“Come on… harder … Push! ”
“ Its hurting! “
“Yeah, just keep pushing!
“Dude my arm is killing me. I. cannot. push. anymore.” I said, resting the bike on the side stand.
“Yeah neither can I” said Shailee, flopping on the side of the road as the rain and cold wind whipped around us.
Stormy night. 2 girls, 111kgs of punctured metal and a deserted 3km stretch of road. Uphill.
Just our luck that the tyre burst in the Cantonment area where one side of the road gives way to acres of open land and gently rolling hillocks while the other to acres of densely forested terrain.
'”You are the science geek… by how much does the work increase when pushing 111kgs up 3km instead of across flat land?” I asked, stretching my arms out in readiness for our Sisyphean task.
‘A lot.’ Shailee grunted as we began pushing.
Cars splashed and worked their way around us. Amongst the countless amused glances at 2 bedraggled girls heaving a bike in a dark, stormy night were several sympathetic ones.
1. ‘You need fuel?”
'”Nope, tyre puncture”
2 .“Pakad hai?”
3. “Asa footrest karu chala”
“Kela, tyre gudhda aahe”
And so option after option exhausted we kept pushing until….. a crash of thunder and crackle of lightening split the sky, cascading a fresh deluge of water. Through the icy curtain came a rickety old tempo from which alighted a not so rickety young man.
He walked slowly and unhinged the door. His stubbled face glowed red as tail lights flashed by as did his dark hair shining with rain like drops of blood. The water seeped black lines down the collar of his cheap blue shirt rivuleting down to the threadbare jeans. In one jerking motion he heaved the inert mass of metal into the back of his tempo and the ropes lashed around his muscular arms as he fastened the bike. We watched this Hulk Hoganesque feat in stunned silence.
'Kahan?' he let slip the guttural syllable.
'Agla chowk.' we squeaked.
He turned to the drivers wheel while we gathered our wits and scrambled into the back smiling gleefully as we sped through the street lit night.
Home and dry.