Monday, April 29, 2013

Rebels without a clue

We were four of us who had our own opinions and views that were different from the rest.  We just wanted to belong in a balanced system, a system that treated everyone as equals and respect each other with stateliness no matter what. We believe in treating everyone equal and we expected the same.  We did not understand the difference between rich or the poor nor did we had the need to.  
But the system we belonged to perplexed us. The rich only respects the rich and the poor only understood the poor. 

This was all at school, a place expected where people are given the gift of wisdom to see the difference between right and wrong, bad and good.  But if the school become a sanctum of the corrupt and preaches heinous plans to application, that’s when the fundamentals get really fucked up.
This is the true story of four fundamentally fucked up kids who chose to prove a point that ‘we can do things without you’. We were in the 8th grade!
We decided to leave the system behind us to create our own. A world of our own where creation is only for the righteous purpose and no place for error or stupidity.  A new world order to be in place where everyone is supplied with things needed for survival and existence with harmony, integrity and peace.
There was Rajesh, the chill pill, Niranjan, the guy with massive paranoia without any external force or substance but big at heart, Prabhu, a very normal kid who was just there with us, just there, and Me, who nodded yes to everything. 
 So the plan was to break free from the unnecessary burden on our simple life which did not give us anything but kept taking things from us and we knew that it isn’t worth one bit. We wanted to get away from school, which had long arms that held us tight even at home, the society, the people around us wanted to evaluate our existence depended on one thing; how are you at school? No one cared how is the school at you?!
We had to decide a time to leave, a place to go, a place where we start on our own, build things on our own and create a system that self sustains and has the right balance over things.

We had to carefully choose a day this time, because last time we attempted was during a half day school session. You have 7 days in a week. And they expected us to come to school the 6th day, Saturday to school?  ‘But half day only’, oh thank you for the discount. So we tried to leave on a Saturday school and I think the idea came from  Niranjan that,  hey let’s get to the high way and stop a truck , that travels cross country and ask them to take us to the last stop and we will see it from there.  So instead of getting to the national highway we were just at one of cities main intersection, at Madhya khailash, and we stopped a mini truck that was heading towards OMR. Back then we had no clue, where the north and south were and we did not have a “plan”. So we stopped the truck, everyone climbed into the back and sat. There was silence for about a min and the driver turns and asks us, “where to?”  He looked like he just got out of prison for killing 4 school students who stopped him for hitch hiking. Sitting there we telepathically sent messages to each other that let’s not die this way, so let’s all jump of the truck together and run. So we got up, jumped and ran. In the process some of us got badly bruised.                                                                                        
So we got to plan this, no more stopping random buses and trucks inside the city.

Once again, Niranjan came up with the plan telling us that he had experience in living in the forests as his home town was a hill station called Yercaud, about 400 kms from the city. He said that since he got forest survival skills, we can survive in the forests. But Indian forests are not so deep and thick like you will be lost or something, one can spot you or you might find civilization by walking about 10 hrs any direction.
So he chose the place to be the Sathyamangalam reserve forest in the Salem district, a decent forest to hide and live. But there was a problem, it was not the animals, he said he will take care of that, he said he knows too well about animals and how to hunt them. His grandfather had an air rifle and a photograph of a dead bison, so we agreed that it qualifies him to take the lead in the forest. But the other problem he told us was that the forest is actually home to one of India’s most wanted criminal gang, the Great Sandalwood Smuggler Veerapan , tada! and he doesn’t like anyone else peeing in his territory.  Moreover that is still TamilNadu, and you have not gone so far away from home.  The plan must be a good one and a big one.
I suggested and came up with another place that everyone agreed to, the Forest of the 7 hills. The 7 hills is a sacred place for the Hindus. It is where the temple of Lord Venkatachalapathy is located. I have been there a lot of times. It is a good forest, with good supply of food and water and less of animals. And there is no one hiding there and it will be a place just for us to begin the world with new orders. Ok cool, everyone agrees, the 7 hills it is, to the 7 hills, 7 hills or bust, 7 hills baby!

