This was our very rare chance. I doubt if any other batch got this rare opportunity. And i am very thankful to be a lucky member from our batch to get this chance.
It was again in eight standard that we have been asked with a rare opportunity to join the excursion team that year. The seniors were going for a trip. Since there were 10 vacant seats available in the bus, only if 10 more students willing to join ,it was economical to run 2 big bus for the trip. It was normal to go for an excursion at the tenth standard, well before the exam pressure build up. This time somehow there was a shortage of students. The ninth class was not taken into consideration since they were just junior and there were so many protest against including the just junior batch. So the headmistress asked if anyone from eight was willing. But only ten members were allowed though. The teacher did not expect any one of us willing to join the trip. But as soon as she asked we few raised our hands. She then said
"remember you will miss the class if you go" ...that's one main reason we wanted to go.
There were two divisions for each class and the same question was asked to the other section too. And few said yes from there also. Now there were more willing people than the actual requirement. Then the second condition was to pay the money in advance and get added as a first come first serve basis. It was not at all a problem, we all were ready with the money very next day. Though there was some rush and push to pay first, it was all well finished and the list now has more than 15 members from junior batch going for excursion with the seniors. Some how we were in good relation with this senior batch. But teachers told us that it was their excursion and so we had to keep our celebration to the minimum inside the bus.
“its OK .. we too not wanted to get bashed up inside the bus”
Remember our batch was really notorious for making trouble in and out of the school. Am very sure many teachers were so happy that these main problem makers were leaving the school. So all had given us a thumbs up! and waved hands with never seen happiness in their face when the bus was leaving the campus.
There were two bus as usual. One for the boys and one for the girls. But in this trip since seats were vacant in both bus few guys from the junior batch ware little more luckier than rest of all to travel in girls bus. No............no you are wrong .. i wasn't that lucky,none from our gang was. Why? let me explain the situation here.
Always our batch was very trouble making but the B group was famous for some really quiet boys. They were famous for their good character. The reason is still a mystery. What i had noticed from my personal observation, that the group did have some serious trouble makers but they were outnumbered by these decent guys and girls. More over the girls some how had the last word in the class. Many of the girls in that class Group B were really close to teachers and headmistress. Even the main prayer girl was the group leader and she was like a school staff in students uniform.(sorry to say this... dear).These girls had real tough attitude and commanding power but, I confess, they were extremely pretty (did i forget to use the word HOT ..) and amazingly attractive. Being a guy I got the advantage of knowing how many boys ,including seniors and in our batch,were madly after these girls but scared to open their mouth.(i say that was a smart move not disclosing this to all else many would have got expelled from school itself) OK this doesn't mean my batch did not have hot girls. We were some how blessed with beautiful girls with a more caring,friendly nature than taking command over us.:) and my interest too was from my own class.
So these reputation allowed these guys to travel in girls’ bus. In a way it still was an all girl bus, we never counted them as boys.( sorry guys even you knew this at school days).
back to the story..…..
As usual the excursion team was planned to visit Ooty, Bangalore, Mysore and back.
The hero of this story is one of our gang member, my close friend,lets call him Harry. Harry always claimed he had studied in Ooty till he was 6 years old. So all the way we were asking him doubts and explanation on many things out of curiosity. We were visiting Ooty for the first time and so we gave him a leader position. He even claimed that he knew Tamil very well. This guy,in turn, had proper convincing explanation to all our questions too. But we stopped at night for refreshments and it was somewhere in Tamil Nadu. To our surprise we could communicate better in Tamil than him. From this moment we started doubting him. He was smart to convince us by saying he did know Tamil but forgot since he was an Anglo Indian kid who studied in English medium school. Anyways we have marked him now.
It was late midnight when we reached Ooty. Our stay was arranged at some dormitory and since we were so tired, went to sleep. Early morning we would be visiting the Botanical Garden,there was some flower show going on. We got up pretty early and it was really freezing cold. I have taken around 5 coffee already and was wearing a sweater to keep myself warm. Few seniors have already boarded to bus. It was then our Harry noticed a horse which was available for a ride if you paid 10 rupees. We all wanted a ride but he took it first. The horse was pretty tall. It took little effort for him to climb on top of it. Seeing that our interest was reduced considerably. Normally the horse boy will sit behind ya if you want and help you ride it. But Harry insisted to ride alone. This will show his courage and to some extend prove his early years story to be true. So he said he would do it alone. The guy still took some time explaining the controls or commands.
guy "if you say …....hey hey ..will make it ride faster"
Harry " i know anna ..i know.."
guy " pull these belt right to make it turn right ..."
