The Storm Within

The Storm Within
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SLURP……

Sipping on a hot masala tea in a yellow Styrofoam cup. I Leaned myself towards the bonnet of my car facing the beach. The roar of the waves was more aggressive than an angry lion.

Feet firmly planted on the ground I look up at a defiant sky, the dome of our existence. I see no fairness there, no sense of responsibility, no boundaries. Some days are dark, angry, bitter spitting rain, hail, fire and brimstone. Other days calm, serene with light fluffy clouds as if there wasn’t a care in the world.

The orangish reddish clouds change shape after every few minutes. Sometimes a horse, sometimes to an evil monster and sometimes to SpongeBob square pants. I wonder maybe it’s how clouds communicate to us, not sure why the SpongeBob though???

Maybe they want to say, “Stay calm and absorb only the positive vibes. Let go of rest?”

Or maybe I am trying to make meaning out of something which is not necessary??

The kids were sliding sand from the red bucket to build their own masterpiece of a sandcastle.

 Giggling, happy and super excited to show their mom their new creation. It also had a barrier from the waves. I am pretty sure for these kids it’s stronger than the great wall of china.

How do I know it??

Well, it is just a nostalgic feeling of my childhood, which I almost forgot.

As I was taking the last sip of my masala tea, the sound of my phone tore through the air and into my eardrums. It shook me back to reality.

Taking my phone from the front pocket of my dark blue denim, I glanced through it.

It was a message from my friend Denver “Did you leave from your home?? “

I replied, “Yes on my way. Stopped for a much needed tea break “

I was on my way to Club Mahindra resort in a hill station of Madikeri. It’s about 200KM from my hometown Mangalore.

I glanced through the time, it was 6:30 PM and I was running late.

This time I had pre-planned everything to perfection. I had pre-downloaded the maps, thanks to the horrific experience, which I had in one of my trip in Goa. This time I knew, nothing would go wrong. Well!! This is what I thought. However, life has its own way of unravelling our myth. This journey was no different. What happened in this journey is something, which I never expected.

I am not a big fan of travelling alone. I didn’t have a choice, none of my friends were available. I needed a break from everything for a few days. I Double-checked all possible things, which could go wrong. Kissing goodbye to the setting sun I said: “ It’s time to go now. See you tomorrow “. The majestic moon was waiting to shine bright in the sky. I crushed the yellow Styrofoam cup and dunked it to the nearest bin.

I quickly hopped into the driving seat, turned the key and cranked the engine. A long drive, good music and the view of the majestic clouds through my windshield. It was like watching nature through a different lens. As I was driving through the tar road, after half an hour I could see the slow transition of weather from the clear orangish sky to dark monstrous clouds. Petrichor the earthy aroma of water droplets and the dust was pleasant. Tiny water droplets were sliding on my windshield like a little kid on a slider. The night sky was gradually taking over. I turned ON the wiper and the headlights.

8 PM

At this time, the tiny little drizzling of rain turned into a violent rainstorm, just like innocent bruce banner turning into wild HULK. I could see the curvy roads of the ghat section welcoming me. It looked like it was welcoming me with a mischievous cocky smile. The trees around there looked like they have been there since ages. At least 100 years or might be more. The monstrous ghat was lit up by lightning every few minutes. The roar of the thunder was so loud that it felt like a lion roaring next to my ears. A vast blanket of white hung heavy over the hills. It suffocated every tree at their base, swallowing every distant object and vanishing around every corner. The road was not visible. My windshield was completely fogged just like I was wrapped around the fog. Maybe the fog was somehow in us just like I was in it. It was so cold that I felt like I am stuck in a refrigerator.

I turned ON the double blinkers and my eyes wide open just like a Frankenstein. I was caught in between the storm and the curvy ghat section. I assured myself “Just a few more kilometres and then I will be done with this. I need to stay focused.” A bright white streak of lightning tore through the clouds. It was like Zeus the god of thunder filled with rage. I braced myself for the roaring of the thunder.

