Chapter 5 – The Road Not Taken
Team Name: The Scribe Tribe
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The sulking moon was hiding amidst the clouds. A distant cry from a dog was the only thing that interfered with the otherwise eerie silence that had taken over the place. While the stars continued their playful act as if nothing had happened, Shekhar’s world had completely collapsed. He kept staring at the drama in the sky, trying to match it with the chaos in his life.
“You okay, bro?” Cyrus said while he gulped down another pint.
Shekhar was brought back to reality by Cyrus’ voice. He had completely forgotten that he was not alone .
“Apart from the fact that I am completely broke with no source of income, my wife is seeing someone else and I am doomed to spend the rest of my life in agony, yeah, I am fine!”.
There are few things which guys don’t usually talk about. There are moments when nothing said or done can make things better . This moment was one of those. It seemed prudent to Cyrus to shut up at that point. He reached out to a pouch in his pocket and spread out all its ingredients on the bonnet of the jeep.
“What is that?” This was more of a rhetorical question in alarm.
“Something that will cheer me up. You are welcome to join if you wish to.”
“What exactly is this guy made of? He has been drinking all night long and he is still not done?”, Shekhar thought to himself and continued with his attempt to read the skies The half-moon which looked like a smile a few hours back had now turned into a frown. He prayed for a genie to appear and grant him a wish to wipe away the darkness from his life as the night sky led to dawn.
“Bro you sure you don’t want some? It might calm a few storms inside of you”, Cyrus didn’t even wait for an affirmation as he passed the joint over to Shekhar.
“This is the first time I am having this since Roohi was born. Things have changed since then. In fact everything has changed since then.”, said Shekhar, after taking a deep puff as he again started down memory lane.
“Come on man. Don’t do this to yourself right now. You will get all the time in the world to feel sorry for yourself. At least, stay in the moment right now and enjoy this joint.”
“You are right. I have been tormenting myself for a long time now. I swear I am not going to do that anymore. I need to break free”. It was the first time in the night that Shekhar was feeling a little light. He didn’t know if this was the Marijuana talking or Cyrus’ words were really helping him out. Either way, he was not going to waste this night anymore.
“I am glad that you accepted the invitation of a random stranger to join him in his trip. It would have been hell otherwise.”
“Yeah. You got a free mechanic. Why wouldn’t you be glad?” They both chuckled.
“So where did you learn to fix a Jeep? I bet it was not in your law school”
“There are many things about me you don’t know Shekhar. I never wanted to study law. As a matter of fact, I never wanted to study anything. I wanted to travel the world, sleep in the hills and swim in the ocean. But that doesn’t come for free, right? Dad was a successful lawyer and hence, my path was set. But there is no need to worry. Just a few years and I will be off to my dreams. I will set forth for my pursuit. The pursuit of finding myself.The pursuit of finding a purpose. The pursuit of finding something I might not even know exists”.
Shekhar’s gaze had now turned from the moon to Cyrus. Was he really seeing his younger self sitting right in front of him? The creative genius who had withered away with the changing seasons. Could he have been different? Could his life have been different if he had made the other choice? Could he have been happy if he had chosen his dreams over Tara ?
“I know what you are thinking of right now”, said Cyrus, with a smirk on his face.
“What?”, said Shekhar, almost expecting Cyrus to read it off his face.
“You are thinking of the road not taken, aren’t you?”
Shekhar didn’t know what to say. Cyrus was right at that spot. But he had promised not to punish himself anymore. He took a deep puff and passed the joint back to Cyrus.
“You are right Cyrus. I wish I had made a braver decision at that time. I should have taken the other road.”
“Talking about the roads, let’s jump into the Jeep and get out of this place before the high wears off. What say?”
Shekhar would have given anything to get out from that place. He got into the Jeep while Cyrus continued with his trip, steering with one hand and a pint in another.
“Cyrus! You should switch the headlights on. It’s still pretty dark”, said Shekhar, who was getting very anxious with the way Cyrus was driving.
“Chill Bro! I have got this. I can traverse this entire city with my eyes blindfolded”, Cyrus jumped with confidence as the Speed-o-Meter touched three digits.
As the jeep slithered in the midst of the forest, Cyrus pushed harder and harder on the pedal. Shekhar was trying to calm him down but to no avail.
“I have been doing this since I was in high school. Just lay back and let the wind talk to you. Remember the road not taken. You can still take that road. You can still afford to be yourself. You can still fly.”
“CYYYRRRUSSSS “, Shekhar’s cry reverberated through the surroundings as he reached for the steering. His eyes were locked on the middle of the road. There wasn’t a lot of time to react. He turned the steering tothe left with as much force as he could muster. Sound of screeching tyres, shattering glass and a scream was all Shekhar could hear before the jeep left the road and crashed into a tree.
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