A Speck of Life
A/N: I’ve had issues with grammar and tenses. You all know that. In this writ, I paid as close an attention to those issues as I could. Since I’d set the whole in past tense, I guess that the word “this” shouldn’t appear. Wherever ‘this’ came, I replaced it with ‘that.’ (With a few exceptions because such are universal truths); and also I substituted all the ‘is’ with ‘was’; all of the ‘can’ with ‘could’; all the ‘will’ with ‘would.’ Is what I did correct?
And I noticed that Booksie had disrupted my format >.< I had formatted it very neatly but Booksie spoiled it... Anyway, forget the glitches. I'm tired to set it right... All new paragraphs should be treated as a separate paragraph with a 'tab' added to it.
Moderate, south Indian weather, appropriate to that hour.
The street lacked trees and traffic; except for a very few vehicles, rarely. The setting was near Café Day, the place where they sell coffee 10 times less tastier than your mom’s make, yet loot your money—the choice of high-profiled people, especially girls who are blessed with rich foolish fathers, who buy themselves nothing and provide their family everything; who never question anything, and never check how sickeningly their money was spent by their so-called family.
Along with the engine roared his pride. Though a professional that he was, that that is but a piece of cake, he felt the same hesitation that will surge inside an artiste before his/her first night, which can’t be called stage fright. It is just a want to be averred that all will be well, which, is evident that none can predict; no mathematician can calculate the probability of a failure. Failure on the 1st night will bum out an artiste’s career, and thus the anxiety can be justified; but, that, to him, though may not blight his career, he considered it important. It is, to him, a humiliation, should he fail to prove his skills in front of that indifferent bevy—indifferent, or perhaps factitious apathy—though he was not asked to, nor was he not wanted to perform, when a free performance is shown.
R. S. Puram, one of the richest areas of Coimbatore, is about to host his performance. The residents of Coimbatore, especially the young adults, knew that that place is a harbour for high-profiled, rich “figures.” Figures, everyone knows, in local dialect, refers to girls, in particular, unmarried and beautiful. They call girls “figures,” as if they are but numbers, or diagrams.
A comely girl, the same word which had been twisted as “homely” by Tamils, upon continued usage, is referred to as “Super figure,” and less attractive girls as “Sappa figure.”—“Sappa,” a word that doesn’t belong to Tamil, but was rather invented to refer to something trivial, useless, and unimportant.
He shifted his gear from neutral to first; simultaneously accelerating.
Two heads turned.
He put 2nd gear picking up a little more.
Roar. Smoke. Acceleration.
Who knows how many heads turned!
There! He slides back, in as quick as a lightning, to the pillion’s seat lifting the front part of the carrier, the tail light grazing the tarmac surface (he had already a special cover made that safeguarded the rear light from damage).
The performance had started.
Up went the front wheel.
Down went his spine.
The vehicle’s frame was inclined.
In dynamic friction, was his tail-light cover, with the neat tarmac.
The cover, due to consistent usage and wear, was pallid. Riding to a distance that is manageable, to about 20 metres in consistency, he reverted to ordinary position, braking. His friends clapped; thumbed up; patted his back; hugged; praised.
Mission accomplished! The crew that saw awestruck just when he was performing, out of the compelling master, that is, their collective ego (always creeps in in a group), threw in a pretence, then, as he saw them, as if haven’t seen him at all. Choosing dresses, they maintained internally, is more difficult than performing motorbike stunts.
Maybe they’re right!
“Do you know that our universe is, at least, 12 billion years old?”
“As if I care,” he snapped.
“Sneha’s age is 17,” a wily smile lingered on his friend’s lips, pronouncing these words.
“Ah! That’s, umm, one important information!” He answered in alacrity.
“No matter what you do she won’t budge. Your stunts, your dance, err, nothing seems to move her to the least extent.”
“Damn! You think I spent 5000 rupees in vain? I spent 5000 and a month bedridden to learn that shit stunting.”
Nothing can drive a man as crazy as infatuation, the microcosm of concupiscence, can. The same drove Kamal too. They say that one’s reigns over one’s mind will decay in adolescence; during the ineluctable lunacy of one’s teenage. Little did they notice that even upon the termination of teenage, the mind may remain languid, to some, like Kamal.
