Vantage point

Wednesday, May 05, 2004



His eyes opened with a jerk, as he realised he was sweating buckets. A hand went to his forehead, touched it, and held itself in front of his eyes, as if to confirm. Yep, he was sweating. When had he fallen asleep, he wondered getting up from the chair. He stared at the table in front of him in the daze of someone who has just woken up.

This is a wooden table. And the wood is wet because of my sweat. Why rubber? He went through everything he had kept on his table. Pens, pencils, a stapler......but no rubber (as erasers are often referred to in India). And yet the thought swirled in his mind again and again


He often had vivid dreams, and sometimes remembered them too. He loved analysing his own dreams. And for a psychology student and dream-nut like him, remembering only part of a dream as irritating. Remembering just one line, even more so. He jogged his mind to remember if he had heard this line before, or maybe read about it in a book. Nope, nothing. As if out of habit, he went online and entered the words in Google, but drew a blank.

Forget rubber, he thought. My forehead is still wet. Damn, there is a power cut again, he thought observing the motionless ceiling fan. The clock informed him it was 5 in the afternoon. He had never experienced such a scorching summer in Pune before. Usually there would be some pre-monsoon showers towards the end of April that would cool the weather off. Now it was the first week of May and it still hadn't rained. The mercury was higher than it had ever been.


Hmmmmmm. What could it mean? What could it mean? Should he go to the library and check up on some Psychoanalysis books? Plus the library would be air-conditioned, he smiled to himself.

In a few minutes, he was on his bike, headed to the library. The smile on his face had gotten a bit broader, because he noticed that he was driving in overcast conditions. It would surely rain today, he thought with ecstasy. Maybe if he was lucky, he could get wet in the rain. Getting wet in the first rainshower of the year was always special.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, the heavens opened up. The clouds roared and it started raining with uncommon intensity. The parched earth welcomed the falling water with hisses of satisfaction. Even the tar roads resembled a frying pan which had just been sprayed with water.

He opened his mouth in glee and looked up, hoping to drink the rain water. A split second later, he realised that it had been a mistake, for he was about to crash into a bicycle. He had been travelling at about 70 kmph, and he braked hard, not realising that the road was no wet. His bike skidded sideways and hit the road divider. He was trapped with his left leg under the bike, as he noticed the tyres of the approaching truck.

Though everything happened in a matter of a couple of seconds, for him it was happening in slow motion. The approaching tyres, his futile last ditch attempt to sway his body away from them, realisation that wherever he swayed, he was still falling in the truck's path. A look at the truck's tyres from the distance of a few centimetres, and the following reflex action of turning his head away. As a feeling of deja vu swept over him, and tyres came as close as they could and the last thought he ever had was