I am driving to Munnar. It’s been two hours and I haven’t uttered a single word. I feel like all the eyes are carefully observing me. It’s my turn to speak. Say something, you freak. My friends and I have been planning this trip to Munnar since months now. Every weekend I find some reason to postpone it. But here we are now. Okay, I really gotta say something. I clear my throat. You know how people say their sleep cycle is fucked because of multiple night outs, and how they can’t concentrate during the day till the next weekend? You have heard of it right? Well at some point in my life, I think my life cycle got fucked. I am just seeing the days go by. And I don’t feel like keeping my eyes open on most days. But you still gotta. Right? Keep your eyes open. How will you earn all that money otherwise? And pay the EMI of this car? I am waiting for the next weekend of my life. To fix this terrible cycle. I wonder if it’s ever gonna come or not.
I have spoken finally. I am waiting for their reaction to what I just said. Ten seconds have passed. No reaction. What’s the matter? I look behind. I realise there is nobody in the car. I am driving all alone. I chuckle. I turn on some music. I skip at least a hundred songs before I find that Anthrax song. The one which I discovered when I was fifteen. That day I came home very late from school and there was no reason as to why. I wasn’t hanging out with anyone. I barely had friends. I had just randomly decided to walk, all the way from my school to my house. And not just walk, I took the longest route possible. I wasn’t lost, I just wanted to feel like I was lost. Maybe. I don’t remember. It’s been many years now. I remember throwing my bag on the floor in anger and starting the computer.
The first song I played was this Anthrax song. Something clicked. Instantly. And from that day onwards I listened to that song every day till I stopped it altogether. Doesn’t it happen to you too? A song you love so much for many years and then all of a sudden it feels like the worst song ever. And then an age later, it brings a smile on your face. Well I don’t know about the smile, but after many years, I am playing that song today for the first time again. They say thrash metal is called thrash metal because of Anthrax. I don’t know if that's true. But the guys sure did take out their frustration via their music. I don’t know why I felt like playing it today. Maybe because I am taking a longer route back home. Or maybe because I wanna feel like I am lost. Or maybe because I am lost. Good song, anyway.
I am in a good mood now. Good mood is a relative term I think. My good mood can be someone’s nightmare also. But with respect to the kind of mood I was in before, this mood is better. I have decided to give a lift to a stranger. As I am driving, I am looking out for strangers. Any sort of stranger would do. Just has to be a human being. So far no strangers in sight. The road is quite empty. I wonder what I will say to the stranger, when I don’t even wanna talk to people that I am close to. Strange. But I am imagining a nice conversation. I will ask them about their schooling, studies, work, and all that kind of stuff. I feel that’s the only thing I can talk about with people. I have been at parties where I have asked the same person multiple times about their work. It’s not like I am interested in their jobs, it’s just that this is the only thing that I can fake interest in. I have been driving for a few hours now and I have found no stranger who wants to get a lift from me. There goes my dream of having someone to talk to. This feels like some kind of a metaphor.
I have crossed Munnar now. It’s raining. The mountains seem to grow. I drove past my hotel half an hour ago. It was a nice hotel actually. Old vintage kinda thing. Feels like something a high ranking British officer left behind. I didn’t feel like staying there. So I kept driving. Sometimes you gotta follow your heart just to destroy the ego of your brain. Sure I made the booking and it will not be a financially good decision to not stay at the hotel but you can’t tell me what to do. Right?
I don’t know what comes after Munnar though. Surely there has to be some kind of village. Mountains can’t end here. Do mountains ever end? I have always wanted to go beyond things. It’s raining heavily now. I just finished my last packet of chips. What if there is nothing for the next few hours? The thought scares me. I keep going but I kinda don’t wanna go. The roads are getting narrower. The car is in second gear now. No chance it can ever be in third beyond this. Iron Maiden is playing now. I change the song. I have a playlist called Baroque but it contains instrumentals from this era as well. It contains instrumentals from all eras actually. It’s just called Baroque. The songs don’t know which era they belong to. I play Baroque. A big rock has blocked the road ahead. A guy tells me that I will have to go back to Munnar till someone comes and pushes this rock away. Can’t we push it away? I ask. It’s not out job, he says, plus it’s heavy. I decide to stay till someone comes and clears the road. I imagine staying there for weeks and months and years. I imagine nobody coming to push that rock away. Then one day, after years of spending time in my car, I decide to push that rock away myself. And the moment I touch it, it bursts like a balloon. Someone honks from behind. I come to my senses and decide to drive away. What the fuck was I doing anyway thinking all that shit. I drive pass the hotel again on my way back. There goes my money. As I am reaching Bangalore, on the highway, I spot someone asking for a lift. I keep driving. It’s too late now. I am starting to enjoy my own company. I reach home. 17 missed calls. Back to society.