It was that time of the year when a few good friends were feeling bored of the heat, humidity and workload at the city called the queen of Arabian Sea. They decided to break the tedium like most guys of their age usually do – take to the hills.
A trip to the Western Ghats was planned. As usual tours go by; a jeep was arranged, filled with lots of diesel, both for man and machine. Twilight was the right time to launch the journey, and it was started well on schedule from the starting point.
As the journey progressed by, the level of diesel in the fuel tank of the jeep started diminishing directly in proportion the escalating level of alcohol in the blood of the journeymen.
All was well. Driving through NH 17 to Kozhikode, then the diversion to the roads uphill towards Waynad, the hairpin curves and the legendary Thamarassery Churam…. the faultless ingredients for a perfect to relaxation.
Once past Sulthan Bathery, the drive started getting reckless. All of them were in high spirits, literally. Even the straight roads started looking like meanders. It looked quite difficult to carry on, but all of them had no option but to not stop, as the place was quite unfamiliar and rather risky as wild animals were often on prowl during the hours of darkness.
The roads started getting bumpier and constricted. The levels of concentration in the eyes started getting narrow. Then, out of the blue, the accident happened…
The jeep was passing through a road which has a ravine on one side, and a steep mount on the other. As usual, the road was just like any other one that was maintained by the Kerala Public Works Department. You would not require speed breakers and the roads had enough potholes. The jeep dipped into once such cavern. Any normal driver would have lost command over the wheel, so we cannot expect much more from an inebriated sleepwalker.
Losing control over the vehicle, it started suddenly tilting towards the gorge. All of them were in half sleep, and were suddenly woken up by the howl of the chap at the wheel…
“Ayyo… Jeep kokkayil veezhaan pokunne!” (Ayyo… the jeep is falling into the gorge)
This war cry was enough to digest all the liquor that inhabited in the bowels of the friends. As we say in Malayalam… “Kick ellam poyi” (The effect of alcohol is gone).
All of them suddenly had the pictures of the entire life moving on in front of them, almost in 3D, a few crying out loudly all their unfinished agenda in life, and another one crying out the ignominy of being eaten up by wild animals in some underside of a deep canyon. Most of them revered atheists, who never even before had a thought of going to a temple or church except for bird watching, were suddenly calling out Jesus and Guruvayoorappan.
All this had happened in the space of a moment. And suddenly in between all these thoughts and prayers, they suddenly realised that something was holding up their jeep from falling down.
There was deep silence. It took a second to realise that all of them were still alive and then there was a huge sigh of relief.
“Ente Geevarghese punyaala!!! Rakshichu!!!” – was the prayer call from an atheist turned believer, calling out to St Geevarghese for saving his life!!!
The jeep was still tilted ninety degrees, and with great impenetrability all of them hopped out. It was pitch dark outside, and they all looked around to survey the environment. The air was filled with quite a lot of mist and fog, which was typical of the Waynadan nights during the winter season. In the darkness, they could see their jeep being tagged to the tip of a sword, at the end of a life-size idol of a figure on a horseback.
“Geevarghese Punyaalan rakshichu!!!”
There was nothing much to say for all of them other than this. St Geevarghese was a glorious figure on a horseback, with a sword, and they were extremely happy that they were saved from certain death by the intervention of god. What more, suddenly they became such immense god fearers that they lit candles beneath the figure and prayed plenty. They set straight the jeep, and too tired from the day’s experience, the decided not to drive further. They found a small space nearby to park the jeep and dozed off.
All the friends woke up early at the break of the dawn. As the first rays of the morning sun bestowed its warmth to the mist laden air of the Ghats, they realised the value of the beauty and tenderness of God’s gift called life and earth.
“Ah…. Life is so beautiful!!!”
Before leaving, they decided to offer salutation one more time to the idol of St Geevarghese. Reaching there, they got a shock, much like the one on the spectators face when a certain Munaf Patel manages to hit Malinga for a six. The Geevarghese that they prayed to was actually a statue of Tipu Sultan on a horseback with his sword held high.
The stunned silence for a minute turned to laughter all around. They suddenly realised that their savior last night, whose idol they prayed to last night, was not what they had actually thought was.
What went through next was a repeat of the dialogue between Mohanlal and Sreenivasan in Priyadarshan’s comedy riot in Malayalam – Chandralekha.
“Nee padachone kandittunda” (Have you seen god?)
“Padachon ethu roopathilum bhaavatilum varum, Innale vannathu Tipu Sultante roopathila” (God can come in any form, yesterday he came in the form of Tipu Sultan’s statue)