In Pursuit Of Self
In Pursuit Of Self7 mins 16.4K 7 mins 16.4K
Akash and Manav were close friends. Both were 15 years old and were very naughty. They always pulled pranks on other classmates and never bothered about any problems. They went for an educational trip to a nearby village from school to learn about farming. After lunch, all the children went to their camps to rest, but they both sneaked out to explore the village. They were happily roaming around chit chatting, climbing trees and plucking fruits. They played around for some time, and soon the sun was setting, and the sky was getting darker. Manav insisted on going back and joining their group before the teachers found out about them missing from their camps. But Akash had just started to have fun. He still wanted to be free and enjoy for some more time. So, they entered one of the farms nearby. There was a big and deepwater well on the ground which was kept open. As the place was getting darker, they didn't notice that and Manav slipped inside the well and held Akash's hands for the support. Akash tired hard to pull him up, but his palms were sweaty and too slippery, and Manav fell in the water.
Meanwhile, the teachers noticed that they both were missing and they started searching for them. Soon they found Akash crying loudly for help. By the time they pulled him up, it was too late, and they couldn't save Manav.
This incident affected Akash’s life. He blamed himself for not going back to the camp when Manav insisted. He blamed himself for not having the capabilities to save his best friend. This became the biggest guilt of his life.
As he grew, he became very silent and lost confidence in him. He never mingled with others and never befriended anyone. His parents thought he would change if he goes to a different city. New place, new people could make him happy. So, for his engineering, they sent him to a different town, but he couldn't get out from his guilt, and he remained the same.
Time flew, and soon, he had finished his 4th-semester exams and was supposed to fly early morning flight the next day to his hometown as the holidays were starting. His classmates had kept a party in the hostel at midnight and invited him. It was still 10:30 pm, he knew they would come in sometime and force him to join them. He didn't want to go to the party. So, he thought he could reach the airport soon and rest there until his flight time. So, he packed his bags and got dressed, locked the door and rushed outside.
There were no taxis available. He saw an auto standing in a near distance and called for it. But the autowala didn't even move an inch. So, he ran towards the auto and requested the autowala to take him to the airport. The autowala argued for the taxi fare and started to move only after Akash agreed to pay him double the meter charges.
There was heavy traffic on the road, and the traffic signals annoyed the autowala as it turned red and had to stop in every signal he came by. He was constantly blabbering about the conditions of the road, potholes, the government, budget, the traffic and what not. Akash was angry, irritated and frustrated, as after a long time in his life he was sitting with a stranger and was listening to his nonsensical talks. He controlled his temper as he had no choice. He just wanted to reach the airport.
In one of the signals, he was looking at his right and saw a blue van. Something caught his eyes. He wasn’t sure as the van's window had tinted glasses. He thought he saw 2 men holding a boy who was crying, as his hands were tied by a rope and his mouth was covered with black duct tape. The car moved fast but again in the next signal, Akash saw the same van standing next to his auto. This time, he observed, and it was true that they were kidnapping a boy in their car. Soon he took his mobile out from his pocket to call the police, but the mobile had no network. The car was in full speed. He looked at the time it was 11:15 pm. Suddenly he remembered Manav and the boy's crying face came in front of him and he thought of all the odd things that they could do to him. His one guilt haunted him every day and decided not to take another guilt on him of not saving the boy. He ordered the autowala to speed up, and soon he saw the van again in the near distance. This time he wrote down the van’s number first and told the auto driver to follow the van. The autowala argued with him as he didn't want to get into any trouble. So, Akash bribed him to follow the van keeping a distance so that, they are not caught.
After a few minutes, the van took a right turn into a dark lane entering a forest area. The road was bumpy, and it had no streetlights. The area was covered with trees, and soon they stopped near a house in between this forest area. The autowala took money from Akash and dropped him a few distances away. Akash requested him to at least inform the police while going back as soon as he gets the network. To which autowala stared at him and left him all alone without responding to his request.
Akash slowly walked forward and saw a few men gathered near the house which had limited lights around. He silently went around the house to find the route to enter inside. He found a place where he didn’t find any men guarding. So, he jumped the compound wall and walked ahead to see any door to enter the house. He found a window of a room which was opened and the lights were on. He silently peeped inside and saw there were nearly 25 children whose hands were tied with a rope and their mouth was covered with duct tape. He understood that this was a child kidnapping racket.
He didn’t know what to do. He was stuck in a place where he couldn’t go inside nor outside. He wanted to help those children. His only hope was that autowala who could bring the police to rescue them all.
Akash waited for some time and realised that he needed to do something as the autowala looked quite stubborn and may not help him. So, he crawled slowly towards the door and waited patiently for the right time, and when he saw the men moving away, he sneaked inside quickly and ran to the room where they had kept the children and closed the door.
He then gestured the children to remain silent and opened their ropes to free their hands and slowly removed their duct tape. He guided them to follow him silently. He opened the door slowly and looked both the sides and took them slowly to the place from where he had got inside and helped them to jump out of the compound wall one by one. But one of the men saw him and informed the rest. Soon they capture all the children and Akash.
Two men held Akash, and the rest started hitting him in front of the children to scare them. Soon they heard a police siren, and they begaedn firing at the police van. All the men got busy shooting at the police. Children were scared, and Akash quickly gathered them all and took them to the safest place so that no one gets hurt. In a few minutes, all the men in the racket were caught. Akash saw the autowala standing behind one the police and thanked him for bringing the police on time.
Akash felt happy after rescuing the children. He felt like he saved Manav. He was freed from his guilt and found himself, whom he had lost long back. This changed him a lot, as he made his first move by befriending the autowala.