The Road Runners
The Road Runners
Chapter 1: The Plan
Noor and Aparna are waiting for Rajat and Rohini to pick them up. Today is the day when they were supposed to go for a night out after a long time. Four of them are childhood friends separated by different career paths. Living in the same city and going to the same school made them less like friends but more like siblings, they fought, they cursed, they hated and loved each other all at the same time. Rajat was more of a cool and calm kinda person who keeps all three ladies in line, at least he tries! Noor is more of a dadi amma type of person, matured but silly sometimes. Aparna and Rohini were best friends but their relationship always has been a ginormous roller coaster ride. Being a single child Rohini was the rebellious one and always fought for all the things she desired. Aparna on the other side was also enthusiastic but always took pragmatic decisions.
This wasn't the first late-night wandering for them but was going to be one of the memorable ones. Rajat's car pulls up, Rohini sitting beside him and both the ladies join them in the backseat. It was Baleno owned by Rajat on which these people have had many rides till now. This wasn't just a car for them, it was the second home where they used to eat, sleep, laugh, cry, and make many unforgettable moments. Aparna and Noor were settling in and Rajat was about to take his foot off the clutch and press the accelerator when suddenly Rohini busts out in excitement.
"Guys listen, I have a plan.... do you people wanna try some weed?" was the greetings from Rohini to her pals who were baffled by the question. Listening to this Rajat applies sudden brakes almost hitting his face on the steering.
"What...???" yelped Rajat as this wasn't the plan Rohini and he talked about. This was supposed to be a simple night out.
"Are you drunk?" said Aparna
"No guys seriously, see you people always wanted to do this at some point of time and have a little faith in me, I know people who can hook us up with some great stuff!” said Rohini
“ Yeah dude, but today? Right now without any preparedness? Also, where are we supposed to smoke the joint? We don’t have a place to do it peacefully!” questioned Noor
“Nobody is gonna do any such thing. We are sticking to the original plan! Dinner and drive that’s all! scolded Rajat. Since he was the minority in the group the rest of the people ignored him conveniently.
“Wait wait are we seriously doing this?” asked bewildered Aparna
“No, I was about to text my Panditji to provide us with an auspicious time to smoke marijuana” mocked Rohini
“Obviously we are doing it tonight! Also, it’s not like that I am doing this for the first time, so chillax. Moreover, we have Rajat to take care of all the repercussions. There is literally NOTHING to worry about” said Rohini
Four of them gazed at each other with jumbled expressions, Rohini was excited and the other two were confused and a little bit pumped as well. Rajat was just wishing these girls to take a wise decision so he doesn't end up babysitting three fully grown babies.
"You know what, F*** this, let's try weed tonight" stated Noor which was supported by Aparna immediately.
Only the thought of getting high tonight made them feel the buzz already.
"We can go to one of my friends here in Technopark. It’s closer and he will have some marijuana for sure with him right now! And that should be enough since I don’t wanna be too high to climb up the stairs practically stumbling on each step!” said Aparna
“And as I won’t be a part of this crime, you people will not be needing much!” said Rajat
“Don’t be a spoilsport! You should also try some at least” said Aparna
“I will have to be the Coachman tonight and escort you, Princesses, to thy castles respectively. Henceforth having a clear vision and a stable mind is of utmost priority to me for now.” defended Rajat
"Let it be Appu, let’s buy the stuff first, we can decide all this later as well," said Rohini
"Let’s go to Technopark, have informed my friend and he will be waiting for us outside his building," said Aparna
They drove and reached Technopark, Appu got out of the car and came back in a few minutes with the packet containing something that looked live dried tea leaves, turns out it was the precious WEED. As the plan of getting high was impromptu they didn't have any place to go and get high peacefully in a dry state! Their respective houses were not an option because of parents or fellow flatmates and the only buddy at whose place all such parties happened was out of town that night. So after mutual consent, they decided to do it during the drive in the car. Since there are no checks or police patrolling on highways especially during nights it seemed to be a plausible option.
