I haven’t met any of these three persons, neither have they met each other ever. Yet, all of them were fortunate enough to commit a good mistake.
While writing this even I wasn’t sure… How?? Then I read the complete article of the newspaper and connected the dots.
While I read about Vishal, he seemed to me a very ordinary person. He used to live with his grandparents in Panchkula, a graduate from Punjab University and doing a fine 9 to 5 job in an MNC located at Hallomajra Chowk, Chandigarh. Although he always used to commute for work on his new shimmering black Pulsar-200; but that was a different day, he purposefully left his bike. After all, Meera will be there to be with him after a very long time. Delhi isn’t too far but indeed far enough to construct an elongated dam between the two subjects of each other’s desire.
Her bus had to arrive at the Chandigarh bus terminal at 7.30 PM in the evening. So, unlike his regular personality, Vishal had planned everything- especially booked a self-driven rental car, bought two seats for 9.00 PM Aashiqui2 at PVR Centra and then a long overnight drive to Simla. After all this will be the last time they will be seeing each other before she flies to Europe for her 2 years’ internship. Vishal winded up all his work at 6:00 PM itself and kept scrolling the laptop screen, doing nothing but checking the watch at his desktop again and again.
He spent almost an hour doing the same, then hurriedly packed up his stuff at sharp 7:00 and called the self-driven car to be dropped at the office door. Within next 15 minutes he was at the bus terminal with the wheels of hired jet black Scorpio at his shoe knots. He still had 15 minutes for the bus to arrive, so he stole sometime for Marlboro, although he was impatiently puffing the smoke without even processing the nicotine into his body. At 7.31 PM he called her cellphone which was replied by the service provider out of coverage area.
Our mind is sometimes creative enough to produce a long unending story of ‘ifs’ & ‘buts’.
Vishal was witnessing such stories from more than an hour now, meanwhile he enquired at the Information Center at the terminal and they had no idea when the bus will arrive at the station. No one there seemed to have the contact number of the driver or the conductor. Each passing minute was becoming a bull sized bullet being shot straight into his epiglottis.
By 10.00 PM he had spoken to almost all reachable officials at the terminal, made several calls to Meera’s close friends, and dialled some random numbers from other bus drivers given as a hit and trial to reach Meera’s bus, posting comments at the Punjab Roadways websites & what not. By 11.00 PM he was sitting on the footpath in front of the Scorpio with headlights dim, tears frozen in his eyelashes and wondering what if he hadn’t planned this trip for her.
Was it a mistake?
Both the sisters had an unconditional love and understanding between them. No one would have ever imagined that the girls were raising themselves so considerately on their own. Their parents were living in the small village at Aizawal, but in order to support the girls with their dreams; they had sent both the daughters to New Delhi for graduation. It’s almost seven years since the twin sisters were residing in small dwellings of Satya Niketan, although they had changed 9 places within 7 years in the same locality in order to save themselves from rising rent rates.
They have been into this same flat from past two years, since they were able to afford the price hike now; only when Sophie shifted from part-time Call Center job to full-time German Translator in a reputed MNC. Whereas Miral the other sister is still at the same Call Center job and indeed a world class gymnast winning various awards at State Level. Both the sisters were fulfilling each other’s needs and were also providing for their family at home town. During their last visit at home they were able to convince the family to bring their kid brother along with with them and take his secondary education from Delhi.
Everything was composed until last night, when Sophie found out that Miral is dodging the opportunity for a 2 year internship in advanced gymnastic at London entirely funded by the State Academy. Miral was talented yet non-ambitious unlike her sister. She was happy the way her life was moving, she never craved nor tried harder to get more. She had succeeded in the fields which came naturally to her. Even on that day she tried to rule out Sophie in the argument, stating that gymnastics is just a hobby for her and nothing more. She has a life here, responsibilities at home and the present world is all she wanted to live in. But Sophie forced her to see a brighter and bigger picture; she tried convincing her how precious these opportunities are and that only fewer people are able to get such honours.
That night was longer than usual for both of them as they couldn’t get even a minute’s sleep after that long an argument. And next day Miral was found writing an acceptance mail with Sophie standing on her shoulders. Thereafter with all procedures completed, she had to collect her sponsorship documents from Chandigarh Center as she was sponsored by Haryana State, before she leaves for London.
At exact 10:00 PM that night, Sophie received a call from Miral’s friend that Miral’s bus went missing. She called up Miral’s mentor at State Sports authorities, Punjab Transport and whatever possible means she could do but she was unable to establish any contact with her. With every 2 minutes passing she made calls at Miral’s cellphone which stood unreachable. At the exact 00:00 hours she received a call from Panipat Police Station stating that they found ID of Miss Miral from an accident spot at highway. The phone got disconnected due to poor network.
Sophie called back with tears melting down her eyes, thinking, What if she wouldn’t have convinced Miral so badly, for her internship.
Was it a mistake?
