and started typing some text on her phone.
Beep… Beep… A share auto found still managed to find its way in the traffic’s gaps honked. The driver tried his level best to irritate others to make some way for his auto. One man shouted at him, “Where is the space for us to move? Stop horning you idiot!” The driver scolded back something in a descending tone and shut the engine down to save his fuel.
His China made mobile started ringing “Sheela.. Sheela ki Jawani..” and he answered in a furious tone “Hello, Hmmm…tell me, What you want? It will take time for me to come…” some pause, “I don’t know, it’s traffic here, I am on a trip, you knew it right?”… some pause, “ok, will call you back” he disconnected the call. After a few minutes he realized he should not have shown his irritation to his wife. He got married recently.
He dialed a number “Ramu, I struck in a traffic jam on the Avenue Road! Any passengers to come back or shall I go home after this trip?” his fellow driver. “Not that much crowd here Subbu, you can go home, newlyweds need to go home early yar” he kidded him. “Okay”, he disconnected and looked at his face in the mirror and adjusted his hair style.
It started drizzling slightly. There was a panic around with whomever on the two wheelers; they have no choice but to get drenched. Prasad started covering his son with his helmet. Subbu, unwrapped the side covers for his passengers. The college girl didn’t care much about it, but kept her mobile safely inside her bag, as she completed same text message in a hurry. Sunil has nothing to bother than thinking about the girl he will be meeting that day and he put the wipers to work.
But the drizzle shown some mercy and it was a very mild passing one. Prasad was playing with his son by sprinkling the water drops on his son’s face and the college girl too enjoyed the scene. As like the only person in a hurry, Subbu cleared some moisture on the front glass of his auto. Also the drizzling has completely stopped now.
“Sheela.. Sheela ki Jawani..” Kartina Kaif started singing again and he answered “Now what? Do not tell me to come back again”, Subbu shouted, this time not to his wife but to his friend Ramu. “I will not come even if there are people for another trip, I need to get some sweet and go home early to calm her down” Subbu was talking nonstop.
“Ooai, I just called you to tell a bad news. Our Autowala, met with an accident, there near the avenue road signal. Now only one driver informed me. I think many people got injured. If you can make a U-turn, go home via another route. Also, do not carry more passengers in the Auto, ask the excess to get down…” Subbu interrupted “Yar, what are you telling? Which auto driver met with the accident? What happened?”
“A drunk bus driver and smashed many vehicles without stopping in the signal. One of our Autowala also got hit, do not know his name yet, we can tell only after all drivers returned to the stand. Seems he carried excess passengers, causalities were more I guess. Now it would be a problem for you to carry excess passengers” Ramu replied in an unrest tone. “Okay, okay, Thanks I will call you after reaching home, ” he replied and disconnected the call.
He turned towards his passengers and conveyed “Look some accident happened to the signal ahead and we cannot tell when the traffic jam will get cleared, so who ever want to go can get down and go by walk till the signal and get transport from there onwards.”
The majority of his passengers got down except an old couple. He was a bit annoyed, but he understood well that the old people cannot walk the distance and he kept his cool. He started asking them where they need to go and all. As the passengers got down, they started spreading the news about the accident. The college girl too heard it. She intervened Prasad, who was busy playing with his child and informed “Anna, some accident happened there on the Avenue-Signal ahead and so the traffic jam is!”.
Prasad got tensed and asked his son to keep quiet. He took his phone and started dialing his wife’s number. It was ringing, but no response. “Daddy, Mommy is going to win today! Where is she? Reached home? You are calling Mommy right?” his son resumed his questions. “Shut up, Harish. Keep quiet for some time”, this time he replied even more harsh.
The college girl can understand what was happening and indicating the little Harish to keep quiet by showing “Shhh..” sign.
Prasad dialled the number again and again, but in vain no answer from the other end. He was thinking to leave the bike there itself and walk to the signal to see if something went wrong. His mind was swinging between positive and negative thoughts. He prayed God to keep his wife safe. Prasad could not control his tears as the number of unattended Calls increases.
The college girl must have sensed his fear and asked him “Anna, give me her number I too will try, meanwhile you ask some of your friends to go to your home and check the accident spot from the other way.” She got the number and started dialing. Yet no answer, she was in no mind to give up and repeatedly calling her.
Prasad meanwhile informing his friends to check for his wife and asked one to come there by walk to take Harish home. He got down from his vehicle leaving Harish to sit on the college girl’s scooty and started enquiring around about the accident.