Now we got to choose a day , see the day is crucial, it must give us time to get away so that our people don’t come looking for us before we are out of sight. We must choose the day in such a way there must be enough time to get out of TamilNadu border.  Why?  We didn’t know why but it was just our instincts.
We all had to stay put and wait for the day to come and… there it was.  The school announced that there is this kid in school who can float on water for hours and he is going to take us all to a nearby lagoon to show how it is done.  When they announced this, we broke into laughter, there is nothing to show off, you have a condition, and your body has more air than liquid so get it checked.  It wasn’t any theory of density or shimsity, it was just gas.  We had tons of jokes on his account after that was announced.  The best part is that it came on TV, and in the news!  Anyhow, so we picked that day. The day on which he is going to float and we are going to flee.
This kid was rich, he had managed to hire like a dozen of buses and managed to put everyone in there and take them all to show them how he can float on water. The highlight is that he would attach a motor to his back and go like a motor boat and that cracked us up even more.  We all thought he just wanted to be popular in the school.  But what we did on this day accidentally made us popular in many other schools as well.  
We told our parent’s good bye with a face like, ‘you will not see us for a long time’, and just left without much to say. At the school, we all assembled in the class room and the teacher told us wait to for her call to board the buses, we didn’t not bother to wait for the call and did not board our buses. We told we are just going to the nearby grocery to get some water bottles.  We stood by the grocery and watched all the buses leave.
We changed our uniforms to colored clothes. We had to get to the bus stand to catch the next shuttle available for taking us to the central train station. But I told them that the trains to Thirupathi were always scheduled before noon and we should get there soon. Bus might delay us more.  We need to find a faster mode of transportation to get there before the train departures.  Niranjan went on his on ‘oh shit oh fuck’ mode and told us let’s take a taxi. Taxis are expensive. We told him that we don’t have that much money to travel in taxi , and moreover we planned to board the train without tickets and hide when the checking inspector comes.  That was our plan.
He said no need for all that, I will handle everything about expenses here on. We didn’t care how he did it but we just got a taxi and headed to the train station. We reached there and went straight to the reservations and there was a train departing in 1 hr to Thirupathi.  We bought the tickets and waited for couple of hours and while we were waiting, we started to think of the next set of plans. 

