Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Caution sign board - A short story with a good message

 It was a bright pleasant morning. Anand was still sleeping. Watch with the alarm set at was ringing. Anand’s younger brother Prakash was an engineering final year student. He got up early and was ready with his luggage packed. Prakash’s mobile was ringing continuously. It was his friends who were calling him. Prakash and his friends had decided to go on a trip to Coorg and hence they were calling him to make sure that he was ready. Prakash had avoided venturing outside the city throughout his life. The reason was Prakash’s mother who believed in predictions and was warned by a religious swami to prevent Prakash from crossing city boundaries till he attains age of 18 which may otherwise turn out to be a disaster for Prakash. But now Prakash was almost nineteen and his mother did not raise any objections on his adventurous journey. 

Though, Mother was not worried about Prakash’s trip but she did have complaints about the place selected. “Prakash, I don’t understand the need for a trip in this winter season and destination is also a cold area.” “Mom, I had kept my desires under control to obey and respect your religious belief. I think you should not stop me at this point of time when all arrangements are made including sweaters to protect from the cold. So my sweet mom should not have any worries about my safety instead be happy that your son is going to have that little bit of unique enjoyment for the first time.” Mother did understand the heart of her son to raise no more questions.
Anand was still sleeping and his mother yelled, “Anand, come down! Your brother is on his way to a trip. Wish him a happy journey.” Anand thought that it was dream but when heard the call again he immediately stood on his feet and climbed down the stairs with sleepy eyes. Anand loved to play with his brother, “You dint even take the pain of informing me about the trip a day before?” Anand paused and reaction was as if he was angry on that note but after the pause he added, “If you had informed earlier, I would have also joined  the trip”. All the three burst out in laughter.  Prakash informed that trip was planned a week before, but a friend in their group was hesitating to be a part of the same due to personal reasons and hence got the plans on hold. Yesterday he confirmed to join and today they were ready. Anand wanted to know the place and Prakash replied, “It is cool coorg and we have made all arrangement for the transportation with one of my friend getting his car and stay over there is arranged at a home stay maintained by one of my friend’s relatives.” 
Anand advised as a gentle brother, “So, it is a group of youths on their ride to Coorg. But remember that with no people to control there is every chance of you guys getting overboard.Have some self control.While riding the vehicle make sure to concentrate on the sign boards because they provide  information about the condition of road ahead. ” Mother on her part asked Prakash to behave well and make sure to safeguard his own good identities. Prakash thanking for loads of advice went to the gate where car had arrived with his friends inside.Even his friends had to hear some piece of advices from Anand and his mother. Anand put some money into his brother’s pocket and wished him, “Have a safe journey, be careful to keep your mobile on charge and speak to us on every day evening.”
 At last Prakash joined his friends Naveen, Raju, Kamal and Giri and the journey began. After traveling few kilometers, car stopped at a hotel and everyone got down. It was Kamal’s birthday and everyone greeted him with a good breakfast for him at a hotel along with sweets. When Kamal insisted on gift all the friends took him outside the hotel lifted him up horizontally and kicked hard on his buttocks. It was birthday bumps! Kamal, who was feeling painful said that he will never ask for any gift from his friends. The trip began on a kicking note. 

