But then, I couldn’t see!
They say just moments before you die your entire life passes through in a montage set to the tune of 80’s music from Kenny G. They say the world slows down, as though to let you absorb all its beauty just one last time. They say the last thing you see is a blinding white light, before you’re enveloped by the eventual nothingness.
Harshit did not care about afterlife. He was hardly the guy to get in the middle of philosophy or serious debate. Life, to him, was a simple journey on his motorcycle, interspersed by brief periods of eating, sleeping, hanging out and going through those other monotonous pit-stops. At least that’s how it’d been since he got his own shiny red steed at 20. And now, 5 years, a graduate degree and a job to afford the service bills later, little else had changed. That was how it was supposed to be, and Harshit couldn’t have wished for any better.
And yet, here he was — his entire life reeling in front of him, and a clump of regret choking his throat. This was it.
Mr. Mishra had lived a good life. He was proud of it. He’d served an honest citizen’s duty — worked to build a happy family, and grown from a rusty bicycle at the start of his career to a fancy hatchback handed down from his son. He remembered when his house was still in the outskirts — when his son and daughter were still kids playing outside till the night fell, with little fear of traffic or strangers. Now driving down his road he watched the tall buildings and malls dotting his sacred ground with disdain.
He shifted gears to the third, under-revving his automobile as he gradually rolled through at 30km/hr. He had his seat up straight and careened his neck above the steering. When he wasn’t braking, he held his foot steadily over the clutch. His hands were both firmly on the wheel, making the perfect “V” between them. After all, you can’t compromise on safety…
And all through his ride, his mind went on a dialog of its own. Of course, he profited from the real-estate boom. Of course, the mortgage on his house afforded his son to study in the US and daughter in the UK. Of course, the malls and buildings and new fangled traffic turned his retirement savings into a million dollar investment. Of course.
But these new gen kids… They had no respect, no decency, no civility for the road.Them and their imported motorcycles, endangering other drivers and pedestrians and children.
He watched with muted disgust at those pesky motorcyclists zipping through his streets. Another — a red one — speeding around the corner towards him. He muttered a curse under his breath…
“I want it to be bright. The brightest one you have”
“This one’s the best, sir — you can light up the road for 2Km’s ahead”
“Yes, that should make it safe. After all, you can’t compromise on safety!”
Headlights aren’t the greatest of mods out there. If you’re going for performance and sound, an aftermarket muffler can do wonders for you. Or if you’re after looks or comfort you should be able to hit a sweet spot between stickers and leather seats. But they’re your cheapest bet if you want to continue driving in the gray area between street legal and getting a ticket.
Harshit sat in a damp corner of the police station. He was too young for his life to be over. And yet, here he was, trying to seem invisible amidst the blur of activity around him.
The inspector was a rough looking guy — years of rushing to accident sites, booking rash truckers with neither papers nor brakes, and yet watching them walk away in the morning had worn away the last of his emotion. He had a job to do — and that he did. He didn’t like these youngsters who refused to wear helmets and ignored traffic lights on their modified motorcycles.. Who would rather choose five minutes of glory on a wheelie than all the life that lay ahead of them. To him, they just meant more paperwork.
He had been waiting to make an example, and today was his day. A pedestrian, killed by another rash motorcyclist. An FIR, eyewitnesses and a mangled red motorcycle to make a case for rash riders everywhere.
Harshit set about his routine in autopilot. He turned the engine on and let it idle for a minute, listening as his engines turned from the angry scream of a man woken from sleep, to a gentle roar. He slipped on his jacket and gloves, and tightened his helmet. As he gunned the throttle he let an involuntary smile escape his lips.
Harshit just turned the corner, lost in his thoughts, when he saw that white light engulf him. His retinas were fried, and for that minute he was blind. The minute that would change his life.
As he turned the corner into that dark unlit street, Mr.Mishra realized the twilight had turned into night.He remembered he had to call his son today — it’d be morning in the US in a couple of hours. He turned on his headlights and flooded the street with a beautiful white light. He had always been a safe driver, and there was nothing safer than having 100% visibility on the street. After all, you can’t compromise on safety…
The red motorcycle seemed to lose control. He might have hit that man crossing the road. Young idiot riders!
This rather unoriginal story was inspired to the point of 99% plagiarized from this post by Vikash Koushik