Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Omen


9 March, 2009

“Why are you so afraid of heights?”

The voice seems to be coming from another planet.

“No one in our family is such a sissy.”

Ah! The inevitable Rajput exhortation. To be a sissy was condemnable, especially since bravery was considered a genetic baton, passed on from one generation to another.

“Ok. I will jump” I say resignedly. You can’t exhort the bravado in a Rajput and expect them to stay mum.

It is a free fall. 150 feet. Strapped and harnessed, I feel safe. Or do I?

I take a deep breath as the hysterical ‘inner’ voice gets louder and louder. ‘This is not good Romeo. Not good for you.’

I don’t want to look down. And I don’t want to jump. But there is a queue building up behind me and the organisers are losing patience with ‘the sissy’. Uh-oh... Dad? Why is he calling me?

9 March 2009 - 5 am.

“Early mornings don’t gel with me mom. Keep me awake for nights on end, I can. Just don’t expect me to hop out of bed so early and wake up smiling.”

“Just have your coffee and get to the Airport to pick dad.”

“What a drag mom! Can’t he just take a cab home?”

“Certainly not! He will be too tired to haggle with cabbies after such a long flight Romeo. Just go.”

Romeo Singh. An unlikely name for a Rajput boy. But dad is an English professor and his love for Shakespeare ensured that my sister and I got unique names. Romeo and Ophelia. Fortunately, he didn’t name me Lear or Othello. Romeo is bad enough, but bearable.

Action taken. Mom’s happy and I love that smile on her face when she welcomes dad after a long trip. Such love birds those two!

11 am.

I suddenly feel the need to read a newspaper. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I hate the newspaper because it only covers politics and celebrity trash. Reading 16 pages of covert views is just not my idea of beginning a day. But today, the urge is almost nagging me. Ah, forget it! I will just get going now. Friends are waiting up for me. Been a fortnight since I stepped out of home....

5 pm.

“Where is Romeo? Why isn’t he home preparing for the MBA entrance?”

“He really needed a break after two straight weeks of studying. He has gone to the adventure park and should be home by 7. Ophelia is joining him straight from college too. Here have your coffee and read the newspaper in peace. Stop worrying about him.”

Youth dies in bungee jumping accident

9 March 2009 – M G Road - In a ghastly incident that highlights the lack of safety measures in the city, a youth died in a bungee jumping accident at the Adventure Park at about 530 pm today. Romeo Singh, 22, who was spending the day at the park with his friends, decided to bungee jump when they coaxed him to take on the challenge. Police say that the harness cord broke and he plunged 150 feet to his death.....

Uh –oh...Dad? Why is he calling me? “Ophelia! Can you take this call? It’s dad!” Take a deep breath Romeo. This is the day you prove that yours is the true Rajput blood.

“Ophelia, stop Romeo right now!” “Why dad?” “Just do as I say!!!”

“OH NO!!!!!!!!!!” An earth shattering scream....

“Ophelia? Ophelia? What happened? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Tell me what happened? Is Romeo alright? I am coming over right now..........”

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