The road shone black and winding up and down. The Gypsy sped along it. It was autumn. Leaves had turned red and orange with yellow tinge. The Sun shone bright reflected in the shining stars from the stream that ran along the road, almost parallel. Black rocks jutted out of it at intervals. Some were more inviting than the others, on account of being flat topped.
I imagined myself sitting on one of them; my feet dipped in the waters. I almost jumped up in my seat. The water felt so cold. ..
Imagination works wonders. Try it once. Imagine such a place where you can put your feet into the water, close your eyes, and feel the flowing water draw out your tensions, dissolve them in it and take it away for ever. One then becomes one with the silence within. Only the river gurgles away; outside and inside us…
Presently the Gypsy had climbed down the hills and was racing in the plains. Acres and acres of rice fields, ripe with the grain stood proudly, showing off the fruitful labour of the farmers and the mother earth.
In the midst stood a small single hut like structure raised almost two metres high by thick bamboo stems.
We stopped in front of one and made our way to it through a slender pathway in the fields. We lifted ourselves into the hut like structure, using the bamboo rails made into steps. I sincerely hoped my weight would not leave signs of devastation on those rickety steps.
There sitting on the hay floor and watching the air create wave like ripples in the fields; we had some snacks and tea. Half an hour sped away. Cleaning up carefully, behind us; we now embarked on the difficult part of our journey.
It another fifteen minutes, we turned a sharp left and entered a brown path. These paths made by walking men, always made me feel distinctly uncomfortable. The forest lined with tall trees and almost turning the day dark, coupled with such elusive paths made me scared. I. Of course, made a brave face, at the face of it.
” You know these paths well. Isn’t it?” I asked the driver.
” Of course Madam. If we do get lost; we can always find someone and ask the way.”
He said, nonchalantly.
” Actually there is not enough time to get lost and found again. If we are too late, all patients will run away. It is already 12p.m. So be careful and see that I reach where I am supposed to, at the earliest.” I told him.
He shook his head. I too shook mine. Here I am so worried and here he is, with absolutely no qualms of going the wrong way.
“We better go the other way. It is faster.” One of my staff said from behind.
The driver looked at me.
“Will it be OK for you Madam?”
I nodded. If it was ok for everyone else; it should be for me too. We soon neared a clearing and the wheels ran over fields.
“Well, where is the path?”
They all kept quiet.
” Actually there is no road.” The driver said sheepishly.
There was a large river…right in front of us.
On the opposite bank, seemed to be a path in the jungle. Tall trees stood in close association…
Where are we heading to? Where is the road?
In answer, the Gypsy put up more speed and before I could gasp, the Gypsy along with us had plunged into the river!
I almost screamed out aloud.
” Close your eyes Madam.” The driver said reassuringly.
I could hear laughter behind me. I closed my eyes. But, panic striken, opened them again. We were right in the river. Water was flowing away steadily. The Gypsy was not moving.
” We are stuck, right in here. Isnt it?” I asked him.
“No Madam, I am actually driving.”
I looked at his hands on the steering wheel and then at my staff behind.
“He actually is driving. The river bed is full of pebbles. It makes a nice road.”One of them informed.
“There is nothing to worry at all Madam.” Another staff assured me.
I felt more anxious at that. Probably they all knew how to swim. I did not. But the mirth in their faces, did make me relax a bit.
Then when I looked outside, it felt beautiful. I seemed to be a Swan, gliding silently amd slowly in a sea of calm waters. The Sun rays made the water glisten and I wished I could just open the door and dip my feet in it. When the vehicle gave a nose up and we ascended on to the stony ground, I felt a tinge of disappointment. It was all over, a little too fast.
From there on, the road became bumpier. What a great relief it was; when the camp area came to sight!
Strangely, contrary to my own expectation, I felt cool and relaxed.
Did that water ride have something to do with it?