“Listen!” His friend spoke to him, his voice almost intonated with commandment, “She’s not your type. Try someone else. Get a girl our age. After all, you’re 3 years older than that she was!”
“Two,” posing as if being laconic, he turned his face the other way.
Kamal can be taken to be the stereotype of a south Indian college student. He’s in his 2nd year, equipped with nothing whatsoever that is taught in the previous year. He, at times, wondered, often aloud, that he communicated to his friends that he still couldn’t believe how he passed 3 semesters with a CGPA of 8.1 (Cumulative Grade Point Average of 8.1 out of 10). Of the many qualities his personality was infused with, boasting is one—more like his unconscious nature. Weighing 118 pounds and standing at 5’8”, with his coolers (that he wears whenever he is out), he won’t look like a middle-class guy in first impression that, almost, everyone, including his close friends, too, took him to be a rich person. His father, who was a postmaster (whose profession Kamal told to none but only to the college credentials, in text) lived all his life just for the sake of Kamal, who had had lost his wife 3 years back, just a week before Kamal’s 17th birthday.
His only negative, according to none, for no one really cares about it, but according to him for he alone considers it important and thinks about it all the time, and the same, he exaggeratingly hallucinated to be a hindrance to his sex-appeal, is his dark complexion. The negative thinking manifested itself as his inferiority complex. Such a low confidence that he had, that even if a group of girls come opposite to him in the same walkway (especially their college campus walkway which was thin that only 2 can walk adjacently; one will get reminded of the story of 2 goats on a bridge story, should a third person come), he would feel something uncomfortable snail inside him, which will make him bow his head down to the floor and walk in the same manner until he would cross them; and upon once crossing, his head would elevate high, and he would whine that he missed seeing them. That happened always, and he would boast, even this, to his friends saying that ‘It takes courage to meet a girl eye-to-eye. I don’t have that. No never possible, it seems.’ Though it is not a matter to be boastful of, yet he would boast, like a teetotaller would, before a crew of drunkards, not to mention that Kamal was a teetotaller.
His distinguishing features, as per his Higher Secondary (11th and 12th standards are called ‘higher secondary,’ in India, the same is known as Junior College in many other countries; high school is a term applied only for grades 6th to 10th) School Transfer Certificate (TC), are two moles, one just below his left lower lip, to be precise for he’d measured it, is about 7 millimetres below his lip, and the other on his abdomen of about a centimetre in diameter, which, in reality, is cam-shaped, with the larger base at the bottom and the nose at top.
Kamal was a good student in school—‘was’ being the keyword. Used to be the topper of his class, always, at school, he belonged to the category of persons (scarce) who are able to stay on course during adolescence. If teenage was to be assumed a war, then the ante-bellum was not observed, the during-bellum was cool and composed, but the post-bellum became a tragedy (the belligerents being his mind-control and the anomalies of puberty). All his pent-up emotions during adolescence burst open that he became an addict to pornography after he leaped out of adolescence.
Addiction of any type, once should enter one’s life, is, almost, impossible to be eliminated, and by the time it quits, impeccably, irrevocably, would have already ruined one’s life. This had butchered Kamal’s studies and his ability to concentrate.
“Damn! Just a miss,” cursed Kamal, which he delivered to his friend aloud, “had I got 5 more seconds, I should have crossed the signal.”
“Oh c’mon, leave it. That’s not a big deal. We can wait,” replied his friend; both waiting in a signal in Avinashi Road, in their own bikes, in adjacent positions. Ahead of them lay the PSG College of Technology, one of the most important colleges of not just Coimbatore (the no.1 in Coimbatore), but also of Asia, for it beholds the most technically advanced Mechanical Engineering department (the hearsay that still exists among engineering students of Coimbatore) in the entire of Asia—though Kamal hasn’t seen any proof of it, nor did other multitudes of people who even didn’t try to check the credibility of the information; he believed in it, which often formed a part of their conversations; it resulted in a mixed feeling of resentment, jealousy, despondency, despair, and amazement. “PSG has the best mechanical department in Asia,” he would often cringe saying that, especially while having coffee in their college canteen (which again is, according to him, inferior to PSG canteen), “and we have, hmmpf, nothing here!” Everything in PSG is superior, according to him. Perchance, they all are winged creatures?
