On The Road
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The Night I Stood Up

From room number 305. I have a beautiful private balcony.

I was walking through my favorite part of the road. There are many trees, tall, making an A hundred feet above you. It gets dark there. I was on phone and had just finished talking to her. Coming from the dark I was nearing a lamppost. Just before that  dark yellow light could have fallen on me a guy caught my neck from behind by his forearm. I really thought it must be somebody known, a friend’s prank yet still unlikely. In the 2nd second I was flat down on that wet road. I realized i was getting hit just on my face. I kind of opened my eyes. They must be more than four. The one who took me by his forearm tried to snatch my 1200 rupee mobile. It fell off from my fist the moment one of the shoe sole hit my thumb. I don’t remember getting hit anywhere apart from my face and few times on my forearm and hand. The moment they got my phone, I realized they were going away, they were softly running. It seemed comfortable as if it was another work for them.

I slowly stood. There was no body ever far to be seen. Around that place fog had started to appear in the distant air. I was still trying to grapple with the idea, what just happened. I couldn’t immediately imagine what to do but i started running too, after them. The beating had given me some sense of an unknown kind of wild pride. I saw an auto coming from behind, the fat driver saw me, i saw him. We connected. I in next three seconds told him that i am running behind the ones who snatched my phone a while ago. He said sit. In the meantime i saw them taking a right turn hundred feet away. I felt focused. I wasn’t even angry, It was like they keyed me to follow them. The fat auto driver drove at a speed of a comet. In 20 seconds, I got down ten steps ahead of that looking gang. All were skinny like wires not even willowly, must be younger, few might be my age. I got down started walking opposite, towards them on the footpath. i was well lit and we were approaching a cigarette vendor where i made them stop.

My fat driver. I felt he was ready to accompany me but my agility made him to observe about to happen drama. I remember I stopped right opposite to the guy who had my phone, in his pocket. I was fortunate. They seemed surprised, not terrified of course. It was dark then when I got beating. I was getting hit on my face hence had put my arms around, they never saw me. So no body moved until I said, I want nothing. Just give my phone back. It was fairly crowded and on around the cigarette shop. The moment they realized I am the same person they coupld of minutes ago had won over, i could see the expression changing towards panic. In an instant they seemed shocked. I have found them or merely chased in no time.

They started moving away from me. My eyes on pocket. I could see my phone there. That size. That frail rectangle figure. The one who had it ran backwards and I followed too. Every body else left each other and ran in different directions. While running he took out the phone and threw it there, i slowed down. He was going away. I rose in confidence. He was the only one left whom I could have chased and probably would have given something back. But i suddenly had no motive left. They all got lost in the dark again. I got my phone back, I thanked the fat auto driver. He offered me to drop to my place. That I accepted. More so out of fear. It still doesn’t feel funny. I kept wondering of what happened, so sudden.

Though I will confess that not even for a second i was afraid to go after them instead it was warming on that winter night to have got such a beating. It made alive. I enjoyed it.

I would like to remember it for all the good reasons as I got that chance of fighting for at least one phone out of so many that i have kept losing.
Until my mother reads it here, she would never know it.

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This entry was posted in: On The Road

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Hello, I am Narayan Kaudinya. I work as a teacher. I make films and photographs. For past 8 years I have been travelling the Indian subcontinent teaching and extensively documenting rural and her communities. Learning and understanding culture, communication and various ways of human mind and body. During one of my travels in the Himalayas, I happened to learn the ancient Yogic way of nerve healing, It has since then helped me generously to enter homes for shelter and food in the night. I come back to Delhi. Here mother and I run a small school for children.

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