Harry "Owh anna i know ... let me go"
guy "pull it left to.................."
Harry "hey hey....... hey hey ......."
He was already steaming straight , before the guy could finish it. He looked so confident and we all were jealous of him.
Riding a horse all by yourself without anyone’s help made him look royal. The girls’ bus was standing nearby and all the senior girls were admiring his courage. And we all wanted to show ours too..but inside we were little scared and time was limited. The horse was really tall and falling from there would prove fatal. At the same time riding with the guy's help would lose our reputation that we earned all these years. We were looking for a reason like say there wasn’t any time for ride as the bus was almost leaving.
Things were getting serious now. Ten minutes have passed and the bus were full now. All seniors have boarded and it’s just few of us outside. Teachers were commanding us to enter. But we couldn’t!! Why?? The horse guy wouldn’t let us in if his horse is not coming back.
we said " anna .. our friend is there too.. so he will bring it back"
another one said " he know all this place and he is expert rider "
Horse guy " owh hho..so he knew the place.. now wait till my horse come back"
Teachers have come out for our rescue and by this time few localites have surrounded us. They were least bothered about the school kid riding the horse they needed only the horse back. This time we started doubting if it’s some sort of drama. These guys rent the horse and claim money for the missing horse. We were wondering what must have happened to him.
More than 20 minutes have passed now. Still no sign of him anywhere. owh Harry please come back. The dormitory we been staying was provided to us by the local Church. These people have come for rescue. They threatened the horse guy and his team that if the boy get into any accident he would be in big problem. More over they have pointed him out that no matter what, he should have accompanied him. Its his responsibility and its very wrong of him to let the school kid ride alone. So many who supported the horse guy now started leaving the scene. But the teachers were now a little too much worried hearing the word 'accident'. They would be responsible for the missing school kid.
To add more oil in to the fire some from the near teashop claimed the horse was a problem maker and there were few cliffs on that side.
We were like " God are we gonna attend a funeral !!!"
In spite of all these tensions our friends could crack a few jokes on him and horse, which made us look like we were least bothered about him.
one suggested .. “he always wanted to escape but never thought he take the horse”
other said ... “poor horse.”.
third one.. “no he must have rented it to other people and must be earning money by this time.”
(hmm that is a possibility )
…..... “then today's treat is on him”
but still .. why is he putting us in trouble? one studious guy from other bus asked.
and we looked at him and laughed .. we were like " dude understand ….rule says..NEVER LOOK BACK... when u run just run....dont think of others .. save your ass !!"
It was then we heard some shouting and noise from the horse guy‘s team. It was like they spotted him. We too were looking at the side he went. But it seemed he was coming from some other direction. We rushed to see him. The sight was little different
We could see the horse running pretty fast towards us. As it was approaching us the sight become clearer. It was horrifying, at the same time very funny too. Harry was some how sitting on the horse. His hands and legs both stretched out in straight. It felt as if he pleading " some one please take me out of this thing "
he was a very fair kid but now it seemed he was all red. or at least his face was red for sure.
The horse slowed down really quickly seeing its master. The horse guy and all of us helped him get down. He whole body was shivering. All the happiness when he was leaving have disappeared from his face. We didn't ask any question to him at this time. He was just guided to the bus and made to sit in a full seat all alone. Since things have gone this far none of us couldn't ask for a ride. It seems the word HORSE was banned for the rest of the trip. Inside the bus the seniors were really unhappy for delaying them this much. Nearly 40minutes have been wasted here.
We asked him later what had happened. The story goes like this. He got the instructions for turning left and right, and how to accelerate but didn't know how to stop it. The horse was tall and really fast running one.He tried out different versions of “hey hey … hoo hoo ..hoyya hoyya ….”
The horse kept on speeding for each of these command. The speed got exceptionally high and it ran through the edge of really steep cliffs. All this time he was sitting on top of it with out any control. He lost the grip on belts in very early stage of ride itself. Then some one asked him where all he went.
There was a change in expression in his face and we all could see how steep those cliffs were. None dared to ask any more questions. It was sure Harry will never come to Ooty again. Harry was silent for the rest of the day.