Kamal was studying Mechanical Engineering in Government College of Technology, often abbreviated to as GCT, which is the second best college of Coimbatore, just next to PSG. He always considered PSG Mechanical guys as his enemies, an innate emotion that took birth when he went to counselling** itself, where he had no vacancies for PSG Mechanical. He failed to see the luck that he was bestowed with, for he resides in Sai Baba Colony which is but one kilometre from GCT—a 5 minute walk-able distance from home (though he can go to college by foot, he always went in his two-wheeler). Not many will get such a boon, which he refused to acknowledge, though he’d seen the toils of his friends who go once or twice a month to their native places—it was such a tiresome, and annoying thing to pack up, make a 10 hour journey just to see your mom and dad for the weekends, where actually one whole day will fly by in the travel, making it technically a one-day-stay at home; and the hostellers were ‘cursed,’ as per the hostellers, that they had to eat the half-boiled hostel rice and insipid hostel sambar, for the rest of the week. Kamal, too, in a way, was cursed to eat bland food, for his dad is not much of a cook.
He saw, at a distance, the bridge that was built indigenously by PSG Civil Engineering students, for road crossing, as opposed to subway—a wonder as well as a tummy-burn.*
20 seconds left.
He tortured the acceleration cable by twisting it continuously (in idle gear), that emitted both noise and smoke, unnecessarily, affecting the environment with noise pollution and emission, in which he found some inexplicable hidden delight, unconsciously.
His mind brought to surface the moment his priceless (priced, but literally priceless) possession was compelled to be under serfdom—thank God, that it cannot rebel for rights, against this slavery. He went to the sales outlet where he was shown the row of bikes, all white. The entire view looked like a white coverlet being spread out in exposure to sun. All the dooms were facing westwards, that is, facing the other side, uniformly, like a troop of drill marchers. What a view it is to see such a platoon from the flank! They slowly walked along the line of bikes, all standing begging to be bought, yet maintaining their ‘machine-ly’ pride. The salesperson kept on telling something, but nothing entered his ears, and all entered his dad’s, to no avail, for he couldn’t understand these technical specifications. As they went along, only one doom faced eastwards, that is, facing him!
That, he thought, to be the portent for a buy. He always boasted that to his friends that it was not he who chose the bike but it was the bike that chose him. What a pride, indeed!
TVS Apache RTR 180cc. 15.5 Nm at 6500 rpm. 0 to 60 in 4.15 seconds, ABS. Petal Disc brakes system. Maximum speed of 125 kilometres per hour. Stylish. Masculine. But, all apart, for he doesn’t belong to the strand of people who will buy anything based on its performance. His mind was programmed to prefer to aesthetic properties; better the look of any object is, higher will be his chances of buying, and provided he’d the money that it takes to. Apache, needless to say, is supremely classy.
The bike that had, of recent times, kidnapped the entire two-wheeler-automobile market, was his proud possession, the endurance limit of which—the results of superior design, (hail the engineers!)—is definitely one that deserves applause. He had nicknamed his bike as White Buffalo. True to its name, it stood as gallant as a buffalo, only that it has no life and buffalos are not white.
5 more seconds left.
He was about to throttle forward...
“Hey!!!”—emanated an anonymous warning voice from the back, and before could anyone react, a rider from behind, crossed the signal even while it was in red, and there, alas! He collided into the back of a private town bus numbered S11. He was thrown away in impact, sideward, which, to a truck that came just behind the bus is unexpected, that even before could reflex action of the truck driver respond, the rider went into the tyres. The whole atmosphere changed into a rude shock. The air carried waves of excitement, and fear. Almost all the gears died back to neutral, and some engines were shut off (albeit a few ‘I-don’t-care’ type people curved along the bloody road and went). The crushed bike and the crushed rider, who died in the spot itself, were strewn at the middle of the road; the rider’s face cannot be seen for it had been destroyed by the tyres and almost became like a red jelly—a terrible view to behold.
