Long slimy danger, indeed! I looked back one last time to ensure that there was absolutely no one following us. The scene behind us looked convincingly calm and quiet with no soul in sight.
I looked at my wife and she looked stunningly gorgeous even in the dark! I gazed at her lovingly one last time before I decided to shift the focus on to the road which was now slowly blending into the flyover. It was a rather steep turn as the flyover spiralled itself into, geometrically speaking, about seventy degrees right and continued straight post that.
My Tissot beeped to remind me that it was now all of 7.30 pm. Had felt like a rather long drive for some strange reason. On a journey, when an untoward incident takes place, the journey suddenly seems tiring and long. We continued our ascent uphill. The Baleno had the power of a bull and climbed up with absolute ease. In fact she seemed to pick up speed. Good girl. We were roughly touching 80 kms per hour.
And then suddenly, lo and behold, the long slimy danger! It stared us in the eye from a pivotal place. My wife and I froze. The speed did little to help us ignore it’s presence. Little did I know about the genesis of snakes, but I at once knew that this one had to be a King Cobra. It was all coiled up in sheer majesty in the middle of the road. I jammed the brakes like a reckless driver for the first time in my life. The snake did not move and waited clamly to watch the action. The Baleno drifted due to the sudden brakes but tilted only to come to a halt millimetres away from the median.
The AC was on auto mode yet did little to stop the sweat on my brow. I looked at my wife to see if she was ok. This time she chose to stare at the snake. She looked frozen in time. I quickly turned back to check on the kids and for some beautiful reason, both of them were sleeping comfortably in the arms of the back seat. I turned back to look at mankind’s oldest enemy. For the first time, I was experiencing a Cobra so big and so close. I could see the beautiful split tongue coming out and going in. And then in like a matter of seconds, it slithered away. Just vanished without warning.
I smiled and sighed a relief and turned to look at my wife to smile expecting another little compliment of how well I managed the situation. She was still frozen in time. I calmly told her that the danger had now lurked away. She still continued to stare at the road ahead. For some reason, she looked more disturbed now than then. She slowly raised her hand to point what lie ahead.
Like a movie scene and I swear I did not do it on purpose but I actually turned my head very very slowly. The scene before us could not explained the way it was experienced. The powerful headlights of the Baleno focused on a flyover that seemed to end. Abruptly. For a moment i felt my eyes would pop out. It was an under constructed flyover and we had stopped less than two metres away from the end. There was nothing that could explain what had just transpired in front of us.
I felt for my wife’s hand and she immediately held mine. We did not speak. Tears welled in my wife’s eyes. Shocked myself at the sudden turn of events, I slowly maneuvered the Baleno to turn back. This was indeed too much of a night! The rest of the drive down the flyover was very cautious with unspoken words. For some reason, Lionel and Ronan had decided to keep quiet. I do not remember if I had turned off the stereo or this was also some unexplained tale.
As we safely came off the flyover and took the 70 degree turn, I saw the same villagers walking toward the flyover. For some reason, unlike the first time, they looked happy and seemed to be smiling. They waved out to me to stop. My brain sent out a signal to my leg to press the brakes and it obeyed. I felt too weak to be in control of anything right now.
The same big burly man walked up to my window side and told me that the under constructed flyover was the reason to ask us to stop. They thought that we would have got off the flyover in the most expected way and were on their way to help in whatever way they could. They continued to compliment my driving as I had averted a major disaster. Through my broken Kannada, when I tried to explain that I actually stopped due to a Cobra, they laughed at me stating that there was never a Cobra spotted in that area. Even if it was, there were very little chances that it would land on the top of an under constructed flyover. I felt weaker and decided not to waste my energy in explaining anything to them.
As I started off yet again, my wife and me continued to stay quiet till we reached Jungle Lodges and Resorts. We knew we had the rest of our life to discuss what had just happened.
For now we needed the silence to help sink in the facts and feel gratified about the forces that we choose to ignore most of the times in our life. Forces that we have taken for granted until the force lets us experience an experience that is so beautiful, it actually feels you just met your ‘Creator’!