Chennai, May 31st
It was still dark in the morning. Ganesan woke up. He saw the time was 3.58 am. His inbuilt biological clock has beaten the alarm clock again. He deactivated the 4 o’clock alarm in a rush. He did not want to give it a chance to beep. It was a man vs. machine battle, and he won, or so he thought.
He called his taxi driver to confirm the pickup time before he got out of bed. At 5 am, a taxi was at his gate to take him to Bangalore, where he was scheduled to meet Mr. Sam Prado, a leading industrialist, at 14.00 hrs that afternoon.
He got himself seated in the front seat with his seat belt on. He was well prepared for the meeting, and all his homework was done. It was reflected in his being; he was fresh and energetic.
His taxi, a Toyota Innova, started to cruise on the yet to be busy roads of Chennai towards the high way to Bangalore. He was speaking to himself. The Innova is the best for the Indian road conditions.
The morning drive was good. With the vehicle’s windows shut and the AC on, there was near silence. Considering 6 hours of travel time to Bangalore, he wanted to break the silence and start conversing with the driver.
He started… “What’s your name?” “Rajkumar,” the driver replied. There was silence again. His thoughts took control of him— Bangalore, Kanada Superstar Rajkumar, a gentleman and a good actor, Kidnapped by Veerappan and then released… A loud horn from a passing lorry shattered his thoughts.
He slowly turned; the driver was busy with the steering wheel. He switched on the radio—bakthi songs poured out; it was soothing to his ears, and though the driver was too focused, he too was enjoying it. This continued for a while before the vehicle halted at the Highway Hotel for breakfast. The hotel’s name was “Parambariyam”. Using his mobile, Ganesan goggled it to find the meaning – it said culture, tradition, etc. He was eager to find out what was inside the hotel.
They ordered Combo Breakfast, which was the special of the day, as told by the waiter. The water and coffee were served in copper utensils, and the food was served on banana leaves—the name was justified, he thought.
The driver was back on his job, and Ganesan, with intermittent naps, little conversations, random thoughts, and enjoying views through the front and side windows, the vehicle reached Bangalore.
At 13.50 PM, Ganesan was at Mr. Sam Prado’s office conversing with his secretary, whose workstation was just at the exit of Prado’s chamber. At 14.00 hrs., the secretary went inside and came out to inform Ganesan that Mr. Sam Pardo was just completing his lunch meeting with the senior executives of Four Wheels, a leading automobile company headquartered in the US with a manufacturing unit in Chennai, and he would meet him after that.
At 14.15 hrs, Ganesan saw Four Wheels executives coming out of Mr. Sam Prado’s chamber. There was a surprise, his college friend Srinivasn was one of them. Both were able to recognise each other. There was an exchange of pleasantries, and their conversation got extended for a while.
Srinivasn spoke very highly of Mr. Sam Prado about his energy, his contributions, his achievements, and now being only 45 years old, how he was able to compete with the global giants and position his company as number one in the global market.
Ganesan was excited; he thought his meeting would change his life forever. Srinivasn took leave, and Ganesan was back in his seat waiting to be called in by Mr. Sam Pardo.
Time went by; Ganesan was a bit nervous and tense. He reminded the secretary once in between. She politely replied, “Mr. Sam is aware of his presence and will call him.”
After a while, the secretary stopped her work and checked the schedule. There would be another visitor at 16.30 hrs. It was already 16.20 hours, and Ganesan was waiting. She decided to remind Mr. Sam Prado again and peeped into his room. He was not in his seat.
At 16.40 hrs, Ganesan was shocked to hear that Mr. Sam Prodo was found dead in the rest room attached to his office chamber in a standing position, eyes open staring at the mirror and hands holding the wash basin firm in his full business suit. No one could believe it. A Sudden Cardiac Arrest How could this happen to Mr. Sam Prado, a fit and regular jogger?
Ganesan never had and will never have the opportunity to meet Mr. Sam Prado again.
On his way back to Chennai, he was thinking deeply. He realised how uncertain life is, and a moment is enough to change everything.
Everything is transitory, and the strings of control are elsewhere, he was saying to himself.
His life changed afterward, though his meeting with Mr. Pedro never happened.
Now he takes life as it comes, living every moment, being kind, showering love and trying to make this world a better place. In particular, he never postpones what needs to be done at that moment, for he is only sure of this moment and not the next one.