BHAMMMM my car bounced, before I realised what happened, I lost control of my car. I could faintly see that I was skidding towards the tree, I hammered my breaks leaving be a screeching sound of tyres, at the same time I could hear the roaring thunder. All this happened within a fraction of a second. My car stopped a few inches from a tree and next to the tree was the edge of the cliff. My soul filled with fear. I could feel the sweat on my forehead and my heart thumping. It was a narrow escape. The road was empty and pitch dark. My cars headlight, the double blinkers and the rage of Zeus were the only sources of light. I froze like a deer freezing staring at the headlight. Trying to recollect what exactly happened. I was in no situation to get down and look at what I bumped into. I launched myself outside the trance, I took a deep breath. I assured myself everything is fine, one more hour of drive and I will be out this ghat. I turned the key and cranked the engine. The engine sputtered and muttered. It didn’t start. I closed my eyes and said “ God, please. Not here “

I cranked the engine again. I let out a deep breath of relief. The engine started. Slowly and steadily, I took the car in reverse and resumed my journey through the curvy ghat and wrath of a thunderstorm. This time I was hyper-alert. The storm was getting worse, I could hardly see through my fogging windshield. This place was encapsulated with darkness I didn’t have the courage to stop by. I had to drive slowly and steadily or else I will be caught up here in the middle of a dark stormy unknown place. I unlocked the seat belt, leaning very close towards the steering and windshield I started the second part of this journey. The warning sound of the unlocked seatbelt was not helping in any way. The warning sound was striking my ears. I didn’t know was it warning about the seat belt or what was going to happen next. The sound was scary. All negative thoughts started arising in my mind, right from all the ghost stories, which I watched from childhood till now. My mind started simulating all the horror stories, right from a pretty woman dressed up like a bride asking for a lift in the middle of a forest, to a scary face in my back seat which can be only seen through a rear-view mirror. I hate to admit it but I was scared to look at the rear-view mirror. However, I had to move forward, stopping by was not an option. After 3 minutes, I could feel my car sliding towards the left direction. When I try to correct it back to the normal course, it would slide again towards left direction.

Have you been in a situation in your life where you thought, something would never happen and then life stares back at you and says. “Guess who is wrong??”

Well, this was that moment. As I was moving slow and steadily, I realised the left tyre was losing air along with my courage, hope and my mind as well. At this rate, I could move hardly 2km forward before it loses all the air. I did not know what decision to take.

 Should I stop ?? Wait for someone to help?? What should I do ?? I was trying to analyse everything as I was sweating profusely in between a chilled rainstorm. I took my phone and hit hard on the dial button to Denver. I knew only he can help me out of this “ The number you are calling is out of network coverage “.I thought these things happen only in movies. I panicked. The problem was not the flat tyre. The problem was I had to get down and change it, in between unknown dark roads with the roaring of thunder. My worst nightmare had come true. I had to decide to either wait until the storm gets over or go out and change the tyre. I decided the later because Zeus was not in the mood to stop tonight. I don’t want to get stuck here till midnight. I was searching for the right place to stop by but all I could see was the bumpy road covered with monstrous trees on either side of it. After 2 minutes, I found a spot. It looked like an old bus stop. I slowed down, as I was approaching it. The roof was made up of dry coconut tree leave.” This is the right spot and hopefully there may be houses nearby” I anxiously said to myself. I quickly turned my car and parked it. Turned off the engine and made a plan in my mind to change the tyre quickly. I glanced through the surrounding once again. It was much scarier than the ones they show in movies. I took my blue water bottle and bottomed down half a litre of ionised water. I rubbed my palm for a few seconds to feel the heat, let out a deep breath which I never realised I was holding on to. I took my black umbrella opened the door and kept my right foot on the sticky mud and opened the umbrella. I stepped down the car. The rain was hitting me in all the possible directions. When I looked down I could see my white shoes completely soiled as if I just came out of a farm. I quickly ran towards the trunk. I opened the trunk of my car removed the jack and placed it near the front tyre. All this while my hands were shivering. I am not sure whether it was due to fear or thunderstorm. Might be it was both. At this point, I could see a few vehicles passing back which was a relief. The more the vehicles passing by the lesser was the fear. Holding an umbrella in between my shoulder and neck, I started turning the jack, which was leaving behind a squeak. The front portion of the tyre was going up and up. My hopes and courage were going up as well. After a few seconds, a bright flashy light approached towards me. It was so bright I could hardly see what it was. Is it a car, a jeep or an angel? I was not sure. The pupils of my eyes contracted to a pinpoint. I was blinded for a few seconds. I realised it was a car and it stopped right next to me. For a second I was relieved. I stood up to see who it was. I couldn’t see through the misty window. The window lowered slowly and steadily. He looked like a middle-aged person with a thin cut mark near his eyes brows. It looked like a mark from the knife. Tattoo of an eagle on his neck and huge silver bracelet on his hands bothered me for a second. I felt like I was in trouble.