“Excuse me, you have any information about the accident?”, he asked the auto driver Subbu, he stopped his conversation with the old couple and turned to his side. “What?” he questioned him. “About the accident… do you know anything”, Prasad’s voice shivered almost. “Not much, sir, my friend informed be some bus driver was drunken and drove the bus over vehicles without stopping for the red signal. One of the share auto also got hit by the bus it seems. Why, sir? Is anything serious?”
Subbu sounded concerned after understanding the fear on Prasad’s face. “My wife comes from the next block on the same road, she goes in a special two-wheeler for a physically challenged, I do not know what happened, she is not even answering my calls.” Prasad burst into tears and could not continue anymore.
Subbu, got out of his auto and tapped on his shoulders, “Sir, do not worry nothing would have happened to Madam”, as he consoled, “What happened to Mommy? Tel me Daddy!” little Harish heard it and asked. “Sorry sir, I don’t know he is your son. I am really sorry!” Subbu felt sorry for what he did. “It’s ok”, Prasad said to Subbu.
“Nothing, dear, I think Mom has won, she reached home before us and she is angry that we have not reached home yet. So she is not answering my calls, Once we go home, we will console her. That’s what auto uncle was telling not to worry.”
“Oh, is that so? Don’t worry, I will call Mom from my phone, she will talk to me”, he started searching for his cell phone-pencil box. All the three has no idea what to tell this little boy and let him do what he wished. Harish started mimicking as if her mother was talking to him.
“Sir, no point in waiting here, let me walk to the signal and check the accident. Give me a photo and the name of your wife, I will ask my friends too to check into the hospital,” as he said the word ‘hospital’, Prasad held his arm to stay alert of Harish and took him away from his sight to a distance. He took a photo of his wife and said “Her name is Kajal”.
“One minute, sir I will tell the passengers and come”, Subbu rushed to his auto. “Ji, you both please catch another auto if I do not come here when the traffic jam clears. I need to go on an important work”, Subbu told the old couple. They were listening to the conversation and said “OK, no Problem!, your conversation reached our ears, you please go and check”.
“See I told you not all the youngsters today are bad and you change your opinion about Love, look at that young husband who cries for his wife and she is physically disabled”, the old wife said to her husband. “I understand now, even the autowala I thought was not good, but that guy is so kind hearted to abandon his auto, which is his life’s source of income, for helping an unknown man. This generation also loves one another and compassionate about fellow humans” he exclaimed. “And… about our son’s love…” she dragged, “We will fix the marriage once we go home, he will be happy that I agreed right?” he smiled, she leaned on his shoulders.
“Sir, do not worry, nothing will happen to her, I pray I should not find Madam there. I hope that will be the news I will tell you.” Subbu replied so optimistically. Prasad gave his mobile number to him.
“Till now no answer from your wife, just a second…” as if she found some idea she rushed towards Sunil’s car, and knocked the windows slightly. Sunil got annoyed and changed the annoyance to a smile immediately after knowing that was a girl.
“Yes, What’s up?” he asked her. “Well, do you have an FM Radio in your car?”, she asked. He went a bit amused and questioned why. “See there is an emergency, we need to hear some updates about the accident, and usually they tell that in the breaks. Also, if we get a line on the callers’ program, we can ask them to convey a message to a person to contact us back” Without much interest in those emotional words “Well, you see I do not listen FM radios and all, for you I can help, please get in and do what you want to do. But I can wait here for you only till the road gets clear. ‘Cos, I need to go to an important meeting, ” he made his offer.
“Ok.. Ok.. Thank you just a minute” She turned back to Prasad and Subbu who was looking and said, “Ok, I try out these ways, you try calling her and you please go to the signal” she told Prasad and Subbu. “Hey, it’s boring here, you want to get into this car right? Let’s go.” She lifted Harish in her hands. Sunil’s face turned awkward as he got to know a little boy was going to play in his grand car. He thought he can pass some time with a girl. But everything changed before his eyes.
As she opened the door, Prasad dialed Kajal’s Number and Subbu was about to leave the place, “Hey what you people relaxing here? Do you think it’s a parking space? Go go… Move the traffic is getting cleared. Where are you going, leaving your auto here, go fast. Move the auto” A traffic police officer’s voice shouted.
They just looked at each other’s eyes and have no words to convey. But one thing was sure that the traffic jam got cleared. They will get the information about Prasad’s wife in a few minutes. They rushed for their vehicles and Sunil sighed relax as he can finally go to the party.
There was just a rush, no moments to talk to each other, all the four neared the signal and Sunil crossed it and headed towards his party without even turning his eyes towards the accident zone, “Yuck, I hate blood man”. His car disappeared in no time in the opposite direction.
