(A short story by Sidharth Vardhan
First written on October 5, 2015)
“We have to be there as soon as possible.” That was objective. The idea was clear. It was never officially stated but it couldn’t be clearer – a natural deduction given the urgency everyone had shown would tell you that they knew it too. After all, it was natural to reach the destination as soon as possible. They all had to dive as fast. He did. He was really fast, ahead of them all. The others, it seemed, had lost their focus in chattering. He had just finished giving them fifth phone call – and they were still so far away. Moreover, it seemed from their tones that they think of him to be really pushy.
He had reached there first, all alone and started waiting for them. The urgency shown at the beginning of the journey was still fresh in him, slowly turning into frustration with time. Why would they stop so regularly and start chatting when they were always behind? Was there the unstated rule that one must entertain oneself while on the way? But that didn’t seem to be the truth – you can’t be doing something fast and still enjoying it. Driving fast can never be fun (except for really sad people); real fun for him was driving or walking slowly while listening to one’s music.
The others were doing the same. Perhaps urgency, in this case, was one of those rules, which one wasn’t supposed to follow; the rules which make those suffer who follow them blindly – the ones made by heavy moralists types. And there was a silent understanding among those people of this fact. Why didn’t anybody tell him that? He felt angry and kicked earth with his foot (the planet shook ever so slightly that no one noticed).
Still, he was the right one, he was the one who had followed the rule, had done the right thing and yet was suffering. He was the one – alone, ahead of them, may be better of them; while they who had deviated from path were enjoying themselves in each other’s company. It wasn’t fair. This time he kicked car’s tire, hurting his foot in doing so.
Perhaps, for who really knows, they were in the right for not being taken in the urgency and enjoying the journey. Perhaps urgency was a complete folly in itself. A journey should rather be smooth than quick; he had felt that. And yet, he had gone for what he ‘knew’ rather than what he felt.
And they must have considered it to be something everybody knows. It was his being carried away by this urgency they probably couldn’t have understood (and thus think him pushy), just as he had failed to understand their easiness. This made him really anxious. He had caught himself on an error and was desperate to correct himself. Should he return to them? meet them in the way? he could apologize …. But no, he put his hand on his forehead as he realized it, it was too late for that …. Nothing could be done now …. Nothing.
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