Here at home, Anand had his breakfast and reached the office on time. Anand, who was working as a junior programmer at a reputed software company for past eleven months was still on probation. He had pulled all the right strings to make sure that he gets a permanent position in the company. He had impressed his boss Mr. Raghu so much that the two were no more like a senior and junior but were like close well wishers. It was final month of Anand’s probation period and he dint want to have a single remark on his punctuality. Anand reached office on time as he used to and entered the boss cabin. To his surprise ever punctual Mr.Raghu wasn’t present in his seat. Anand spoke to Rita, Mr. Raghu’s personal secretary, “Rita, Boss is missing! Has anyone kidnapped him?” Rita who was filled with a sense of anxiety, “He will not be here for two more days, his son met with an accident yesterday and boss is busy taking care of him.” Anand got shocked, “So sad, were you informed about the condition of patient?” Rita replied, “I was eager to know about the same but boss was in a hurry mood so could not ask him anything further. But he told that there was nothing to worry and He will be present here by day after tomorrow to explain in detail!” “Ok, it seems to be a good idea, I have some unfinished tasks to be completed, will concentrate on the same and try to finish it before boss comes to office. I will meet you in the tea break,” so said Anand and left to his cabin. 
Prakash and his friends with not before experienced zeal were quite happy, shouting loud, making fun of the people inside and outside the car. They were on an emotional high. Kamal, who had adorned the driver seat was feeling uneasy and suddenly stopped the car to punch Raju on his face. All the other friends were dumb silent and Raju who couldn’t bear the pain scolded Kamal and asked for the reason, Kamal with a painful face replied, “My bottom is paining like anything and I am not able to sit properly.Your shoes with a pointed front made me feel the kick very badly.” The whole team laughed out louder. Raju himself had to take the responsibility of the driving the car. Raju gradually raised the escalator and drove the car faster. When Prakash felt that speed of car was dangerously high,he remembered his brother’s advice and immediately alerted Raju to keep cool and watch out for the traffic signs all along the way. The then excited Raju calmed down and the journey was back on a smooth track. The mistake was not Raju’s because though he was in a medium speed, another car overtook Raju’s, inciting the sporting spirit within. Understanding Raju’s intention Prakash spoke, “I know the reason behind your sudden rush, but remember that this is not a race track and we are not racers. We have a responsibility of traveling safe as well allowing others to travel safe. Just because of one idiot we all shouldn’t turn out to be idiots. There shall be no difference between them and us. Hang on and drive carefully!” Raju understood the message and drove safely. 
 On the way roadside natural beauty enthralled everyone. Till then joking people, began to share beautiful view of nature with each other and there was a collective enjoyment. Naveen with a sense of excitement, “Wow, so beautiful mountains, covered with clouds, it is a great view! Please stop the car and let us take few snaps!”  Everyone got down and took photographs; it was a quite good combination of beautiful nature and five best friends enjoying the beauty. Prakash to Giri, “I never had been out with the friends as my mother was very much against it. But now she has allowed me out at the right time and I am enjoying the nature like never before.” Everyone got back into the car to reach the home stay before it was too dark. 

A home stay was nothing but a lodge with all amenities including food provided against a service charge. Since it was maintained by Kamal’s cousin, the service charges were waived off for the group. It was pitch dark night. As soon as guys reached the hotel, Kamal's cousin Mr. Ratan, who was maintaining the home stay greeted them with a smile and asked them to get refreshed. A surprise was waiting for Kamal and it was big birthday cake. Cake was cut by Kamal with a birthday chorus from his friends and people at home stay. This time Kamal never spoke about any gift. But his cousin Ratan got him a beautiful pen. His friends came near to Kamal and he pleaded about his inability to withstand another round of birthday bumps, but it was not a bump instead it was a portrait of Kamal  sketched by Prakash specially for him and the same was presented to Kamal. Party was over with distribution of cakes and after savoring specially prepared dinner. Everyone called to their respective families and informed about the safe arrival to the destination to get settled in a room with five beds arranged for them. Siva, room service boy entered the room and asked for any other arrangements to be made like hot drinks and DVD’s etc. But boys were quick to reject especially Prakash, “Sorry boss, we don’t belong to that category of people; we are here strictly to enjoy nature and celebrate our friendship. Thanks for your offer and please arrange for a bottle of water. Nothing else is required.” The day ended so and boys who were tired of travelling were quick to enter deep sleep mode. In the midnight, temperature dipped very low, Giri, who was shivering, got up and switched off the fan. After sometime Naveen got up to switch on the fan and slept back. Giri once again got up and did not know who switched-on the fan, with a sleepy eyes switched the fan off again. Don’t expect mischievous Naveen to stop, he got up again and switched the fan on. Sensing that game was not going to end, Giri simply got under the bed to control the temperature around. 