The other three parked their vehicles on a side and started enquiring people there about which hospital, they have taken the injured. Prasad, left Harish to the college girl and ran to the accident spot, where the police was clearing people away. The old couple too got down from the auto and ran behind Prasad.
Some people said “A Traffic inspector has a list of injured people’s names and some IDs collected from the spot. There is that Police vehicle..” pointing a direction. The Traffic Inspector was surrounded by press people, “This is why we are advising people always to wear helmet, never drink and drive. This time it a careless bus driver who had drunk and came to his work. We are investigating further. Also one share auto was hit by the bus, which carried excess passengers. The fault is with everyone, so we cannot blame anyone in particular. Let us hope the casualties are less. The public too are helping us, we are moving the injured to the hospital, you can call this number for more details on the injured”, he finished and was about ti leave that spot in his patrol vehicle.
“Sir, Sir.. Wait,…” Subbu stopped the police vehicle. “Sir, we want to check the list of victims, Please stop”. They gave a list and Subbu started going through it, he wanted not to find her name in that list. Also the Police had a box contained many Voter IDs, Licenses, Credit cards, etc. “Tell the name” asked the Police. “Kajal”, said the college girl. She too started searching the box, which has some blood here and there.
At the same time, Prasad was arguing with the police to let him go and see the faces. “Sir, please go to the hospital and check, there are enough volunteers to help, we do not want to create a stampede here. Please move” shouted a police officer.
The old couple intervened and shouted back at the police to let him go and check. At last the police allowed him. He could not bear the scene as he found little kids and a few humans taken dead and many were severely injured. Sadness surrounded the place. There were public volunteers who also help the medical team to take the injured to the hospital. Prasad was looking at every face, so as Subbu and the girl, checking the names.
Prasad could not find his wife there, also he could not smile for that after seeing all the people suffer. But he got relieved in some way. As he was saying the old couple “She is not there”, he spotted Subbu running towards him. “Sir, Not there.. Not there.. Sir, madam’s name is not there.” Subbu shouted in joy, but closer her get to the accident spot his smiles disappeared from his face looking at the people crying.
“Where is Harish?” asked Prasad. “With that girl” replied Subbu. They walked towards the police vehicle where they saw that girl on her knees crying loud, hugging Harish. The panic engulfed them as they walk near and Prasad has no strength to hear that. “I found her license there!” she said to them and broken down to tears. Prasad has no strength to bear it and fallen down. “Sir, get up! We go to the hospital and we check!” Subbu tried lifting him. But Prasad seemed like lost his senses and broken into tears. The girl hugged Harish tight to not to turn and see his father cry.
“Why God is like this?” tears drenched even the old couples’ eyes. They were wordless to console him.
Prasad smashed mud in the puddle shouting “Why? Why I left you to work? I wanted you not to feel incapable, so I wanted you to work. I wanted you to feel confident and not to feel anyway inferior because of being physically challenged, not for money to buy a home or a car dear, why you left me for that?, It’s all my fault.. my fault… I am incapable of taking care of you…”
His phone dropped from his pocket and it started vibrating… “Grrr.. Grr…” Subbu took it and answered. “Hello, where are you? I thought I would lose the game today. There was a review meet in our branch office, so I went there the afternoon itself, sorry dear, I was unable to tell you and even unable to answer your calls, I am so sorry sweetheart, one stupid national head asked us to keep the mobiles in silent mode. That’s why, dear, I know you would be disappointed. But I am even more than you not to find both of you here. I bought some toys for Harish, where are you why you are not talking?….” said the voice Subbu turned the speaker mode on at the moment as he seen “Wife calling…” in the mobile.
Prasad hugged Harish and answered “Honey, we are coming home and we talk there, some guests are also coming”.
Everyone was so happy at this moment amid of the losses around for others. The very human nature. It was not that they were less concerned, but a sense of relief that the beloved ones were safe. This feeling can only be understood only if you have a family.
All of them started to Prasad’s home.
Meanwhile… Sunil reached the pub, he gave the keys to the security to park and his friend Jeff greeted him warmly with a hug, “Hey, Uncle Sam is late for the party… come on man!”, “Jeffy, where is the girls dude? Have I made it on time?” asked Sunil. “Yep, Dude, they are yet to reach. Think they are in a traffic jam too… 😉 No Probs man we demand some special treat for being late”, Jeff winked. “Hey… Got it man!” Sunil winked back and asked “by the way, who’s that girl comes along with your girlfriend? Have we met her before?” “Nope dude, even I have not seen her before she is some college chick I guess”, said Jeff.
“What’s her name Jeffy” asked Sunil, but Jeff glued his eyes to some girls passing by and went behind them, seemed not listening to Sunil’s words. Sunil followed him.
