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Ram finished his rushed morning routine and started his dear car to rush to his office about 5 kms away from home. As soon as he started the car he cursed himself for not fueling it up yesterday evening, now he would have to waste another 5 minutes of precious morning time. Reluctantly he turned his beloved car towards the petrol bunk not aware of the fact that this 5 minutes will change the course of his entire day.

Glancing at his watch again as he had only 10 minutes left for the conference call he drove out of the bunk. Just when he was outside he saw a lady a little older than him looking worried and asking for a lift, though he normally doesn’t give anyone a lift something in the look of the lady made him stop. She told him she needs to get somewhere urgently and has been waiting for an auto for the past 30 minutes but none is ready to go… knowing Chennai and its autowallahs he decided to drop her as it was just on the way to his office.

After about an hour, when his wife Shanti was cleaning the dinning table she realised that Ram has left his dabba home and called him up telling him the same. But to her surprise she found his cell phone coming as switched off which was very strange as she remembered him charging the phone yesterday night as they had argued on who will use the point for charging. Thinking he might be in a meeting or something she called his office and let him a voicemail. When he didn’t call back for the next two hours, she called him again… the cell phone was still switched off and the extension still going to voicemail. She decided to call the reception and leave a message for him and then what the receptionist told her shocked her… Ram had never come to office today.

This was so unlike her husband to go suddenly missing but she decided to wait for some more time trying his cellphone every 5 minutes. When there was no way she could contact with till 4 in the evening, she started to get nightmares and get really worried. All kinds of thoughts from an accident to some major health problem started coming to her mind how much ever she tried to keep them away.

She decided to call Ram’s cousin Surya and tell him everything. Surya reached their house and after hearing to everything got very worried himself, after waiting for another hour they decided to go to the police and check on all accidents that have happened in the city near his route. Fortunately there were none but inspite of this being a good news, it frightened them a little more… Where was Ram?

Shanti and Surya took the streets of Chennai and started searching for him. After 2 hours of throughly searching the route he usually takes from home to work, they decided to wait it out as there was hardly anything else they could do and just when Surya was getting really depressed and shanti was just sitting in the corner tears flowing down her eyes, at around 8pm they received a call from Ram saying don’t worry I am on the way home and will be there in another hour or so. He told them he will come and tell them and don’t ask any questions on phone. Surprised but relieved they waited for Ram to reach back.

And when he reached back, they both were shocked… he looked very tired and confused and when asked what happened, he told them what happened in the morning, that he had given the lady a lift for 3 kms and that he doesn’t remember anything after that. He only knows that after giving her lift they didnt talk at all apart from her saying thanks and the next thing he remembers is waking up in his car on Chennai-Bangalore highway near Yelagari and everything he had was with him… his watch, laptop, cell phone, cell phones, cash and cards… confused he just started driving bad and after getting a hold of himself he realised Shanti would be very tensed and called her.

Surya and Ram went to the police station and registered a complaint on what had happened. The police guys looked equally amused as they had not heard of anything like this before, its been an year now and Ram still doesn’t remember what happened on that day. Inspite of trying multiple times he is blank on that day… neither have police come with anything that might have been done with his car on that day…Needless to say he has resolved never to try and help anyone else

PS: The above is NOT FICTION…its a true story that happened to one of N’s cousin in chennai, names have ofcourse been changed but everything else in the story is truth….Ritu’s post return made me write this… strange things happen on the road and I think its important for all of us to be try and be very careful. The incident has left a deep mark on the cousin as well as us… how suddenly something can happen in life which we have no control on and worst we dont even know what happened actually