Ajay waved his parents goodbye as he boarded the bus. His summer holidays had come to an end and he was heading back to hostel. His hostel was in Chennai which was a few hundred miles away from his home.
“Travel safely. Give us a call the moment you reach,” his mother yelled as he waved her from the window. The engine gave a roar and the bus lurched ahead heading to Chennai where his dull hostel life awaited him. ‘I wish I didn’t have to go to that boring hostel,’- Ajay thought morosely, ‘I would swap it for any other place in the world.’
It was late evening and darkness was becoming stronger. Ajay could vaguely make out a few stars twinkling in the smoky sky as he peered out of his window. The bus was now heading to a deserted stretch of rocky road. The trees outside looked dark & creepy as they hurried past him. Cool breeze was slapping across his face giving him relief from the sultry weather. He fidgeted with his phone to kill the time. His co-passengers were sitting lazily looking wearied and drowsy. Ajay stifled a yawn. His eyes were drooping…… He was taking down notes dictated by Ravinder Sir. Ravinder Sir bent down and yelled, “What are you writing, Ajay? ‘I DON’T WANT TO GO TO HOSTEL’?” Ajay looked up and saw the same words etched on the blackboard. He argued, “But Sir, you have written, ‘I don’t want to go to hostel’ on the blackboard.” His teacher slapped him hard. The sound of the slap rang in his ears…. There was a sound of the horn blowing and Ajay woke up with a start. Cool breeze met his face sending spasms of ecstasy all over his body. The driver pressed the horn and accelerated the bus.
It had started to drizzle. There was a deep cliff on the right side of the road which appeared frightening in the dark. Ajay began to hum a tune to cheer himself up. The prospect of going back to hostel had made him, somewhat, glum. And then there was a sudden jerk and the bus lurched over. It slipped over the wet grounds and began to slide down the cliff at an alarming pace. There was a bang and Ajay’s head slammed into the window. Thick glass pierced his skull and he lost consciousness. It was some time later that he came round. He looked around. The bus had come to a standstill and all the passengers were lying unconscious. Ajay felt his face and found that it was splattered in blood. Slowly, he rose from his seat and climbed down the bus.
Moon was shining brightly over the sky. Everything was still and quiet except the occasional wailing of the wind. He surveyed his surroundings. There was a dense jungle on either side of the road and there was not a soul in sight….except one smoky figure which was walking towards him. The figure moved closer and closer and as its face came into view, Ajay realized with a jolt of recognition that it was his friend Krishna….. But then, it couldn’t be…..
“So, your wish got fulfilled. You don’t have to go to the hostel anymore,” Krishna spoke. There was a radiant aura around him and he was smiling serenely.
“Krishna….You here…but you are dead…you died in a car accident last month,” Ajay look bewildered. A wolf howled somewhere in the distance.
“Yes dear, I am dead,” said Krishna with a smile, “…..and so are you.”