Rajesh was packing his bag with alacrity. It was his last day of college before winter break. He was going to take a bus from Pune to Bombay where his parents were living. He had been waiting for this break ever since his previous holidays. It was already 8 pm and his bus was going to leave in an hour and he was hurriedly reaching out for shoes, he had to walk to the bus stop from where he would catch a bus to the bus depot where buses to Pune depart from. He managed to get on the bus to Bombay before time. He was seated in a window seat and next to him, a middle aged women sat down. He had bought himself some stuff to munch on the way during his 5 hour bus ride. He started munching his chips and flipped through a copy of reader’s digest he had bought some time back. He become engrossed in reading the magazine and meanwhile the bus had already left the bus depot. He didn’t realize that the bus had travelled about a third of the distance until the conductor announced a dinner break coming up in about thirty minutes. He started staring outside the window, in darkness outside there was very less he could see, thanks to the lack of or actually no street lights on that road, the only light on the road was the moonlight. He assumed the bus was crossing some rustic area.
A few minutes passed by and the bus came to a sudden stop. Rajesh and the other passengers wondered what had happened. His next seat neighbor was still fast asleep. People in the bus started enquiring the conductor as to what had happened. The conductor informed them that the driver was looking into the problem and the bus would leave in few minutes. Some of the passengers got down from the bus. Rajesh who was getting bored and hungry got down to get some fresh air and a little walk. He decided to saunter a little bit under moonlight. He walked a little distance trying and turned back every now and then to ensure he had not moved a lot away from his bus. At a distance, he saw something like a woman like structure in a distance. He turned back to see if his bus was still there and to his surprise this time, he could only see darkness and what seemed like an empty road. Slow and steady fear started gripping him. He tried to run back to where he thought his bus was but he found nothing on the road, not even any oncoming vehicle.
Terrified, Rajesh remembered the woman like structure and decided to walk towards that thinking he would find some place, some human contact. His fear was increasing with every second. His head was also scaring him about trying to go find the woman like structure. Nevertheless, his legs were pushing him in the direction where he saw a woman like structure walking. He told himself, that it must have been some real woman and she might have family and home around and they would be able to help him. Full of fright, as Rajesh started walking further, suddenly he feels a hand on his shoulder and it completely startles him. He turns back and next to him standing is an old village man, who asks him as to what he was doing alone here. With fear and a slight relief he explains to the old man about getting down from his bus and his bus vanishing. As Rajesh was talking, suddenly, he felt some insect moving over his feet, trying to see what was it, he looked down at his feet and incidentally his eyes fall on the old man and Rajesh realizes the old man had no legs. Almost nerve wracked, he looked up to see no one standing there. He is scared to death and starts running away from there, turning back not even once. He fearfully moves ahead in search of some oncoming vehicle or some real human. He was running as fast as he could and sees a river like body towards his right. Having run for a long time, he was really thirsty and with fear, he decides, he could drink a little water and might come across boat in the water body. He goes to the river and bends down to drink some water and suddenly a hand pops out from inside the water ,he feels a chill in his spine again and without even drinking the water, he starts running away as far as he could from the river. He runs faster and keeps running. After several minutes of running, he sees light at a distance. This time he is scared of going towards the light, but nevertheless, his fear drags him towards the light. Slowly he sees a huge bell and realizes, the light was coming from a temple. His joy knew no bounds as he now got the confidence of seeing some real human and if not anything else, his heart was telling him that god would help him.
He is so overjoyed seeing god’s idol that he goes and hugs the idol. Suddenly he feels a tight slap on his face. Startled he opens his eyes wondering why god slapped him, only to find the woman sitting next to him on the bus glaring at him. It was then that he realized that all this while he had been dreaming and thinking it was god, he had hugged the woman sitting next to him who promptly slapped him on his face.