A completely unforeseen shock! The fragments attracted crowds. Kamal, too, joined the flux of people who scrutinized the situation. Kamal’s friend is allergic to blood that he will faint on seeing pool of blood, and hence he stayed where he was, head down, eyes shut, palms closing off ears as if the oozing blood will make some noise. Kamal saw the whole of horror. No one dared to move until a Traffic Constable came, followed by ambulance and police. Kamal slithered out of the scene to avoid inquiries from the police.
“What a horrible news it is!”
“Which is?” asked Kamal, reclining on sofa and watching EPL replays on ESPN. Chelsea (vs.) Birmingham City, 1-1; Daniel Sturridge’s 61st minute goal averted a defeat—he detested that Sturridge became the star, for his favourite player is Fernando Torres. He knew the result of the game. He just wanted to fritter his time away in something—something useless, for time was such a worthless commodity to him. How paradoxical it is to note how some things that were valued least by a set of people is valued by another set as precious! One second to us is but infinitesimal, the same to an Olympic athlete is gargantuan!
“On Avinashi Road, an accident, errr, the boy spot dead,” reported his father, “poor guy. He was a final year PSG Mechanical student.”
Kamal said nothing but just set out a moan like “pch!”—an indication that his dad must comprehend that Kamal is sympathizing. Half-consciously, and unfocusedly, Kamal stared into the TV which displayed The Axe Effect advertisement (his father also compelled to see whatever that was on display). Kamal’s mind reeled back to the incident. He, almost soliloquisingly, decided not to race, and do stunts again. His mind was filled with memories of the horrific incidence; he wanted to pump out those to get a fresh, clean mind—as clean and unused as a new slate. He walked up to the refrigerator, absent-mindedly, and pouted at himself, for he had opened it for particularly no reason. Heaving a big sigh, as if along with the exhale all the images that his mind beheld will also fly, he took the water bottle and drank some chill water. Closing the door again, he returned to his duty—to indulge in his dad’s sweat.
The poor laity’s sweat can take shapes of only food (it can afford nothing but food). The rich won’t even sweat, in general; mostly; stereotypically; literally. The only thing that is truly amoebic is the middleclass men’s sweat. The sweat of Kamal’s dad took various forms like TV, fridge, washing machine, and so on. Middle class boys are wont to spend their dad’s blood on faking pomposity and affluence, to gaining a better image amongst the girl population.
He indulged in TV—his dad’s sweat.
The four leafed fan—his dad’s sweat.
Refrigerator—his dad’s sweat.
Apache RTR 180cc—his mom’s dowry. His mother came to ‘live’ with his father, with the pay of about 300,000 rupees. She, being a clever woman, had safeguarded it all her life. She had had set up a joint account with Kamal, who will become proprietor once he turn 18, and the asset will be his, after her decease. She died, and he became the owner of the money!—though for one year he was not allowed to handle it, as he was then only 17. When Kamal turned 18, the first thing that Kamal bought, from that money, was his White Buffalo.
Everything minus the motorbike is the output of his dad’s sweat. To put it simply, Kamal is equal to his dad’s sweat.
“Have no assignment to do?” his dad asked, partly with care and partly with selfishness, “Go and study. Let me see the news.”
“No assignment,” he answered as plain as possible.
“Well, anyway I want to see the news. Can you please?”
With dismay radiating from his face to the ambience, he changed the channel to Sun News; carelessly throwing the remote controller onto the sofa which had hosted his frame until then, he walked into his room, and falling onto his bed, flipped open his laptop. That, too, was a product of his father’s sweat!
There existed not a friendly relationship between the parent and the son. They just co-existed, in adsorption rather than to be in absorption, like oil on water. Kamal’s mother was the longitude that connected both the poles, and after her demise, the relationship between son and dad, automatically, was emulsified.
“Look at him. His own mother is dead, but he’s just standing emotionless,” someone in some corner, hiding deliberately, whispered to someone else, “like a rock.” Presumably, both are Kamal’s relatives.
