One cloudy Tuesday afternoon on the motorway
The car splutters, wheezes, coughs and despite fervent prayers to your favourite gods, dies on you. You were lucky enough to be on the outside lane and you somehow manoeuvre your way to the hard shoulder. What’s the instruction in such instances? Stay in car? Or get out as quickly as you can? Where’s the AA card? Oh yes, you never renewed the breakdown cover after it expired unused last January. Damn. At least the kids are not crying. Not yet anyway. Should you call the police? Where’s the mobile? Thank god, there’s plenty of battery left in it. But is there enough credit to make a call? Why does it have to happen today? Why can’t you crawl back to being a kid? And not be in charge of everything?
Like that time when the train broke down and they said that it would take a whole day to resume the journey. You were stranded in the middle of nowhere. And there was only enough food and water left for a couple of hours. There were rumours about bandits attacking the train at night. You saw your father close to tears for the first time ever. But all that mattered to you was playing Antakshari with your sister and fighting over comic books. Your parents would sort troubles out. That’s what adults were there for. Presently, you hear a fight breaking out in the back seat. And you hear yourself mutter, ‘Now, now, don’t start, the two of you. Amma’s gonna take care of everything’.