So with Niranjan’s forest survival skills we were pretty sure to start our lives there. But what are we building there and how are we building it. What about fire, food, vessels to cook and how are we going to sustain ourselves.  All these were very concerning to us but we know we are really “smart” to figure that out later. Now let’s just wait for the train, the train pulled up and we got into our compartments and the rest of the journey was just awesome!
We reached Thirupathi around 5 pm and we started to walk to the nearby bus station to find a bus that can take us to the top of the hills, we will cut the journey mid way and walk into the forest.  We had to stop at the nearby market to get essential survival tools, knifes, ropes, matches, and other stuff that we thought we will need. 
Niranjan suggested that we take a taxi again, because these buses won’t stop mid way. We were like, dude we don’t have the money! He told us not to worry about that. That’s when Rajesh gave me the look, that look means that we got to check into details once again. So we took a taxi and during the travel I saw the Rajesh was just thinking and Niranjan was talking, like what we should do during the time in the forest.  We are going to be like the robin hood of Sherwood Forest, take it all from the riches and give it to the poor.
So how exactly we are going to do that?  We will make masks, we will hide in the bushes and wait for the lone vehicles that will drive over night in the mountains. We will stop those vehicles and rob them at knife point. But we should see who we are stealing from, it cannot be poor people, it must be the rich ones only. Cuz we knew only the rich will carry tons of gold and money and go to the temple to offer to the gods. Our ideology was that god will not need any money, else we would be among us today if he needed. So that’s why he is god you morons. The one who needs money is the poor souls created by god to whom you should serve and by doing so you are directly serving god. This is what we wanted to tell them, It is so simple but they wouldn’t get it. So we got to show them, teach them, squeeze them… and put my foot in… never mind. So that was the plan!
Prabhu said that we need to start with blessings, that’s when he opened his mouth and said something. He said lets all go up the the temple, and pray to god and then proceed with our plans. Rajesh said it was lame, and I said it is lame, Niranjan said no, it is good to do that, and I said yes it is good to do that.  But it was late and the time for the visiting the temple was closed. We had to rest somewhere and then head to the forest. Now we had not time to waste. So Niranjan suggested let’s wait till the morning for day light and then we walk into the forest and set base there. We cannot navigate in the dark.
So we sat there and were thinking about the whole day while Niranjan and Prabhu went for a stroll and me and Rajesh begin to discuss about how does he have all that money to do all this. He took care of the entire trip, the travel, the tickets, the taxi, the food and the forest survival kits. Then it struck us, Niranjan is rich, his father is a doctor and he come from a rich family.
We were supposed to come out with nothing from our homes but someone did not do that. So we began to worry. That’s when we heard two girls crying and we turned to see that it was Niranjan and Prabhu, we were like what the fuck is wrong with you both.  You guys are drawing a lot of attention man.  They explained and told us that every single second we spend here our parents are looking for us, they will be so worried and concerned. We should go back to them.  Rajesh got so angry he went at Prabhu thinking it was he who made Niranjan changed his mind. But it was actually the other way. So me and Rajesh decided to stay back and asked them to leave.  They begged us to come along with them.  I’m sure we would have eventually done that after a week but we just got here man!  If we go back we fail!
They created a big scene there and we just had to go back with them. But on the way back the chill pill said lets relax and go , cuz we are going to face a big storm back home. So be prepared. There is no train to Madras in the middle of the night so we had no other option but take a bus. The tickets were expensive because it was a luxury bus, but Niranjan said he will take care of it. Again!
So I and Rajesh were together on one side and Prabhu and Niranjan were on the other side, besides us. During the travel, the lights were of and everyone was sleeping. Rajesh woke me up and told let’s check his bag because whenever he wanted cash, he put his hand inside the bag. We reached out to his bag and open to check what’s in it. It     was    a     bag    full     of     cash!  Hot    cash!  Like he had robbed a bank.
Rajesh told me that we are in a bigger problem as we three came out of the house without taking money but he had stolen a lot of money and by now people back how  would have realized it about the missing money. And they will be waiting for us with cops. Ok cops are bad people to face at this time, and I don’t know how things will end up when they involve. So Rajesh asked me to empty the pockets dry and keep all the money back and leave some cash in Niranjan’s shirt top pocket. That’s it.
We kept the bag where it was and went back to sleep. At 3 am we reached madras and took an auto from ‘Thondiarpet’.  That’s when Niranjan, came up with a lame ass plan that to tell our parents that we were kidnapped.  Rajesh was still thinking with no reaction to say yes or no to that and I knew he won’t agree to that. But to my surprise he did yes. He then looked at me and smiled. I knew he was thinking of something.  We first went to Niranjan’s house cuz he wanted to get there first.  I think it was all the guilt trip that made Niranjan to head back home soon.  He couldn’t take it anymore. But he should have told us all what he packed and what he did. If he hadn’t taken that amount of money, he probably wouldn’t have volunteered to step back.  As we were nearing his house we saw a bunch of people standing in front of the gate. I wanted to check if my parents were amongst them and yes my father was. He was looking  relaxed, like no reaction , not anger or rage on his face. I just couldn’t read his face. As soon as the autoricshaw stopped Niranjan ran out crying to his dad, we got kidnapped!
It was so hilarious that Rajesh laughed and so did I.
I mean come on at least build up to it man. You jumped of a rickshaw and ran like a chick and cried out with a very fake crying tone ! we got kidnapped ! oh my god I can still remember that . Rajesh kept his cool walked up to his dad to explain.  My father was just looking at me, just staring at me. I don’t see anger on his face, he just looking for something on my face. He was reading it carefully. So I know that telling him bullshit ain’t going to work so let’s just tell him what happened.
And I turned to see what going on with the other fellows and I saw Niranjan’s dad as he was speaking to him checked his pockets and found the cash that Rajesh had placed in his top pocket. And I noticed Rajesh too was looking at that scene and turned looked at me and smiled. Now we are off the hook of stealing or doubt of influencing to steal.  Our bags were checked too, only clothes and few packets of biscuits.
It was so late that everyone had to disperse and go to their respective homes.  The next day we all had to go to school.  At home, mother went hysterical and I also saw my sister adding more fuel to the fire. She was in the same school and she was good with academics and was a little popular at school so for her it is going to be a disaster to face her friends.  So she was hysterical in her own ways. Not because I left home. Hehehe… my father told everyone to go back to sleep and we shall sort this in the morning.
Next day was school and we four came to school. Everyone were looking at us. I mean the whole school was looking at us. Now everyone knew us. They were all looking at us as if we landed from mars. No one spoke to us, oooh bad kids, nobody should talk to them… fuck’em we dint care. We had a mission but we had to abort it because of weak team members. 
Later we were called by the principal (apparently his name was Venkatachalapathy) and we stood inside his office the whole day. Our parents came in the afternoon had a discussion and in the end the outcome was little disturbing to us.  Niranjan was asked to move out of the school, Prabhu decided to move out, I and Rajesh could continue. 

Niranjan was a good friend to me and were always together since the 3rd grade. We had our good times but I did not wish this to happen for him. He felt devastated that his friends had let go of him and I feel what he went through that day, maybe a feeling of betrayal. My sincere apologies old friend!  Rajesh and me remained close and kept in touch after school times. Prabhu was never seen after that.

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