That, though was a whisper, addressed to only the other person, carried enough decibels that it reached the son who was being referred to; or rather, being attacked. Some intense feeling of guilt, accorded by realization, spread through him, polluting him, like an ink drop into milk. He realized that he didn’t shed a single tear but rather stood glued to the same wall for about 3 hours, in silence. He didn’t even show in his face any signs of misery but sustained a plain visage. He apprehended that he had never given importance to the being that brought him to this world; though sperms, too, has had an indispensible part in his making, it is the egg that hosted and nurtured him.
Kamal, yet, cannot bring out the colourless liquid from his eyes, that “must” flow upon misery, especially on such an important death. He observed that even his father was crying. He couldn’t help it.
“Men don’t cry”—he always had had beheld that quote. Not that because of this principle that he didn’t cry, but, in reality, he couldn’t help it.
He just couldn’t help it.
Back then, he knew not that he’d lost the only grip that he ever had had; the only creature, irreplaceable in position that cared for him the most. Though his dad loved, and cared for him, it couldn’t substitute his mother’s love—pure, unconditional and infallible love. The shout of English dictionaries was correct that they carry separate terms for each—paternal and maternal—it never can feel like the love of the lost one, to which he regretted for not giving importance all his lifetime, then. In short, fatherly love never can replace his mother’s—that, he started to painstakingly realize only later; only after her death.
Things got for free will perform, look, shine, smell, and taste less compared to things that are bought. Her love was given in abundance though it was unasked for, and hence the above rule befitted that—her love shined less, and was not valued much by him.
A month had gone by, after that horrible accident, in a pace that was unnoticeable and immeasurable.
Wat xam 2day?
Hall n tym?
i gues 231.as usual 9.30.
An indescribable happiness lingered upon his visage that his friend, too, hadn’t studied. ‘United we stand, divided we fall!’ he thought. His concept is: if to live well, do it alone, and if to perish, do it together.
After he had set out to get ready, he sent a final SMS:
c u @col.
Kamal wasn’t even aware of the part of syllabus that he had for Strength of Materials paper (2nd internal exam) that day. He remembered how he wrote his 1st internals, especially the two-mark questions.
1. What is Young’s modulus?
It is denoted as E. It is also called Modulus of Elasticity. (A tick and one mark out of two)
2. What is Mohr’s Circle?
It was invented by Mohr. (A tick and one mark).
3. What is resilience?
The property of regaining the previous shape after deformetion. (A tick, an oval around ‘deformetion’ and one and a half mark).
4. What are the types of beams?
Cantilever, supported, fixed. (A tick and one mark).
5. What is direct stress?
The stress that is direct is direct stress. (A cross mark).
After the exam, he became the loci of laughter for a few of his friends that he narrated, of course, adding something more than what he did, what he wrote; a few told him the answers with certain expressions like “Oh god!” “Haha man, that’s foolish!” “Insane!” “You’re a freak to having written that!” etc.
The marks pattern ran through Kamal’s mind, out of the blue, whilst he took shower. Every subject, as if it is the universal rule, is to be written for 100 marks. A typical student will have to write each semester exam for 100 marks, (a 180 minutes test), which will get reduced, in ratio, to 75—simply multiply by 0.75. That is 50 marks out of 100 will become 37.5 for 75. The remaining 25 will be awarded by the internal examiner. Internal exams, to GCT students, were but a joke.
The internal exam criteria consists of attendance percentage to 5 marks; record notebook or assignments to 5 marks; and internal exams, which GCTians uniquely call as unit test (UT), for 15 marks. Thus it makes 25! In a semester, each student is expected to write 3 assignments, that is, for 30 marks which will be reduced, in ratio, to 5; and 3 UTs each for 50, that is, for 150 marks in total, which will be reduced, in ratio, to 15. The summation of UT marks, assignments and attendance will award a candidate, the internal marks—most students will gain in the range of 18 to 23, even if the student was not proper.
Highly tedious the conversion process is, but has had a definite edge because their college was autonomous (their own staffs set question paper, conduct exams and their own staffs value the papers). He got 31/50 in the 1st internal, he remembered, and affirmed to himself that it is enough to get 30 in the 2nd that he was about to write and in 3rd exam he vowed to get 40. His target was to make 100 out of 150—always content with what he was capable of!—and this applies only to his academics, and he was never content in anything else.