It was next day morning, boys freshened up and were at the dining table to be served hot mouthwatering breakfast. During the breakfast, somehow Giri came to know that it was Naveen’s act to switch-on the fan frequently. Hoping to teach a lesson, Giri went back to room and quietly dipped Naveen’s warm jacket into the cold water. Everyone reached room and Naveen was shocked to see his jacket wet but he realized his mistake and asked sorry to Giri without any arguments. Others, who were ignorant about all this background score were giggling at the situation of Naveen. Raju teased Naveen “Dear friends, I think we should drop Mr.Naveen from our today’s trip as he cannot afford to come with us without his clothes, I mean his jacket.” Kamal stood up, “I will check out whether our people over here have some spare sweaters. If we need to buy a new one, we need to travel ten kilometers away and without the sweaters you are dead outside!” Kamal called to the room service to be informed that spare sweaters had been given for a laundry wash and it will be delivered today afternoon. Still everyone got into the car to be guided by Kamal’s cousin Mr.Ratan for sightseeing and Naveen was quiet comfortable as he had draped himself with a blanket. Boys began to call him ‘blank Naveen’. Boys were quick to take pictures and Naveen posed with a sense of pride. Ratan to Naveen, “You are really brave chap, don’t you think these guys will tease you on your way back to Bangalore?” Naveen smilingly, “I know they will, but they are my friends and we should have something joyful to remember about our trip. Let the reason be me.” Ratan was quick to respond, “That’s the positive spirit. We will reach the market area and will buy a good sweater for you. You will enjoy the trip as Kamal had enjoyed for so many times.” Within twenty minutes car reached the market. 
 After purchasing the sweater, it was all sightseeing for t boys from waterfalls to Buddhist monastery, from gardens to mountain tips. Boys enjoyed the trip like anything with snaps taken at each and every beautiful place. Two days passed just like that and it was second day evening. Guys purchased a gift and presented it to the home stay people, as the latter were reluctant to take any money for their service. Everyone had a group photo taken as a token of remembrance. It was time to leave the home stay and return to Bangalore, by this time Ratan and his family members who were running the home stay were much impressed by good behavior of boys and hence invited them to visit the place once again along with their family members.

 Back in Bangalore, Anand’s boss returned to his office. Anand, who was anxious to know about the status of patient who had met with an accident rushed to his boss’s cabin. Anand’s boss who was visibly upset wished Anand and took stock of the situation in the office. He appreciated Anand for the progress in the work. Anand with a lenient voice, “Sir, I wanted to know about the situation of your son, I hope he is fine right now! How all these things happened all of a sudden? I couldn’t believe when Rita informed me about the accident.” Anand’s boss with a fragile voice, “He and his friends had been to Coorg for sightseeing! While returning in their car, normal road was closed for some maintenance purpose and these people had taken an alternative route. The road was without any caution sign boards. These guys who were eager to reach home before midnight drove their vehicle very fast. They failed to negotiate a right reverse bend curve and hit a tree injuring everyone! Right now everyone is fine with some minor injuries.” 
 By the time Anand’s boss could complete, Anand who remembered about his brother returning to Bangalore ran out of the cabin and tried to call his brother so that he could be cautioned about the right reverse bend curve. Anand tried to mobiles of every member of the team who were returning to Bangalore, but not even one was reachable over their phones. The car in which Prakash and his friends were traveling was almost half the way towards Bangalore. Anand was very much frustrated and called to home stay to be informed that his brother and friends had already left the place. Ratan, who had picked up the phone also tried from his phone to inform the matter to guys. Car was just about a kilometer away from the spot where accident had occurred injuring Mr. Raghu’s son. 

Anand’s boss Mr. Raghu, who was completely clueless about Anand’s reaction, came out of the cabin, “Anand! What happened to you? Why did you come out running? I can see your face full of anxiety and frustration!” Anand explained everything to his boss and the reason for his frustration. Anand’s boss laughed, “Do not worry Anand; I will assure that your brother will not meet with same type of accident as my son had.” Anand replied, “But sir, how come you are so sure about it? My brother is also traveling on the same route as your son had! I am very much upset about what is going to happen!” Car, which was driven by Prakash was at maximum speed and reached the same accident spot. Prakash immediately slowed down to neatly negotiate the curve. After passing the curve Prakash to his friends with a sigh of relief, “Thank God, there was a caution sign board. In its absence I would have surely hit the tree!” Anand’s boss explained, “As soon as I rushed to the accident spot along with ambulances, I could make out that accident occurred mainly due to absence of caution sign board and I immediately informed to area road traffic in charge, who is a good friend of mine. He has got the sign board installed! So there is no need for you to worry anymore.” 
But still Anand wasn’t convinced and he was anxiously waiting for his brother at his house. He heaved a sigh of relief when he found his brother getting down from the car, safe and sound. Prakash as soon as he got down from the car hugged his brother, “Thanks brother, I averted a major accident because of your advice of watching out for the sign boards on road.” Anand immediately rang to his boss at late night and thanked him very much, “Sir, I am really very proud of you! My brother is back, safe and sound. It is mainly because of your good intention of preventing any other accidents and getting a sign board installed over there!” Anand’s boss, “I had told you earlier. No problem Anand, I am very happy for your brother! It was my duty. Let us discuss about it tomorrow morning. It is late night, go to bed have a good sleep. Good night.” Anand happily wished his boss and got the call cut. 

Everything got settled very fine and good. Main point of the story is about importance of each and every good advice as well as each and every good action performed with good intention. These simple advices and actions help in preventing something bad from happening! Contribute something good from your end too

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