[if this is the first time you have landed here, I strongly recommend, you check this out first]
[P.S. This is independent of the choice provided in Chapter Q, haven’t checked it out yet. Do it now.]
“Agasthya”, the panic in Gokul’s voice was evident now. “Its not stopping, the brakes have failed.”
Agasthya forced the haziness off him. The next sharp turn helped. He could see Gokul Das hammering down on the brake pedal to no effect. He could also see Gokul wildly hashing the steering wheel in various directions, as he tried to keep a quickly accelerating JEEP on the meandering roads of the BHU. Fortunately, the roads were more or less empty. But what bothered Agasthya most was what he could see straight ahead. The quiet road led into an encampment inside the campus, an encampment which was surrounded by a thick concrete wall. There was a small gate right where the road met the wall, but it was too small to aim for with a speeding JEEP. Gokul had done a good job of keep the car on the road till now, but there was no way they would avoid a collision with the wall, provided they reached that far.
“Agasthya”, Gokul shouted. Agasthya didn’t respond. He was thinking. He was looking for trees, into which they could crash safely. But the car was too fast and heavy, if they crashed into a tree, the momentum would send them flying through the wind shield. The damned car didn’t even have seat belts. He was looking at spots where they could jump off, but it wasn’t autumn, and the road’s tarmac was outlined by those heavy rocks that act as fenders in India, if either of them hit those rocks at the speed they were in, they would open up like balloons full of blood. If that wasn’t enough the road was at a higher level than its surrounding, creating trenches on either side.
“Agasthya. We will crash into the wall. What do we do?”, Gokul pleaded again. The car was at a dangerous speed now. There was no way Gokul could keep the car on the road for much longer. It seemed as if the only way was to choose a lesser risk crash. Agasthya didn’t respond again, instead he looked back into the Jeep’s boot area. He spotted some banners stuck on a pole, and something flashed in his mind. If he could ask Gokul to move to the rear, and use the poles to keep the car going into a tree, they could be relatively safe.
Just as Agasthya was turning, he felt a lurch in his stomach. The car careened leftward and he was almost thrown out of his seat. Gokul had pulled the emergency brake. It would have been a great idea, if they were in a sedan, moving along a straight highway with fenders on both ends. But on a curvy roads in an unprotected car with no roof and doors, moving with the momentum of an enraged elephant, this was a death wish. Everything else from that point on happened in slow motion, and yet too fast for Agasthya to react.
He watched as Gokul’s eyes met his. That realization of the mistake that he had made, and the terror of what was to come. He had lost all control over the car, and yet gripped the emergency brake tightly. Agasthya felt the car turn into a spin, as the rear tyres screeched to a halt, while the front ones kept up the momentum. The heavier front of the car had put the JEEP into a tailspin. Midway through the rotation, they were off the road, and the rear wheels ramped up on the blocker stones. And just like that the heavy behemoth flipped into the trenches below.
Agasthya let go of whatever he was holding onto, and tried to shout the same to Gokul Das. But he knew he couldn’t hear him, Agasthay couldn’t hear himself. As Agasthya fell through the jeep and as it flipped over him, he saw Gokul still frozen in the driver’s seat gripping the brakes. Their eyes met once more, before Agasthya blacked out.
“Agasthya…Agasthya…”. Someone was shouting his name. It was something important. Agasthya had to get up. He tried opening his eyes. It was a struggle but he did. Just a few feet away from him was an overturned JEEP. Memories came flooding back as he made sense of what he saw. He darted his eyes around, which hurt him further, but he tried to follow the voice.
Then he spotted him. Gokul Das pinned under the driver’s seat which had collapsed around and above him. He was trapped but he was alive, and he was calling out to Agasthya. Agasthya started pulling himself backup. His body felt as if it had been in a roller coaster, disoriented and dizzy, but physically he felt alright. He got himself off his back and sat up, still trying to get his bearings. He should pull Gokul from that wreakage, he should call someone, he should… He felt a tinge of pain, as he adjusted his neck. Instinctively his hand went back to check where the pain was.
His hair was wet and sticky, maybe he had fallen into mud. Agasthya felt light headed again, as he pulled his hand back in front. It was dark, and ozzy all right. But it wasn’t mud, it was blood.
“Agasthya…Agasthya…” were the last words that Agasthya remembered before he fainted again.