“Travel is like meditation – It gives me a different experience every time and helps me to expand “said Phanikumar. There were four other people in the car. He was sitting in the front and not sure whether others at the back heard him. There was a long silence as the car kept moving on the highway which was deserted and looked as if it was laid only for them. They were just half way and another 350 Kms to go.
They started their journey in the morning it was a hot day but they managed to beat the heat with the car’s AC. By dusk they were just 80 Kms away from their destination, the car slowed down a bit as they entered a hamlet. There was sudden chillness and as they opened the car windows they could smell the freshness of the earth. “It has rained” said Phanikumar and as usual others were silent. Rain has left many mini reservoirs on the road. The patches in the road were filled.
Though the car slowed down the driver continued his highway style driving enjoying the cool breeze which followed the rain. As the car sped it ran over the rain water splashing it all around leaving the village pedestrian Gopal Sahib wet who was returning home after his day’s work.
The sudden flash of water raised his temper turning his eyes red. He immediately signaled his fellow villagers on the other side to stop the car, which they promptly did and the car came to halt.
Everything happened in a moment before anyone could realize what went wrong. Villagers surrounded the vehicle and the driver realized his mistake. Phanikumar sitting in the front seat had no option other than to handle the situation. Gopal Sahib’s rage was evident from his high decibel levels. For him the rain water that splashed on his already wet cloth was a slur on his social standing. He was in a no mood to compromise. Phanikumar’s repeated apologies didn’t help; others in the car were silent as usual. There was increasing restlessness among the villagers, they were getting ready. Driver started to shiver.
Old fakir Abdul Rehman sitting at the road side tea shop, witness to the entire event quickly sensing the situation stepped into the crowd shouting “what happened?” The crowd calmed down. It was a display of the respect he commanded. Gopal Sahib came forward and narrated the incident exaggerating it a bit. Phanikumar found a new hope seeing the fakir’s face. He attempted to get out of the car to explain what happened. Fakir signaled him to remain in the car and heard what he has to say.
Fakir went into a deep thought and then asked a little boy in the crowd to fetch a bucket of rain water. The boy promptly did that, fakir saintly told Gopal sahib to take the bucket and pour the rainwater back on the driver and/or the people in the car. Gopal Sahib lifted the bucket but couldn’t pour it back on the people inside the car. Something stopped him in doing that; he emptied the bucket pouring the water down at the road. There was total silence as if everyone there was in deep meditation. There was relief in Gopal Sahib’s face as if instant justice was delivered. He was back to normal and tension in the crowd diffused. Fakir’s parting words to every one there was “Be complete about what happened and don’t carry this with you”. The crowd dispersed and car started to move again. This time everyone in the car agreed with Phanikumar that travel is like meditation and it gives different experience every time and helps to expand. Unusually Phanikumar was silent deeply reflecting on what the fakir said.