He checked his Fast Track watch that he’d bought for Rs. 1199/- 3 months back. 9.11am. Satisfied. During the buy of which, his dad had questioned the usefulness of the watch. “Why Kamal? It is 1200 rupees! A 100 rupee watch can also show time.” Kamal was unmovable. He had seen that same scene in 3 Idiots, and when he did, he had whistled for the same scene (with friends, in theatre). The same when materialized in his own life, he dithered. Ego, his subtle master, had obscured the truth by clouding his wit’s vision, then.
As usual without telling even ‘bye!’ to his dad, he exited home.
He drove slowly, reached Venkittapuram signal and was about to take left when he noticed a No Free Left signboard. He was amazed because it always was a free left. That board had germinated out of nowhere all of a sudden. He wanted to ignore the board, like most of the Indian drivers, and take a left when he spotted a Traffic Constable standing there. Hence, Kamal changed his decision and halted.
The greatest pride of a driver is to override signals, in the absence of the policeman (Kamal often joked that the pride of a driver is equal to the number of persons one had killed). It is considered further a greater achievement to override it in a policeman’s presence, who in most cases wouldn’t care to chase any refractory, unless and until his mistress should ask him to buy something that evening. Should that event be triggered, like chaos theory, one event leading up to another, he will suddenly become duty-conscious (!), and would catch everyone who breach laws. But who knows if his mistress asked something or not! So the common mass will opt to stay on the safer side and take no risks, whenever they spot a policeman.
While waiting, Kamal glanced up at the CCTV cameras installed above all the signal posts. He laughed internally at the efficacy of such a scheme. The CCTV was installed all over Coimbatore on major signal posts and the telecast was monitored by specially appointed personnel. For the 1st two or three days, the scheme made all the law-benders’ stomach churn, for it was observed in so strict a manner. Kamal’s neighbour was found to have gone a little over the STOP line on the 1st day of the CCTV installation in a signal near Ramanathapuram. The neighbour narrated that the next day the police knocked his door, and collected fine, showing the CCTV evidence. The news made everyone agitate. “Just a little after STOP line and Fined?” (F in caps) The general mass that is accustomed to always ignoring the STOP line was shaken to find this out. And that scheme, too, like most other schemes, failed, after a week of its inception. The non-functional CCTVs all over the city started gathering filth thereupon, and the CCTV panel vanished.
Kamal never wore helmets. That was another comedy about the Coimbatore Corporation, which had once passed a rule to wear compulsory helmets and seatbelts. That too, was in effect; alive, only for a week (during which, Kamal had used streets rather than to use roads to escape from the police). The most ridiculous thing is that, in a period of 6 months, the rule was implemented twice and failed both the times. The only output that it was able to produce was the accelerated sales of two-wheeler helmets.
“Why are you silent?”
“No nothing,” he said, smiling.
“You’re smiling. What does it mean?”
“No Sneha, nothing, they are-”
“So, you won’t listen to me?” she cut him short. He was about to speak. She interrupted again. “So you don’t want to speak to me?”
“For God’s sake, shut up, Sneha. I never-”
“So, you’re bored of me?” she persisted. He kept mum again, internally raging. “Fine!” she muttered and walked away.
It was just 4 days old—their love! They had, in 4 days, fought 6 times. Every time, it is he who had to take the placatory measures. She never gave in. He decided to not cling to her anymore. His brain said “Move on!” His foolish heart said nothing but weighed too much. He still loved her. Truly, and deeply.
The uniqueness of teenage girls, of his generation, he reflected, as if he’s a philosopher, is to extrude meanings that were never said; meanings that the speaker have never even imagined in his wildest of dreams. State something in one meaning and they will interpret it in 21 ways. (He wondered where did that 21 come from and felt awkward). Say nothing and they will take it in 2000 ways!
Intellect had won the game.
Gandhipuram signal. He wanted to make a right turn to get to Race Course, the richest area in Coimbatore where he had himself seen a Ferrari and Audi R8, much to his surprise (such luxuries will come out only in off peak hours, that is, after 11pm). To his left, he saw a signpost (a red pole and a circular white write-area) that read Free Left. Just half a foot ahead from that post, he saw another post, the write-area being partially covered with spits of hookah that said No Free Left. He laughed to himself at that visible parody.
