It was a less ferocious April evening under the hot scorching sun. I was returning from that calm and very peaceful place in the whole Tamil Nadu - The Ayyappan Temple in Tiruchirappalli. I was still in the meditation mood. The peaceful and clean place in that temple seems to have got deeper inside me creating a big impact. I was feeling a force of North Pole of a Magnet being moved away from a South Pole of other magnet. Even the nature had understood it seems. The hot Sun was slowly making its way down to other end of the Earth.
I could hear the birds singing on the trees planted on the sideways of the road I was walking by. It seemed as if the world fell so silent and all the traffic of that thick populated city were moving like a dew on a icefloor. I was deaf to man made things and could contact the nature's purity. I could hear Ilaiyaraja's best of the best songs ringing in my ears. I bet they were the nature's own voice coming through his music. It added fuel to my devotional fire. I realized my LG Cookie would play Raja's instrumentals more better than I could imagine. As I reached my trousers to search for it, I was crossing a tea shop on the pedestrian path. I could hardly see four rough and tough guys standing there and waiting for someone else in my eye's out of focus areas.
I shook my head if what I heard was true. One of the Gangsta asked the lean guy among them, "Hey, is he the man in that photo?" "Blaaaaanggggg", Suddenly I could hear the big blow of horn on my back. Thinking of those guys, I had literally moved down the pathway to the middle of the road. All the traffic and the worldly things came like a huge wave on me. I ran to the side of the road and reached the pedestrian path. The man in that Maruti Swift drove away after barking few words on me and my family. But I never really cared what he said by then. I was standing there gasping of what had happened. All I could concentrate now is why are the guys looking for
me. My mind was asking me a different question. "Are you sure? Are they really looking for you?"
"That seems to be a tricky question though. Let me check"
"No don't look back, just get the hell out of here"
Me and my mind were in war of words and I had finally decided to turn and see who they really look for. As I turned back, I could see them more clearly now. They were actually five men and two lean guys were among them. One must have gone somewhere when I was crossing them. I could also see a small picture in the second lean guys right hand. When they had managed to get the guy and check the photo, I had moved with my confused mind to the middle of the road and came back. It was so clear for me now that they are really after me. I could see their vengeance in a micro second contact with in their eyes. It was the best time for me to start run.
But still there was a little hesitation in my mind. I started walking across the signal to reach the TNSTC Bus depot. I turned to give another look at those guys.
There was sharp glittering piece of weapon in that second lean guy's hand. It is a knife which seemed to have grown in his hand all of a sudden and glowing in the mild evening sun. There was huge rush of Adrenaline in my body after seeing that weapon followed by other four men reaching their back. I could guess they had more deadly weapons and that was the reason my body was flushed with sweat whilst the evening breeze had started. My Sonata ticked 5:00PM when I crossed the Bus depot and reached next stop where the road went bend slightly. My mind had already made me up to run for life.
As soon as I crossed the bend, I started walking bit faster. I was almost running to say perfect. It took all my heart's stamina to turn back and see them. They were real close and now everyone had their own weapons. Three had big sticks and one with big sickle and one with a sharp knife.
"Damn man, you should have never looked back. All they needed is a confirmation and now you showed your beautiful shit face to these guys with a big f***ing smile on it. You better run for your life"
"What the hell you think I am doing?"
Conversion of speed walking to running had started in the conversational time. I crossed the Government Physiotherapy College.
"Hey, I have come here previously. But I don't remember when. Do you know that?"
"You idiot! This is not your time for green memories. Are you out of your mind. You are being chased by the Penta"
"I have two corrections of your statement. First, It's not 'me'. It is 'we' who are being chased by the gang. And secondly what the hell is 'the Penta'?"
"Penta stands for five dude, have you forgot Physics"
"Thanks a lot for your clarification. But this aint time for my X class. So better keep your nasty mouth shut"
"Can I say one more thing"
"But it is urgent"
"The Penta is gaining distance"
"F*** you! and this shitty conversation. You always get me in trouble". I started running more faster now.
BPT college, Ondi Karuppanna samy Temple and KEP Medical college were far behind me.
