This happened neither in the recent past nor so far back in time as to mess up my confidence to accurately narrate its unfolding. I was seated in the office car, speeding back home on the NH-5 connecting Cuttack - Bhubaneswar after a pretty elaborate second phase of training. Belligerent clouds had begun to gather from all corners and overwhelm the sky. Rain kissed breeze from distant fields had started to blow across the plains flanking the freeway. I rolled down the car window panes letting the refreshing zephyr enliven my spirit. I was in no mood to not relish the ambience. Cloud gates flung open and in a matter of moments, all one could see, hear and feel was the rain. It appeared as if the clouds above led a quest for invading the lands below. The whole visible terrain around me stood engulfed by incessant pouring. The parched earth stood happily vanquished at the hands of million soldiers unleashed by its heavenly adversary.
On the wheels, Bijay strained himself to focus on the traffic ahead due to the dwindling vision. He rolled up the car window panes to bar the rain from making its way inside the car. It caused an instant quiet within. Bijay and me could almost hear each others' pounding hearts fused with the rhythm of relentless rain beating on the car's roof. Daunted by the watery - windy onslaught, I felt incapable of thinking, especially when monster - sized trucks overtook our car or vice versa, our borders mingling beyond distinction, making frightful consequences imminent. I fidgeted in my seat.
Through the thick pane, further thickened by ceaseless hammering of mad drops and wild wind, my eyes caught the hazy glimpse of a gang of college lads mounted on their motorbikes, riding in tandem with us. They were a group of eight. Some had cared to put on their helmets and the rest must have thought doing so to be a disgrace to their adolescence . They confronted the torrent with such disdain that for a moment I was embarrassed thinking about my own fear. I rolled down my side of the window pane slightly and caught their act clearly. The boys were purposefully enjoying what many were escaping. The sight took me few years back in time when it was not unfamiliar for me and my friends doing what they seemed to be relishing today. We too had let million raindrops spray on our faces, oblivious of the shock and awe of bystanders. I almost sensed the fragrance of the raindrops on my own face, felt the pinch of mad drops crashing on my temple, recalling the lasting tingle of the watery bombardment. Recalling how we used to halt at tattered cottage tea stalls by the highway and warm ourselves up with cups of piping hot beverage indulging in pointless blabber with strangers sharing our shelter.
Remembering those times filled me with a strange sense of vulnerability. Born out of the realization that such times have long passed me by. That now it could be only a figment of my memory, nothing more. That now I could only stretch my hand and cause nothing but ripples in the mirage that lures me, bereft of any capacity to actually hold what it shows. I get carried away by my weakness for escapades provoked to embark thereupon by those to whom the moments now belong. One out of the group caught me staring and returned a warm smile. I beamed back. They sped away leaving me split between alternate dimensions in that very moment. Partly in my present where I sat captive to mundane obligations and imposed concerns and partly with them, who though rode at a distance of couple of yards were actually eons away in time.
I have since reminisced the experience for months. Everytime I do, I am brimmed with an urgent urge to act. I calm my raging spirit, negotiating through an adult mind, telling myself that no matter what I may do, I'd not sense the unadulterated delight that I once knew, without concern or worry. May be I am fringing on pessimism. A dose of life may cure me.