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The Circle of Life

June 28, 2011

All four came to, at almost the same time. It was quite dark. When their eyes could adjust to the light, there was a bewildered look on all their faces. There was a young man and woman in their 20s, a middle aged man of around 50 and an old man of 70. They realize that they are standing on a flat round table-top about 25 feet across, highly unstable as if it was balancing on a pivot. They also realize that they have to balance delicately or the whole thing would topple over. Suddenly a bright light shines on them, and they are able to see each other clearly. The young man and woman are dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt with the name of a popular IT company embroidered on the left lapel. The old man is dressed in a white shorts and sweat shirt. The other man is dressed in a black trousers and a blue shirt. Suddenly they hear a gruff voice, sounding as if it was emanating from a badly tuned radio. “Welcome to my place. I am afraid I have some bad news for you. Only one of you can go back to your place and that, would be first person to reach the white circle in the middle.”  They blink their eyes and very vaguely see a small white circle in the middle. From where they are standing, the circle appears too small to accommodate even one. And all four are standing so far apart that they have to really shout to make themselves heard. The echoing sounds adding to the eeriness.

The middle aged man was the first to speak. “My daughter’s getting married next week. Almost all the arrangements are in place”. “My family needs me at this time”. “I request you to let me get to the centre”. The girl shrieked making the rest of them jump off their skins. “So what?” “It is your daughter who is getting married, not you” she shouted. “I will give you all lots of money or to your family and I will look after them very well, if you let me go back”. She was hysterical and losing control of her emotions. “What use are you all to society anyway?” She was ranting and totally on the edge. “Sneha, I am up to this with your ‘I will buy everything with my money’ bit “. The young guy butted in, pointing to his chin. It was obvious that he was really disgusted with her behaviour. It was difficult to make out if the girl was his friend or his wife. Maybe the eventuality of the situation made him come out strongly against her and she was clearly taken aback by his anger. She reacted the only way she could. She lashes out at him. “All the time you needed my money for everything. How I hated you as you come sucking up to me and now you talk as if you are pious saint. I don’t care what you think I am going to be the one who will reach the centre first”.

She suddenly starts running to the centre. The table top starts to wobble and she loses her footing. The other three instinctively move to balance themselves, as she falls  and starts sliding to the edge desperately trying to grip on to something to steady herself. They could only watch helplessly as she slides off the edge and falls into the darkness below. They could hear her screams trailing off, for more than a minute and then eerie silence. They  all remain silent for some tim; no one moved. Then the old man says, “I have lived my life well and have no wish to compete for it now. I wish you both well”. So saying he jumps off into the darkness. The remaining two balance themselves and stand face to face.

The young man starts crying,“I have never even in my wildest dreams thought my end would come so soon. You know, I just managed to find myself a lucrative job. I am just trying to payback and support my parents, who have sacrificed everything for my studies”. The middle aged man remains silent. Both of them know that they need the other to be able to reach the centre. The middle aged man says, “Maybe both of us can reach the centre and get away from this nightmare”. They gingerly start moving towards the centre, as the table top shifts every time they move. As they reach the centre, taking one painful step after another, they realize that there is after all no place for both of them.


It was five in the morning when the call came to the police station, about an accident. The caller was not willing to identify himself and not very forthcoming about the details. The only thing that they managed to get out of him  was the location and it fell right in their jurisdiction. Apart from the head constable, he was the only one available at the station at that time. So he had to go to check. He shuddered as the December chill hit him as he started his motorbike. “Why can’t people find some decent time to get into accidents?” he murmured as he drove his bike. Another hour and he would have been off his shift and would be heading back home. Now the completion of formalities would take 2 to 3 hours. He cursed out aloud.  There was not much of traffic given the time and weather.  He turned a corner and saw the white car. It was a Honda City. It had climbed on to the pavement and crashed into the railings He parked his bike nearby and started walking towards the car to have a better look. There were a 3 or 4 people standing not knowing what to do. He motioned to them and they came hesitantly. He asked them to divert the vehicles coming from both sides of the road. They rushed away glad that they don’t have to do any dirty work.

He wasn’t prepared for what he saw. It was a bizarre scene. The front of the car was completely smashed and had caved in, leaving no doubt about the condition of the occupants, at least of those sitting in the front. There was a man doubled up on the railings. It was as if someone had washed some white clothes and put it on the railing to dry. He was somehow reminded of a popular detergent advertisement. He walked up to have a closer look. It was an old man, probably out for his morning walk He turned around to the car. He looked into the window. There were two people, one of them a woman, her long hair covering her face as she lay smashed into the steering wheel. Drunken driving, he thought to himself. The other was a guy, leaning on the seat, a trickle of blood oozing from his mouth. He appeared to be peacefully sleeping. The constable took a step back to check on the guy. It was difficult to reach the man as the windows were broken and jagged edges jutting out. He put his hand contorting his body and took the man’s hand. It felt lifeless.  He took a step back to check the registration plate. It was then he noticed a motorbike lying on almost the other end of the road. He crossed the road. There was a briefcase lying open, a lot of what looked like cards lay strewn. He reached to where the motorbike lay. There was a body lying face down, in a form that only the dead can achieve. What a way to start the day, he thought to himself. He took out his mobile and called the station. “Yes there has been an accident, 4 people dead, arrange for the photographer and a van to move the bodies to the morgue…….” he cocked his head as he heard a moan. The man beside the motorbike was moaning. “…wait, wait send me an ambulance, one of them maybe alive”.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2011 21:13

    Conclusions, what conclusions Govind 😉
    Reminded of a scene from the National Treasure, Part 2 I think


  2. June 29, 2011 21:09

    Thanks Ashu, It was not definitely lifted from National Treasure 2. I have not seen it as yet. 🙂
    You are talking about conclusions? Some of them are asking me where the rest of the story is? 🙂

  3. July 1, 2011 18:15

    It left me a bit winded. Still scratching my head. I guess I like conclusions.

    Usha, I know I am not much of a communicator,but I didn’t think I will hit a new low.You always hear about people who have survived freak accidents involving many, I was just wondering who would decide about who will survive. 🙂

  4. July 23, 2011 03:20

    This was a WOW post, PRG. I didn’t realise you were so good at mixing fiction with life… very nicely written

    Pallu thanks a lot for your kind words! I have not seen any new posts from you for some time now. And my comments in your blog keep disappearing! I don’t know why? Maybe they are not up to the mark. 🙂

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