"Now we need a cigarette and matchstick then will do the rest," said cheerfully Rohini
"Cigarette? why do we need it? I don’t wanna try both together dude" said Noor
“My dear sister, I present you one of the coolest ways to get some peace of mind. Making weed puffs is an Art. You need to first clean it- remove the debris and then crush it with all due respect then roll it with all the love and care- finally smoke it! explained enthusiastically Rohini
The other three were flabbergasted by the knowledge and technique required for this art form of getting high. After this great eye-opening session they drove off to the highways of Ahmedabad city. Now they are on the most beautiful highways of the city where usually the traffic is less, roads are broad and two-laned, street lights on a long straight road that makes them look like fairy lights of Diwali, calm and relaxing. They buy the necessary items on the way and begin the work. Rohini shuts the window and takes a small piece of newspaper placing it on her lap, and then spreads the weed on it, in order to clean it. That wasn't an easy task considering she was doing in on a moving vehicle with lights off. Appu and Noor looking at Rohini working with utmost dedication and concentration, this is when Rajat suddenly hit the breaks and rapidly changes the gear to slow down the vehicle.
"What the....." yelled Rohini and then looks at Rajat horrified in terror.
All of them look upfront and sees Police barricades and checking happening for each individual vehicle just at the next exit few blocks away.
Chapter 2: The half escape
The car was slowed down but not stopped, everyone was frozen as if The White Witch froze them just like Narnia. The car is still moving on the left lane close to the edge and the chances of them not getting caught is dwindling.
“Guys, hide it.... hide it... HIDE the F thing” yelled Rajat. Everyone else starts panicking and looks here and there in the car for a place to hide it. Rohini quickly wraps the weed in the newspaper and holds it in her palm tightly.
"Okay okay... hide..hide...where the F should we hide it? shittt shittt" said stammering Noor.
"How about below the seat?" asked Appu.
"No, can't you see they are checking inside the car as well," said Rajat referring towards the sides of crossroads where many vehicles were parked and several policemen were questioning the people and searching their respective vehicles.
"Stop the god damn car...let me think something" demanded Rohini
"Are you nuts?? There are policemen just a few feet away and if I stop now it will just grab the limelight!" explained Rajat.
The distance between them and the crossroad reducing rapidly.
"Throw it.... just throw it out of the window!" exclaimed Appu
"Yeah... Rohini throw it ASAP " supported Rajat
"Have you people gone mad? I just cleaned it- how can we waste it now? mourned Rohini
“Throw it, eat it I don’t care as far as you do it RIGHT NOW.. do anything but quick.. quick,” said alarmingly Rajat
“Shall I hide it in the pocket ? or maybe inside shoes?” said Rohini while checking out everyone quickly and continued " Dammit.... no one is wearing shoes... Rajat put it in your pocket.. back pocket maybe? They won't be doing anybody search right?"
Rajat is usually a laid out guy but in this situation when he was in a car with three female friends
and a pack of marijuana, which was almost about to get caught by Gujarat Police, he knew that he was screwed. In this situation, Rohini's concern for weed over their lives was enraging him, which was the reason he was looking at her as if trying to vaporize her with his laser emitting eyes. But this wasn't the universe where it could have been true, so he takes a deep breath and tried to think of an alternative since he didn't have time to make people understand how to wisely make decisions in situations like this.
"Why don't any of you hide it in.... you know.," said Rajat pointing to his chest.
"NOOOOO....." screamed in disgust the Trinity
"Well in worst case as you can see there is no lady officer and that's why nobody will body check you, people! You know what... F*** this!! you people have 2 seconds, either hide it the way I said or throw it.... whatever it is just be QUICK" said decisively Rajat.
"Guys, Look.." said Appu pointing towards the cut ahead that enters into the service road on the left side of the main highway.
The cut was just close to the crossroad and from there only the barricades were starting. Suddenly out of the chaos everyone got synced. They knew exactly what has to be done. There wasn't much space left between them and the barricades. Rajat moves the steering swiftly, pumping the speed a bit, and tries to take a short U-turn making a high pitch screeching sound of tires, little dust particles ascending in the air, and increased heartbeats. In slow motion, it would have been like any Rohit Shetty movie stunts!(Not a fan. Just an example!)
