*The following events are based on a true story, and is the tale of unmatched valour and courage shown by VNIT, Nagpur students. All names have been kept the same, to retain authenticity and pay tribute to the undaunting spirit of engineers and their unparalleled knack for ‘Jugaad.’
Braving the storm, Faizan drove on. “Stop worrying,” he said, “I’m a fabulous driver! You should see me cruising on the road! There’s nothing that can stop me!” With a troubled expression on his face, Ishan just stared ahead. The rain was pouring down hard, and they had a mission to accomplish. If not for these daredevils, I would’ve been home, netflix and chilling, right now, he thought.
The daredevil in question was Arjun, who while returning to Nagpur from a college event, thought it a good idea to visit the nearby dam, and took a deroute, with 8 others on bikes in tow. Ignoring the girls’ hostel curfew, these guys had let time get the better of them, and were enjoying a spontaneous party. A gentle rain, suddenly transformed into a major downpour, and they got stranded near the dam. With no other option in sight, Arjun had called Ishan to come pick them up in his car. The owner of a small hatchback, Ishan quickly called Faizan, his junior in college, who had an SUV, paid for the petrol, in true engineering college style, and set out to rescue his friends.
It was getting dark and the rain showed no signs of slowing down, and neither did Faizan. Ishan could see the streetlights and trees buzzing past him as they neared 80. Up ahead, the highway, broke into two, with a small diversion sign blinking in the distance. A huge mound of earth, separated the under construction road from the road which was to be taken. Unmindful of the huge hump, Faizan drove right into it, causing the car to literally take off in the air, and land several paces ahead!
“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Are you okay? What have you done?” Ishan screamed after he got back his senses. He realized he was hurt on his head, which had started throbbing lightly. “I’m fine. Shit! Holy Shit! Look at the windscreen!” exclaimed Faizan. “What do you expect? The car just bounced away like a crazy ball!” The windscreen was shattered, and the glass had made concentric patterns all over the screen.
“Do you feel it?” asked Faizan.
“I feel we are slowly sinking deeper.”
“You are just stoned! You moron. Where’s my phone?” Ishan was exasperated.
Sheepishly, Faizan handed him the phone, which was lodged between the windscreen and the dashboard, completely broken.
“Wow. Just wow. It’s gone. My display is in a million pieces and all thanks to you!”
“One of the million pieces is lodged in my leg. It was numb till now, but it’s starting to hurt.”
Carefully, Ishan pulled out a tiny piece of glass, clearly part of his phone’s screen from Faizan’s leg with a single look that said, ‘serves you right!’ Both of them struggled out of the car, instantly getting drenched in the rain which was still on in full force, only to land in a big pile of wet icky mud.
“Hell no! The car is wedged in this crap, and its settling. We need to push it, and fast.”
“I told you we were sinking!”
“Shut up and give me a hand.”
They pushed and shoved, and heaved and pulled, but to no avail. Ishan took the steering and tried to raise the car out of the puddle, but it was stuck deep. Faizan’s phone was no help either, even though it wasn’t damaged. They tried calling emergency numbers, but to no avail. They were either busy, or not reachable, and he didn’t have anyone else’s number who could’ve come and helped them. He couldn’t call his parents, for fear they would ground him forever. After straining his brain for over an hour, trying to remember the number, he called Arjun, the root cause of his situation right now and said, “Dude, we met with an accident. This moron just flew the car into a ditch in the middle of the highway. Now it’s your turn to come help us! Hurry up. We are near the ring road, a little ahead of Singh Dhaba.”
“Ummmm, bro, I would’ve, but I am sort of reaching Nagpur right now. We waited for you guys a lot. When we thought you aren’t coming, we loaded all the two wheelers in a pick up, and asked him to give us a lift till Nagpur.”
“Are you kidding me? We are stuck here, the car’s smashed, and we are literally sinking.”
“Hah! You are just stoned.”
Annoyed, Ishan hung up. He got out of the car in an effort to try to stop random cars to assist them, and even got one or two to help, but the SUV was no match for human strength. Ishan was spent. His head was throbbing wildly, and he was literally out of ideas. He got inside the car, tried to dry himself a little and put his head back to rest. Faizan was still standing outside, pushing the SUV with a single palm, trying to look helpful. Ishan looked at him disapprovingly, and directed all his energy into controlling himself not to swear out loud. Suddenly, he had a brainwave.
“Give me your phone.”
Mildly scared, Faizan obeyed. Ishan quickly dialled a number and waited for it to get through.
“Thank God! Hello! Shreyans?” he said into the mike as loud as he could.
“Shhh. Its literally 1 am! What’s wrong with you?” Shreyans answered.
“Oh Thankgod, its you! Dude, I’m in a major situation. You need to come down to the ring road and help us.” Ishan quickly explained his predicament to his best friend, and urged him to get some help there. Shreyans agreed, and pacified him saying he’ll try to come as fast as he can and that he should just wait and try not to hurt himself more by doing anything stupid. Ishan heaved a sigh of relief, and told Faizan the good news. Both of them sat in the car, with the parking lights turned on and just waited for their friends to arrive.
The rainshower turned into a mild trickle and minutes which seemed like hours went by. “What’s the time?” asked Faizan.
“It’s now 2.17, precisely 3 min after 2.14, which I just told you! I wonder where Shreyans is.”
“I’m gonna kill Arjun Sir.” Faizan said under his breath.
At exactly 2.23 AM, they saw several headlights in the rear view mirror, approaching them. They turned around excitedly to see what was happening, and then Shreyans, with 11 other people, appeared on two wheelers screaming and cheering towards them. Ishan looked pleased with himself and greeted his friends with renewed energy.
“Duuuude, whats up! What’s happening!” Shreyans completely spun Ishan’s mood around, who was sulking the whole time. He hugged and met all his friends, as if meeting them after ages, when they’d just been laughing together in class, that same morning! After all the laughing and cheering had subsided, the now enlarged group started devicing ideas to get the car out of the puddle. They pushed and shoved and heaved and pulled, but the SUV wouldn’t budge.
Not to be disheartened, the boys came up with a plan. “See, there’s no way this car is moving from this puddle with just our bare hands. You guys are tired and wet, and so are we. Let’s just go to the nearby Dhaba, and get some food,” suggested one of them. “Agreed. Let’s also get some beer from Singh’s,” quipped another. Leaving 4-5 people to guard the car, they set out on their two wheelers, to get some refreshments and alcohol. The clock struck 3, and the boys, huddled inside the car, started partying in the middle of the road, inside their SUV, laughter roaring everywhere. Ishan took several gulps of beer, and retold the entire story amusing everyone in the car!
When the last can of Budweiser was opened, Ishan drew everyone’s attention to something else. It was nearly 4 am, and the first signs of sunlight were percolating through the darkness, when they saw a huge yellow giant approaching towards them. It slowly came nearer and into view, revealing it’s true form! The giant was a big yellow construction crane! Jadhav, their friend, was bobbing out from the other end, waving and punching fists into the sky with an air of celebration! Excitement rampant in the crowded car, the entire group clapped and jumped out into the semi dry puddle, beckoning Jadhav towards them!
The crane finally plucked the car out of the earth, and Ishan out of his misery. Obviously, the last can of Budweiser was split between Jadhav and the crane owner, who he had gone almost 7 kms to find, wake up and convince to come help them. The car, finally out of the ditch, the boys started the engine and turned back around, with 6 two wheelers behind them, this time obviously with Ishan on the wheel!
The rescuers, finally got rescued!
P.S. Jadhav is Awesome!