 “ KA 19 registration ha. Looks like you are new here “ he yelled over to me through the sound of the storm.

I did not know what to reply. I froze for a second. Then I said “ No no,I stay nearby .This is my friend’s car “ in a confident tone.

“Do you need any help?? “ 

he yelled again.

I said “ No I am almost done. My friends are on their way. They will reach in 2 minutes“

He said “ It’s okay I will help you “ and got out of his car, opening a big maroon umbrella.

He was huge, hefty and built. Around 6 feet in height.

I did not know What to do and How to react. I had to hold on to my nerves and not show any sign of fear.

I just glanced inside his car to see whether someone else was there. There was no one else. I could see a cricket bat and 3 wickets.

I was in a dilemma. I did not feel safe as well. I secured my phone and car key. Mentally I prepared to defend myself. I had no idea what would happen next.

I pretended that I got a call and said “ okay okay nice I am here itself “

I told him “My friends will be here in a minute “

He starred at me for a few seconds and quickly went to the trunk of my car.

He brought the spare tyre in just one hand, dropped it on the ground splashing muddy water.

He said, “You remove the old one and fix this. I will hold umbrella“

I did not want to face my back towards him.

 “What if he attacks me.?? “ I thought to myself.

 I said, “This is a bit difficult task I never did this. Can you please do it “

He looked at me for a second thinking about something and said, “Okay “ reluctantly

With his one eye fixed to the tyre and other towards me, he quickly changed the tyre.

 And lowered the car and said, “All done “ rubbing his hands on his pants.

I was still sceptical about him. He asked, “Where are your friends?”

I said again, “They are nearby “

I quickly sat inside my car. Locked the doors and lowered my window and said, “Thank you “.

I immediately left from the scene leaving him behind.

 I glanced through my rear-view mirror to see whether he is following me. However, I could not see anyone. I bottomed down another half-litre of water. After 10Km the storm stopped it was a big relief. After a few minutes, I reached the petrol station took a short break and then safely reached the resort.

Now when I think about it, this journey in between the storm and journey of life is very similar.

Even in the journey of life, when we try to explore a new path we plan everything in detail and we create a backup plan as well. Initially, everything looks fine but in between the journey, we get caught up in between unexpected storm of problems, conflicts and uncertainty. 

We get bumped up with unknown situations, lose control of things around us and breakdown.

 During this time, we think people whom we can rely on, will come and help us.

 Guess what?? That’s when the reality strikes in.

Have you experienced this in your journey of life or are you still stuck in between the storm??

 What are you going to do to about it??

Sometimes we feel everything is against us, even God.

However, the universe has its own ways to test us. Sometimes the only person who can help You, is YOU itself. Believe in yourself because that’s the best and only option you have. Step out, no matter how scary the path looks, even though you have to do it all by yourself and continue what you feel is right. During this time, you will find someone who will help you out and show you the way. After you finish your journey, you will realise that the “Storm never gets over, it never stops. We need to come out of it by running, walking or at least crawling through it BUT NEVER STOP eventually you will get out of it. Once you get out of it, it’s your turn to help someone out of their STORM.


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