Virender is a small time businessman with a petite shop of bed sheets at the main market of Panipat. He might not be considered as a very intelligent entrepreneur but indeed a hard-working one. He would start his shop at 6.30 in the morning and won’t close until 10.30 in night. He only had a young boy to look over the shop with him.
That day he had put the shutter down at 5.30 PM in the evening. It was the first time in last 10 years that his handlooms won’t be available in the market before dark. Well, he had a genuine reason. His wife is waiting at Ward No. 54 of Panipat Civil Hospital for him to stand along with her while she delivers a baby.
In excitement & with extreme gladness he left the shop, kicked off his luna and took a shortcut from within the farms to the hospital; He rode with his best capabilities of speed, rushing through the ranches in the hope to see his ‘Son’ soon. Yes, like an average Indian, he highly hoped to have a boy who could eventually contribute a hand in his business.
While he was speeding towards the nursing home, he saw a Roadways bus being driven within the small lanes of Wheat farms. This was strange, since buses usually keep their way only on highway. The bus was driven so recklessly that while crossing the opposite paths of the same small lane, it almost considered Virender’s luna unnoticed due to which he almost lost control but managed his balance while shouting at the bus.
It was a long narrow road in the open field, such that even after crossing 3 kms away from bus he could see its pint sized figure rolling in to the fields with a loud yet unnoticed noise. He raced away to the city after listening to the heavy sound of tyre bursting like a gunshot, followed by the wreckage. However he could still see the bus rolling till it hit some trees. He slowed down, while thinking about her wife and the baby. Yet decided to move back towards the bus, thinking no one would come to know about the accident at this lone place until next morning.
As he reached towards the bus, he saw some fire & smoke and he spoke to himself while he stopped at the tumbled bus. What if I wouldn’t have taken a reverse turn? I may possibly miss my baby’s birth tonight if I am here.
“Isn’t it a mistake?”
Mistake- was it? Or it isn’t?
While he thought so, he saw a young girl struggling her way out of the small window pane at the rear end of the bus. She came out, sat on the ground and took some deep breaths when Virender reached to her saying “hey aap thik hain madam”, she saw him without a response. He tried again “Madam hindi samajh ati hai? Alryt u? What your name? (He handed a water bottle to her as he asked)” She responded ‘Mir’ and quickly grasped the bottle to her lips.
Virender alarmed “Madam there is a fire and diesel leakage, You’re lucky that you escape from little window, now be away from vehicle….. I call emergency”. Having said so, he started dialling 100, 101, 102. But there are usually weak signals in the middle of the field, yet he was able to connect to 100 but could not explain much. Meanwhile he noticed that the Mir-girl is not there, he looked here & there and find none. And then she popped out with a little 5-6 yr old boy from the same petite window pane bathed in red water and crying. She handed the boy to him and hurried back to the bus. Virender shouted “Arey madam bus me fire, u mad kya” to which she replied “Bhaiya! Drag that cart from the field and tie attaching with your luna”. While he was doing so, she was able to bring out atleast 27 kids and 2 adults out of the cart one by one through the same window pane.
Virender asked for what more amounts of people are left to be brought out, to which she replied that only three more are left but unconscious, rest are dead. The man was astonished to see this girl going into the red pool of dead, continuously searching for life and bringing them out alive. By this time, the back of the bus had caught a huge fire and it had taken relatively more time for the girl to come out. Scanning the bus from distance along with survivor, they were pretty sure that the girl along with rest of them is not able to make it out; as that escape route through window pane was now drenched with fire.
“Sometimes, some people get sacrificed due to some deed of kindness for some other people.”
Thinking of this and the young children’s unbearable pain he kicked the luna and started off to the hospital. This time he kept watching the Bus in his rear mirror till it exploded. All his way upto the hospital, he thought of the Mir-girl’s courageousness. He reached Panipat Civil Hospital with the fastest possible means of his driving skills. Apparently, it was discovered that a school trip was moving in that Punjab Roadways which got technical disruption to the brakes and the same young girl advised the driver to take a ‘path less followed’ through the fields instead of highway.
All the 27 kids and 2 teachers were now fine with minor injuries. Virender had actually missed his daughter’s birth although without any regret; as he was able to save sons and daughters of many parents. With the new born in his hands and smiling with his eyes wet, he said “You’re my Mir-girl”.
The Police & Fire brigade were there on the spot with in few minutes of the blast followed by reporters and news channels.
All other passengers were reported dead.
Vishal was glued to the TV channel after getting the news at the Chandigarh bus terminal, hoping to listen about Meera;
And Sophie was also sitting tightly in Delhi with her little brother, constantly being in front of her TV set.
When this common Mir-girl appeared on the television screen from the spot of accident covered with a warm shawl and escorted by fire safety squad, with a tagline flashing
“The fire tried but couldn’t burn the saviour tonight!”
Vishal, Sophie and Virender are still not sure if it was a mistake that day, but they are sure of one thing; even-though if it was a mistake, it was a good one.
aah ko chaahiye ik umr asar hone tak !!