It was a lovely early summer morning when I walked out of my house and stepped quickly (but not too quickly because healing ligaments need gentle handling) towards the main road to get an autorickshaw which would transport me to university.
The fact that I got an auto right outside my colony gates was the first Surprising Incident of the morning.
The fact that the auto driver agreed to go to the university rather than flatly refusing or trying to act bossy, was Surprising Incident number Two.
But, I’m an inherently calm person, and a believer of luck and miracles. So I just gratefully got into the auto and thanked my lucky stars. I didn’t really think I was getting into an auto ride which I would reminisce about to my grandchildren…or at least my children (okay, maybe I got over it after I was done dramatically recounting it to my friends).
Nothing very dramatic or extraordinary happened for most of the journey. I did get stuck in a traffic jam, and began worrying about missing my class. Once we got out of the jam, I stopped worrying and day dreaming again.
It was at the last traffic signal before my university when the dramatic events started unfolding. The auto was going quite fast, and skidded to a halt just inches behind the car in front. I looked questioningly at the driver, wondering whether he was getting sleepy or something. In fact, he was very much awake and, to my consternation, looked just as stumped as to what had just happened. He mumbled something, “Brake kaam nahi kar raha?” (The brakes aren’t working?).
Oh dear me.
(Cue Mild Concern)
I was in an auto whose brakes were not functioning effectively. I wondered whether I should sympathize with the driver and tell him to get to an autorickshaw workshop as soon as he could, because failing brakes are dangerous, right?
The signal turned green and the driver slowly revved up and took up speed. A car suddenly came out of nowhere, and the driver rammed down on the brakes.
It didn’t work. At least not completely. The car was really fast, so it passed by before the auto hit it, but…
Oh. My. God.
I was in an auto whose brakes were failing. Damn it…this isn’t a movie! I remembered all the movies I’d seen about cars with failed brakes (as a method of revenge or sabotage) and somehow remembered that the cars basically kept going on and on till they reached a cliff or the end of an unfinished road overlooking a river or something, and how, somehow, heroically, someone saves the passengers of the rogue car just before it plummets into nothingness, or crashes spectacularly into a mountain or something.
Thanks, but no, thanks. I have a class to get to. I don’t have time for crashes and dives!!
Before I could say anything, the driver said, “Miss, the brakes aren’t working. I’m going to have to drop you here. Because look…” he rammed down on the brakes again, and the auto just began slowing down “…it just isn’t working”.
I however, wanted to kiss him. This meant the auto COULD stop! I wondered why my brain decided that reminding me about the most extreme situations I knew of would be a better way of coping in this case rather than letting me rationally think of actual possibilities. Oh the mysteries of the mind!
I cleared my throat and promptly told the driver to drop me off right here. He began the process of slowing down. The auto kept going stoically, even though the driver had his foot firmly on the brake, and kept going and going. My fears returned a little. But then, just before a turn in the road, it stuttered to a halt.
This was when I let out a ginormous sigh of relief.
I shakily got out, paid the fare, and began walking towards the university. I had just experienced one of the most scary situations in my life. It had been only 2 minutes (maximum), but it was scary, okay?
Too much drama for a day.
And when I reached my class fifteen minutes late, what else could happen? Oh yeah…my professor could be on leave and cancel class without letting us know. Ugh. Too much for a single day I tell you. Too. Much.