The signal was shut off, and a Traffic Constable was standing in the middle of the road where 4 roads meet. 16.30 hrs. He realized that that was load shedding time—the reason behind the employ of a Traffic Police there. The scheduled compulsory 8 hour cut! Scheduled is 8, unscheduled was ‘who knows!’ He reminisced that day before yesterday, they had cut ten and a half hours. How pathetic a government! What a rule! They can’t even provide the basic needs of people. The previous rule only had cut 2 hours per day and now! Insane! 8 hours!
Two or three droplets fell on his hand. The sky was found to be a little darker than usual. He wondered how damaged the climate was, for that was not rainy season. Humans are culpable (Global Warming) for this sin. He cursed every other human forgetting the fact that they, too, own fridge, motorbike, etc. Coimbatore, the city with the best climate in the whole of Tamilnadu, is now deteriorating to nothing. A morbid decadence, indeed! The rain should not come or it should come after ten pm.
He made his way to Race Course, in short a time, thanks to his bike’s performance. He was a little disappointed for there were not much crowd as he had expected. Sunday evening, but no crowd! He was fretting over the pathetic realization.
He waited for 10 more minutes when a white Skoda Superb glided past him and took its stand. Parked. Out came 5 girls, in modern dress, all, in and around 18. Perfect!
They noticed that Kamal is looking at them. He purposely had left the helmet so that he could wear coolers. (He had bought helmet the 2nd time when the compulsory-helmet rule was passed; the taking-streets-and-avoiding-main-roads phase lay in the era when the rule was put for the 1st time). Wearing the coolers, he adjusted his made-up ‘spikes’ that was seated upon his head.
The performance started.
Up went the front wheel.
Down went his spine.
Was inclined the vehicle’s frame.
In dynamic friction, his tail-light cover, with the neat tarmac.
The pallid cover went off, unexpectedly, due to continued wear. The quick furthering of inclination affected his equilibrium.
His arms trembled.
Sweat pores shrieked, ejaculating an enormous amount of the salty solution, within two seconds.
The white buffalo jerked out of his control.
“Shit!”—that’s the last word that his vocal chords emitted before the wheels skidded, dragging his body. Yes, shit. Everything is shit, his life included. The spectators (girls) panicked, while one of them, in her Android phone, rang to 108 as quick as possible. 108—the Tamilnadu free ambulance service, a good scheme introduced by the previous Chief Minister before 3 years then. Kamal was lying with his left side skin completely being abraded because of the drag, and with body full of burns; face down, glued to the regular tarmac underneath; right-half nose bleeding; left-half chin torn and in much damage; mouth open; lips bleeding and pouring out blood. His clothes were badly torn and the blue jeans was pattered with blood at many places, non-uniformly. Coolers cannot be found. His bike lay at about 10 metres from where he fell, full of damage. Crowd gathered around him en bloc, but no one daring to touch. He doesn’t know where his bike was. He doesn’t know where he was; and how he was.
He tried to get up, but felt his entire body numb. He couldn’t move a single muscle, yet he was not aware that he was badly hit. He felt much sleepy, which he was unable to restrain. With his evanescing vision, he saw a red high heels stand for a few seconds and start to walk away. When those heels went away, a few other heels followed the former.
One person, supposedly a doctor, who happened to see the crowd on passing-by that way, penetrated towards the centre; and seeing the half-dead man, lifted his head; and putting it upon his lap, tried to do some first-aid. That was when the anonymous physician noticed that blood was pouring out of Kamal’s right ear.
*Tummy-burn à phrase used in a local dialect that refers to “jealousy.”
**counselling à Counselling is Tamilnadu’s style... There will be a common place where all students who applied for engineering seats will congregate and choose the colleges that are available for them; availability is automated in computers, according to their marks and the availability of total seats. The chances should go low and low, as each and every seat will be taken by the previous candidates. (Separate counselling for medical, the same way). Not like in USA, where each student has to apply for numerous universities. Here, except for a few universities who conduct their own entrance exams, seats are based on marks obtained. (Entrance was cancelled before 6 years).