Snow-Ridden Gypsy

How often have we heard the phrase 'Taking for granted'?

Probably more than we can remember. It's etched in our culture especially among the English-speaking folks (Pssst... That includes us Indians as well). But every time I have used that phrase in my life, I actually was taking that phrase itself for granted and hardly ever meant a word I said, as with most pretentious non-native English speaker on the planet. But life passes through your eyes with an innate attempt to seal the deal that someday you are going to forcefully learn the crucial aspects of your life. It took a sudden flux of weather change and a rush of blood to the veins to actually comprehend the true meaning of it.

It was a typical fall morning in October on the Island of Prince Edward - The home of confederation as they may call it. I always drive to and from work, which is a bit far. On the course, I get to enjoy the beautiful fall weather scenery by the roadside, especially along the heavenly Bonshaw Hills. I act insanely stupid if I don't get to grab my morning coffee, a habit which I developed after being in Canada. That day was in fact one of those days I decided not to take my caffeine. As a result everything snowballed (both literally and metaphorically). I was feeling a bit a drowsy due to this obvious reason and was lacking attention in everything I did that day. I could hear my colleagues running around the office shouting, "It's coming. It's coming." For all I know, my guesses were anything from a free delivery of chocolates from clients to even a possible sexual innuendo. At some point of time, even my colleagues came to my room saying, "Buddy, shouldn't you be leaving early? You live in Charlottetown." I casually replied, "Don't worry guys", inspite of having no fucking clue as to what they were referring to. I was still in a slothful vibe and it carried on until noon. Around late afternoon, my stomach started grumbling and I decided to grab lunch. I walked with the food in my hands, when I thought I shall peep outside my window. To my shock, I shouted, "BLOODY HELL!" A blood-rush so powerful now hit me, that I needed no coffee. I was faced with the stark reality. A heavy blizzard had struck the island and my car was now completely covered in snow. With all the noises and hustling happening around my office, my lack of energy sent me more into the mode of an old Bear. There were hardly any cars left at the compound. Almost everyone left!

Without hesitation (finally) I packed my stuff, locked the office and got inside my car. I couldn't feel my hands in the piercing cold and my car was just heating up. It was going to take time. I pedaled my car to leave the place, but now my car won't move... The tires were starting to skid...

Now let me backup here a bit, so that you guys can have a fuller perspective of what's happening here. As an intro, my car is a BMW convertible. I bought him over the summer so that I could show the town I could drive like a bike at the same enjoying the sun. Being one of the few people on the island, who actually owned one of this beauty, I actually did feel prestigious. The tires on my car were meant for summer, and not winter. But I had pre-planned winter ahead and already bought a set of winter tires and stored them up at my place. I thought that I would get them put on my car by December and also along with that I could get my car's heater and spark plug fixed. Fast-forward to that day, I had never expected snow to hit and by default, was not prepared. I had summer tires on.

Now... back to our scene at the office lot. My tires were losing traction every-time I accelerated. Something you should know about the BMW is that it's a rear-wheel drive vehicle, which means it's the worst possible form of transport you could have in the snow. It was starting to get dark already. I summoned my spirit and drove my car with a minor acceleration and eventually pulled it out of the snow, onto the road. I stopped to fill up my tank with gas, which is were I met my first hurdle. The car simply won't pull out of the snow. I keep pedaling and the only thing I could hear was a loud "SCREEEEECH". A couple of helpful folks came and pushed me on to the main road, which helped me move ahead at a minimum speed.

All throughout my drive, I just wanted to reach home at any cost. I just hoped that the car wouldn't let me down just for this day. The roads were loaded with snow and visibility was severely compromised due to the lack of street lights and the heavy snowfall. Up head, I saw a huge trail of cars stranded on the expressway, something which I hope didn't happen. Apparently an accident had occurred and a car skid off the road onto a lamppost. Trucks, snow-plowing vehicles and Police cars all were blocking the road trying to get the mess sorted. Oh... how my stars aligned that night! I was stuck on the road for almost an hour and my heater was not working. It was practically trying to say, "I give up this shit. Go wear a sweater." I didn't have any either.

Sometime later the roads cleared and the cars started moving gradually. I was praying intensely that I hope I don't slow down on an uphill road because, if that happens, my rear-wheel drive car along with the all-season tires was simply going to slide down the hill onto the cars that were coming uphill behind me. And I wouldn't be able to do anything to control it. There simply was no option. For some sheer luck, my car pulled me up from the Bonshaw Hill and I reached the straight road. Then the oxymoronic happened - The car wouldn't steer ahead. The more I pedal, the more the tires lost traction and kept skidding on the snow-ridden road. I tried all possible options everything from reversing the car to slow revving the engine. I officially gave up. The beautiful Bonshaw Hill now took the form of a soul-sucking Demon. I switched on the hazard light hoping for help to come. My body temperature was severely dropping and I could feel my Adrenalin rushing. I picked up my phone on the last bit of its battery and I called 911. Emergency services picked up the phone and I shared my location. In a soothing tone they said, "Don't worry sir. We shall come to pick you up". A sigh of relief tried to dawn upon me. But my body couldn't pace through it. I kept waiting in the car trembling with cold and without a sweater, watching other cars pass by.

Almost twenty minutes later, I was woken up from my mild nap with a knock on my cars window. It was a Police Officer. As I opened by door, he said, "Sir, this is what we are going to do. I am going to ask you to step out of the vehicle. I shall take you home. We will tow your car and bring it." Never before had a Policeman asked me to step out of a vehicle with such courtesy and that too to escort me home (And not for breaking the law).That was probably one of the most adverse nights in my life, but this was the best thing that happened that night. I carried my bag and got inside his Ford cop-car. There was already another guy sitting inside. Was he a suspect?

"What's your story?", I asked him curiously
"Oh... My... My car got into an accident", he replied shivering rigorously
"Holy shit man. Are you ok?"
"Yeah... Yeah I am fine. My car just skid of the.. the Expressway"
"Wait a minute. So was it your accident that caused the roadblock before?"
"Oh yes... Oh yes... It was mine."
"I hope you are alright man."
"I am fine", he said shaking his head. "I am glad that I didn't run into anyone."

So there it was, just when I thought that that night couldn't get any weirder.

After almost an hour treading through the snow-covered roads, the officer dropped me home. The moment I walked into my house, until that very second I stepped foot in, I couldn't believe that I was actually there. I looked at my watch... I was stranded in the snow for almost five hours! I spend few minutes in silence with myself. I realized something then. My home was probably one of the most peaceful places I could be in, yet my body was showing no signs of calming down. The reality was that my mind was equipped to deal with the situation and I knew it. But my body was a whole different story. The moment I got stranded on the road, it sent a stream of Adrenalin throughout my body and sent me into survival mode. I could then clearly differentiate that the body itself had its own form of intelligence. I prepared myself a cup of hot chocolate to subdue myself

As I sipped it, I noticed the set of winter tires I had bought which I kept in the kitchen. I didn't bother to put them on my car. I didn't even bother to fix my heater because, I was hoping that my car could handle it.

I just thought to myself... "I took him for granted"

And all this started because I was lazy enough to get my morning coffee. Had I done that, I would have been in my senses, I would have seen the snow and left early for home

Sometimes you learn the hard way kid


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I am the kind of person who continually keeps changing. Some call it restless. But I call it evolving with time. I am an Engineer by profession, a Coldplay fan and a pure Socialist at heart. I believe that one should not stop dreaming and that dreams install hope in this world