Back in Prasad’s home, Kajal got to know everything and was unsure how to react. Prasad held her hands so tight to feel even her heartbeats. As they talk, Subbu conveyed that he need to go home and after dropping the old couple so he wanted to move and promised he would come back along with his wife some other time.
So did the old couple, she said “We will come to invite you to my son’s wedding, our son loves a girl and he (indicating her husband) is opposing him till date, because of religious differences. But today, these last few hours have changed him completely. Seeing your love and Subbu’s concern, he started seeing the good things in the world. Even this girl is so kind, matured and bold beyond her age to help others”.
“Yes, I was so mean to my son’s love and had total disrespect towards today’s youngster’s but it took only few good people and a few hours to change me” said the old man and they were about to leave the home.
“Jeffy, man you stop this, why you are chasing them, let our girls come!, call them”, “What’s the other girl’s name? Give me her number, let me try” said Sunil.
“But I messed up everything by looking at the wrong identity. There was a license said “Kajal” and I thought I was you, I am so sorry” the college girl regretted. “It’s ok, all is well and Prasad sees so many silly mistakes like that every day done by me, you feel relaxed”, said Kajal. Prasad looked at her, “Oh is it? Then you need to wash this muddy shirt then!” They all smiled.
Jeff gave a number to Sunil and he dialed it immediately.
The college girl’s phone was ringing and “excuse me”, she just said to them and answered the call.
“Hey Jeff she answered dude, to hell with you, tell her name man, how do I call her”, Sunil hurried. She started talking in the other end…
“Sorry da, I got struck in a traffic jam and I am unable to make it there on time. Please do not mistake, the situation is so critical here, I will explain you everything when I meet you direct…” she got more tensed, realizing that there were so many missed calls and messages.
“Talk to me da, Shiva. I know your parents are coming today and I need to meet them, but here there is an emergency I will come and meet them today definitely. I know they hate me because of our religious difference, but let us explain them, I believe in my character and love, they will accept me” she said.
Suddenly she felt her hands on some shoulders. “Tell him that if he want to marry someone, it will be only the girl whom we are seeing now! We do not mind what religion she is, but she already impressed us, ” said the old man. “I am Shiva’s mother, and we are here to meet you only, shall we go to your home and decide when can we have the marriage?” said the old woman.
“Bless me Aunty, Bless my Uncle, I am that Catherine that your son loves” she asked for their blessings. They blessed her. Smiles filled every one’s face. “Hey Shiva we are coming to meet you da“, She left her Scooty there and joined the old uncle and aunty. Subbu waved ta ta to little Harish and started his auto.
“Hey her name is Kajal” replied Jeff. “Oh is it!” Sunil resumed the call “Hello Kajal,” “Sir first listen to us, do you know this person named Kajal? She met with an accident and admitted in the GH now, if you can come you can take care of her. Hello.. Sir, can you hear me? Sir..” asked the voice. “Hey, what’s up dude, what she’s telling?” asked Jeff. Sunil disconnected the call and said “Nothing dude, seems, she can’t make it to the party, leave her, why not we try our luck with those girls, seems they are singles here, you check whether they ready to mingle?”. They just moved towards the gang of girls. “Hey Girls What’s up, Shall we Party together”
Nobody decides what life holds up next to each one of us. Anything may happen. Love and Kindness add value to every moment we live. Enjoyment is not always what one can have alone for self, but it is sharing the thin and thick of life together with our beloved ones. Only twist in the tale is we do not know who are the beloved ones. We earn them as we go on living our life.
There are stylish people like the Sunil character in this story who shows them off like always happy goers. But in reality, you see only fake people constantly replaced around them. They never even felt just once what a true love feels like. It’s is waste to explain such selfish people, also hardly they feel it. On the contrary, there are good people as well. Catherine’s character is just like any youth who is stylish, but who understands the morality of love and commitment. Some couples like Prasad and Kajal do exist in the real world.
When it comes to old people, it is tough to change their minds. We cannot expect them to think more forward like us. But we can make them feel what we feel and let them choose to adapt rather insisting them or disrespecting them. All it takes patience and perseverance to convince them, if they are righteous and our intentions are righteous, they will change.Externally we should not evaluate people. Subbu’s character is one such who do not know how to behave, but inside he is a good soul. Only when we understand them by spending some time with them, we can realize it.
Overall Time can change anything. It is magical. Hope you all enjoyed this story. I will be back with another one soon. Please read my stories on my blog www.propelsteps.wordpress.com
– Dinesh Kumar Radhakrishnan
© Propel Steps 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Propel Steps and Dinesh Kumar Radhakrishnan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.