Everyone takes a sigh of relief, a moment when they now know that the hurricane is passed and no one will be going to jail for now! Rohini is happy that her hard work was not wasted, Noor and Appu were almost high with all the adrenaline rush they had in the past few minutes. This is when their illusion was shattered by Rajat once again hitting the breaks suddenly as there were police barricades blocking the path ahead!
Chapter 3: The Interrogation
Seems like even the stars are changing their paths so that they can create more huddles in this little adventurous journey. They are stuck now, all the happiness got drained in milliseconds, can't go forward as barricades are there, and going back was never an option. But due to the sharp U-turn took beautifully by Rajat, they caught the attention of one of the Policemen standing near to the starting of barricades faced towards the crossroad. He looks at the car which tried to escape through the service road and got stuck. The policeman paces quickly towards the car which is now trying to take reverse and get back on the main highway. During which all of them notice the policeman coming towards them and their hearts start thumping.
"What the hell are you doing? Why are we going back?" yells Rohini
"Rohini stop being stubborn and throw it before it’s too late!" suggests Appu
"If you can't do it then let me do the honor...." says Noor and snatches the packet from Rohini
"Wait........" screams Rohini
Noor looks at the packet and then looks at Rajat for a moment and he nods at her. As soon as she gets his acknowledgment Noor opens the window and throws it away. Before Rohini could explain and give another sensible reason on why we should not lose the exquisite leaves, everything was out of her hands. Rajat sees the policeman who is waving at him not out of euphoria but instructing him to stop the vehicle and get out of it. He parks the car in a way that it is horizontally parallel to the crossroad. The Policemen is about to reach them, he is a tall, bald scary guy with a scar on his face above the right eyebrow. He is pacing swiftly towards the car with a flummoxed face.
"What should we do..?" asks Appu nervously
“Okay.. listen to me, we have to be on the same page, will brew storytelling him that we are cousins and.. and.. ya we are on our way to visit one of our relative who had a surgery in the hospital,” explains Rajat calmly
"Cousins? Hope you remember that all four of us together look like cassata ice-cream," said Appu
"Which relative? Which hospital? What surgery?" asks Noor
“Didn’t know you wanted to write a biopic on this imaginary F relative! Stop spiraling!” says frustrated Rajat
"I don't know, something doesn’t feel right.," says Appu totally scared
"We don't have weed now, so try to calm yourselves... and focus on the con please," said Rajat
In all this chaos, Rohini is sitting paralyzed, mourning without tears at the departure of her precious leaves. She is listening to nothing or no one when Rajat snaps her saying "dude..". She then comes out from her momentary trans and tries to study the situation. Rajat repeats the story to her and instructs her on how to handle this fresh petty hell. Somewhere he knew that only Rohini can con the policeman well and get us out of this situation. He had no faith in Noor or Appu as they were sitting in the backseat clueless, trying to figure out the details of the lie they were about to tell the policeman.
Knock Knock... Policeman hits the driver’s glass. Rajat gives the cue to Rohini and both of them step out.
"What on earth brings you here tonight?" questioned the Policeman
"Sir, we are supposed to meet our sick uncle at Civil hospital, he is having Angioplasty soon" replied Rajat
"And may I know who are these people?"
"Cousins!" interrupts Rohini before Rajat could say anything and continues
“Hi, I am Rohini a doctor myself, see the thing is my uncle lives in Ahmedabad and today in the evening suddenly he got severe chest pain and was hospitalized. We got this news when we were in Mount Abu- gone for siblings fun weekend trip but as soon as we got the call, we were rushing to reach the Civil hospital ASAP” summarized Rohini.
Rajat was starstruck by the performance and details are given by Rohini making it a more believable story for the Policeman.
"The Civil Hospital is this way straight through the first exit then why the hell you took a U-turn?" asked Policeman.
Just like during exams you never get enough time to revise the whole syllabus, they didn't get time to go through the script once, before the live performance. The question baffled both Rajat and Rohini who are now looking at each other with great curiosity. Noor and Appu sit motionless inside the car, lifeless and still.
Boom.... something crashes nearby!
