The Outhouse

Those were the best days of my life…played Bryan Adams’s in the background soon before the car grumbled to life. It was slowing down, giving up on its existence in a deserted piece of land right when the sun was merging with the ground at a distance. Ryan could see the birds returning to their nests and he was still a couple of hours from reaching Pune… Finally with a few jolts, the car came to a halt. It was dark by now. A long stretch of empty road laid ahead and a deep valley to his left. No signs of life could be sensed around. Ryan tried to turn the key again; the car briefly chortled, but died soon after. A long backroad, barren land on the sides, dark valley and chill in the air was all Ryan was left with.

“Sweetheart, I am stuck here. I will try to walk a few miles to find some help. My phone battery, akin to the car, is about to die any minute” explained Ryan to his wife over a call.

“You always do this; I don’t know what harm it is to pro-actively charge the battery of the phone. Does it cost anything?” said Veena from the other side.

“Don’t worry honey, I will be fine. You needn’t take any stress in this condition. I shall be home soon. Now I will hang up and save some battery for the emergency. Love you”.

Ryan looked around.  Clueless about which way to go, he followed his instinct and started walking straight, then turned right and followed a trail that led inside a sparse forest.

“Damn this area. Oh God, mercy!!” he muttered to himself.

Far across the trees, he saw a dimly lit shade. Hope beckoned. He rushed his steps through the wood, and reached the house. It looked like a vacation home built amid the jungle with no other house in the vicinity. Ryan tried to peep inside through the glass window but all he could see was the satin red curtain. The house was in a deep slumber. Doubtful of his luck, he still knocked at the door.

A beam of smile flashed through Ryan’s lips when, after a couple of minutes, he saw the house come to life. Lights turned on and someone opened the door.

“Hello Mam. I am so sorry to bother you at this time (Ryan looked at his watch, it showed 10 past 21:00). Actually, my car has ditched me a few miles from here. Would you know if I can find some mechanic nearby”?

The old lady adjusted her specks.

“I am sorry son. We are very remote from main highway and city. I don’t think you will find anyone around at this time”.

“Well…. Ok… I will go back and spend the night in my car and wait for the dawn to take over. Thank you Mam” Ryan started to move.

The old lady, hesitatingly called him

“You can stay here, if you want. My son and his family have come so I cannot offer you to come inside, but you can spend the night in the outhouse. It’s not safe to sleep in the car in middle of an isolated road”

“Thank you Mam. That’s really kind of you” Ryan concurred.

“Wait here. I will get the keys and some water for you”.

“So where are you coming from?” asked the lady while slowly pacing towards the outhouse.

“I am coming from Surat, going to Pune. I had to leave early this morning but work kept me occupied. I have been away from home since a week now and I can’t wait to be with my wife and child”.

“I am sure. How old is your kid?” asked the lady adjusting her winter shawl on the shoulder.

Ryan blushed “Actually the baby is yet to come. My wife is due next month”

Both chuckled.

“Here you go” the lady unlocked the door. “It’s not in a tidy condition and has no light, as you can see. But this is all I can offer you tonight”

“It’s nice” smiled Ryan.

The lady handed Ryan a water bottle… “And one more thing, there is no latch on the gate from inside. I suggest I lock the door from outside as leaving it open would mean inviting fat rats that will do anything to feast on you tonight. I will wake you up tomorrow morning… 7 AM?”

“You are so kind. 7 should be perfect”.

“Good night son”

The door locked. Ryan tried to bring his phone to work, to make at least one call, but the battery had already drained by then. From the moonlight that found its way through a small window, Ryan noticed the disheveled appearance of the room before he dozed off.

……… The next morning …….

Good morning listeners, this is RJ Sonia with you again; to play your favorite songs and dedications… played in the car.

“Daddy, I want to sit with mummy and you in front”

“Not now. You play with Daadi in the backseat. Tell her all that you will show when we reach our house. Daadi will stay with us for a few months”

Riya adjusted herself back again.

Daadi, where did you keep my doll last night? I couldn’t find it”

“Riya” daddy looked at her from the rear view mirror “Daadi can’t recall what happened 30 minutes ago, how she will remember about your doll?”

The old lady fixed her gaze on the passing by trees, with her head rested on the window, oblivious of everything that happened 30 minutes ago… a night before…. a day ago.

This song goes from Tarun to Vaibhavi..announced the RJ .. Enjoy and stay tuned.

“Zindagi do pal ki… Intezar kab tak Hum karenge bhala… Tumhe pyaar kab tak na karenge bhala.. “

… And the car sped up on the highway… far… far… very far away!!!!

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