In the Blink of an Eye has been edited by Aashna Kanuga.
Author’s note: The story “In the Blink of an Eye” is entirely fictional.
At around 1 P.M on a rather hot Sunday afternoon, I was in my car, driving. The black hot asphalt of the road was crying out loud, begging for some relief from the scorching sun. There were hardly any pedestrians on the road, a handful of motorcyclists with their faces covered, and a few cars here and there. The shops covered in green, almost closed. All in all, the traffic was really scarce because of the sun. Nothing too odd for a summertime Sunday.
Heading towards the cinema to catch the newest superhero flick, I was driving at about 70 (in India, we don’t need to mention the unit). Playing some trending electronic music hits, my driving coordinated with the pulsing beats. Being the idiot that I am, it is a bit obvious that I was running late. I had 10 minutes to cover about 12 kilometres of the asphalt. The math was not difficult, I just had to rush, even if it pushed some limits. The speed that I was riding at, however, was a bit too high for narrow streets. I paid the speed-breakers as little attention as Arbaaz and Sohail, and my speed was enough to make me another Salman Khan. Watching Fast and Furious has seriously affected at least some teenagers’ brains negatively. (I guess!)
So far, we have established that I was running late, which led to fast and a bit of reckless driving, even if the traffic was quite sparse. Thus, the traffic’s inadequacy supported my idea of fast-riding. Grooving to the beats and driving, I was a bit careless. And fate does not like things ending on an easy note. It has to work some drama into everything. That particular day, fate decided to give me a scary scar.
A dog suddenly came on the road. It was a tiny pup, scared because someone had been shooing it away. It was running madly towards the opposite end of the road, looking terrified and locked into a fit of fear. The dog came exactly in front my car. The poor animal and I were both petrified. Three and a half inches away from my car, the dog and I both, were now shitting our metaphorical pants.
Half an inch later, it seemed like time had frozen. In the blink of an eye, everything sat suspended. The entire world around me stopped. It was me, contemplating the situation with myself, analysing it and trying to take a hold of it. I had entered one of the different realms in those Sci-Fi movies. I did not want to kill the dog, but I also did not want to kill myself. Braking was of no point as I was already too close. Turning right was also pointless. Turning left meant hitting my car (which by the way has no air bags or other protection) into a huge tree which meant getting myself hurt badly and might even lead to death. A blink of the eye, and gone.
I wished the Superhero whose movie I was going to watch, could come and save us both. I prayed to all the gods and chanted all the mantras that my mom had made me memorize. In this time taking a pause, I don’t know how the poor creature was feeling. My whole life flashed in front of my eyes. In that one blink of an eye, I remembered all the wrongs I had done. I thought of my parents, family and friends. I thought of my goals. And I saw all of it shatter like glass.
Before I could blink, I had to decide between the two options – turn the steering very rapidly to the left and put myself in danger, or to keep going straight, try and brake to cause minimal damage to the dog. Chose to go with the latter.
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