Chapter 4: The Epiphany
Since Gujarat is a dry state you do not get enough chance to embrace the beauty of a drunk enthusiastic person showing off his driving skills and mocking the policemen chasing him. Nevertheless, our little group got lucky today as they witnessed such a mockery when one of the random, high on alcohol person crashed his car on the divider near the crossroad. Everyone looks here and there flummoxed by the loud distressing roar heard by them. Rajat, Rohini, and the Policeman turns around and sees a car skillfully parked over the divider - smokes coming out of the engine, bonnet crushed heavily from the right side and the man on driver's seat seems unconscious as his head lay over the steering wheel but still smiling as if he achieved his goal.
A police jeep which was chasing this man soon joined this chaos and other vehicles passing by too! Accidents like this, are one of the few things that unite people of our nation, no matter if you are getting late for office or you might miss your wedding or even you are about to deliver a baby - everything can wait in this situation! The Policeman interrogating Rohini and Rajat runs towards the crowd to help out the man in need and both our actors are in the enigma of how the hell that man bounced the car and managed to get it on the divider?
"Guys... get the hell out of here! Let’s go.. go.. go.." yelled Noor at Rajat
"Yeah..coming....." said Rajat by quickly getting into the car.
Rajat looks at both Appu and Noor and gives a cocky smile of victory but the ladies gave him a "not so early" look. He frowns and quickly puts his keys in the keyhole and starts the engine, left leg on the clutch, he changes the gear, and before accelerating the car he looks beside him and there was no clue of Rohini.
"Where is she now? " asks Rajat
"Oh My God! Where did she go?" exclaimed Noor
"I know the answer but you people might not like it..... look," said Appu pointing towards the side window. Rajat and Noor look on the opposite side and there is Rohini - curiously looking for something on the ground.
"OMG.... you must be kidding me!" exclaimed Noor,
"Please tell me she is not doing, what I think she is doing," said Rajat.
She is tensed, impatient and angrily searching under her phone torchlight for the weed they threw since now the threat was eliminated. They can easily get past the police as they all are currently busy with drunk man havoc. Noor threw it in the spur of the moment but Rohini believed it was a stupid step and wanted to make it right when there was still a chance for the same.
Rajat gets out of the car and walks hurriedly towards Rohini. He is befuddled and wants this to end now. Everyone around them is busy taking videos and pictures of the accident and the policemen is calling 108, this is the perfect time to escape but somehow as usual his friends make it impossible to do so. Ideally, he should have been reached to his threshold of screaming angrily on Rohini but since this wasn't the first time he got stuck in such little adventures with her- he got habituated to these mishaps happening over and over again. Somewhere these things made his life exciting, at least he believed it!
"Listen to me, once we are safe I’ll get you whatever you need. Till then stop this nonsense and come with us! Otherwise, all of us will get screwed because of you!" said Rajat
"Just 2 minutes man. I am sure it will be here somewhere..." says Rohini without looking at him
Rajat stares at her for a while with an expression difficult to pen down and almost similar to " can I kill her? maybe a little?". He grabs her hand and starts dragging her towards the car. Rohini opposes him, hits him, and tries to bite him so that in any way he would leave her hand. He is determined and drags her to the car while Appu opened the door. He shoves her inside the car and slams the door. The kill you look is still there on his face and moves from her door to the driver's seat staring at her throughout the walk from her door - to bonnet -to his door. As quirky as she can be but Rohini is sitting quietly as of now because the love expressed by Rajat was now poured by Noor and Appu as well. All three of them giving death stare to her.
Rajat finally presses his right leg on the accelerator, moving the Baleno towards the main road from the side and then turning towards the crossroad. All of them look on their right where the policemen were able to pull out the man and check him for wounds and other folks simply enjoying the show. They pass by the first exit and moves straight along the wind. Finally, they slide down all the windows to take some fresh, nonfrightening air. Rajat moves to hand over his hair and blows tiny air out of his mouth in a sigh of relief. Noor and Appu laid back and wipes out the sweat from their forehead.
"Achaa suno nah, I have another plan," says Rohini with profound eagerness.