"Go left. You can reach the bus stand very soon"
"No way. I have to cross the cycle stand, go to the Sangeetha hotel corner and get inside the bus stand. What if the guys jump over fence and catch me. I can in no way jump it"
"You think I can jump the fence. If you can't even I can't. Hey after all I'm your inner voice"
"Yeah I still remember that. But you're supposed to give me good thoughts and not some bullshit ideas."
"Sirji..Boliye, Udhar Fence kahan hein?"
"It means, where is the fence there?"
"I know Hindi to that extent. But what do you mean where is the fence. It is there na, on the wall"
"Ohhhhhhh man" Now I realised that the entry route for bus stand was changed from Sangeetha Hotel corner to the TB Hospital side.
"Sorry yaar, My mind sucks at times"
"Oh is it, I thought you were always like this"
"But don't you worry. Your body is not the same way as your mind is"
I was startled to see that I am now running in the street which ran left to Medical College.
"This is actually the road to TuberClosis treatment hospital in Trichy and it is the oldest in town"
"Oh, come on. I am not here for your history lesson. You make drive me running and mind restless. Let me run to bus stand now"
"But I can give you few suggestions"
"Hey bolo na...my sweet shit mind"
"That's the way you treat me. Now run to bus stand and if you can remember it good, all the buses move fastly this month. It is the season time and the buses don't
have to wait much time to load all the tickets. So better hurry up to the exit. Get into one good bus to Chennai as soon as possible"
"But I need to go to Villupuram"
"You fool. All buses going to Chennai from Trichy goes via Villupuram only. I am ashamed to be your inner voice. Does your brain ever work?"
"Gotcha. I think we already gained few metres in this left cut. The guys can't really keep up to my pace. But one thing, better mind your language buddy"
"It's not like that dude. I can speak whatever I wish. Not even your readers can close my ditchy mouth. Now to the point, The deer that is chased runs faster than a hungry lion. So have it in my mind my dear Deer. Run"
"Run, Run, Run"
I have reached the Chathiram bus stand by now and everyone in the bus were shouting at me "Run"
I shook my head and heard them.
"Chennai RUN poravanga RUN ellam RUN seekiram RUN erunga"
"Thratchai RUN 13 roova RUN"
"Arumaiyana RUN watch RUN sir, 30 roova RUN sir"
Is it a remixed Tata Indicom AD. I stopped for a second. Shook my head once more and wiped of face with my shirt. I could feel the heat of that tar road gaining into my feet.
"Why am I bare footed..."
I asked in 3 different languages but no reply from my inner voice. The silence of my voice was killing me. But I remember the plan still. It was not a master plan though. I had a glance at my back. The Penta people were struggling thorugh the cycles and bikes in their way.
"Why the hell the bikes and cycles are pulled out in the street"
No answer again. I can check for the answers later. I quickly ran to the exit of the bus stand. There was a huge crowd and I had to literally hit everyone of them to get to the other end. But that was one good chance for me to loose these guys on my back. There was a bus leaving to Chennai. I never can catch it. It was at the exit point of the bus stand and I still had to swim in the 50 metres of crowd to reach there. I tried very hard like the last minute runner up trying his hard to get first in Olypics running race. I first thought the bus left the stand and moved fast. But as I reached the exit, I can still see the bus moving slowly over the speedbreaker.
The Penta had already gained speed and I could see a knife flying through air and fell with a cling sound behind me. It should have missed the aim and hit somewhere else.
I gained more strength and with one last chance left for life I ran to the bus and caught hold of the last window. But I was still running along with the bus. It was literally dragging me to its speed. For a moment I thought, I would let it go off my hands. There was a flash of my life at that point of time. I realized there were more good things for me in life still to do and I can never be dead by some gangsters. With one last breath held up high in my lungs, I took my feet off the ground. With one feet, I managed to place in the footboard and one still flew in air. I felt a blow of air on my whole body. If I had left my hands go off, I would have landed on the Penta by then. They were so close to me but never near the bus. I remembered the words by some unknown, "The deer being chased runs faster than a hungry lion, because it runs for its life".