On one of his travels, Uncle Victor was going to Myanmar by ship. Since this was his first voyage, he kept his belongings in his cabin and went to the deck to enjoy the sea breeze. He even drew a picture of the deck which I have replicated above. He found company on the deck and sat chatting till 3 am. When he finally reached his cabin, it was only to find that the cabin had been locked the inside. The cabins were allotted on twin sharing basis and upon realising that uncle wasn’t coming back, his cabin mate had locked the door from inside. For some reason best known to him, this made him very anxious. So, in desperation, he kicked the door. Instead of opening it, he managed break a part of the door thay had resulted in an opening at the bottom. Seeing no other way, he squeezed himself in through the newly formed gap.
Moments later, he sat in the room, enjoying the snacks the cabin mate had kept on the table. At this point, the cabin mate woke up, surprised. He wanted to know how and why had a stranger entered the locked room in the middle of the night.
Now, my uncle could have simply told him how he came in. Instead, he chose to ask the guy to lock the door again and demonstrated the entire process again.
Uncle Victor started travelling twelve years ago. For all his sense of humour and wit, he had a minor drawback of having a bad memory. On one of his escapades, he had a most interesting adventure. It’s a story I tell whenever I have to tell someone about Uncle Victor.
He once landed himself at a remote spot in the lesser Himalayas. Having heard that the place offered a most spectacular sunrise, he planned to see it. Without telling anyone from his family, he took the early morning bus to the place. His calculations told him he would easily reach home by nightfall. In the bus, he was told by the driver that if he was to return, he would have to take the bus leaving at 5 pm that day. Failing to take that bus, he would be stuck in that place for the next two months. That bus was to be the last bus for the season before snowfall began. The place hardly had any houses so, missing the bus would mean he would die within a day or two in the cold. Absent-minded that he was, he forgot all about the warning upon reaching the place. The sunrise was heavenly and so was the place. It wasn’t until 6 pm that he remembered that he had to take the last bus.
He was now stranded at a remote corner of the Himalayas. Heavy snowfall was sure to follow. He was many kilometres away from civilisation. Had he shouted for help, only wild animals would have heard it; speaking of which, the region was home to wolves, bears and leopards. Starving and hypothermia weren’t the only ways to die here: he could also become dinner for some wild animal. This was the most desperate of all desperate times ever and he was scared to death. Added to this, was the fact that his family didn’t know he was here. A two-month long search would ensue and his family would know the truth only after the snow would melt and his body would be discovered. All this was terrible to think of and this is what pushed him onto the edge: quite literally.
Had he taken the road, it would have taken him all night. He had to rule it out because he did not have all night. There was also a high chance of a rendezvous with wild animals. He had to think of a way to reach the town below that hill. From that town he could easily get a bus to his city. This is when he took the most impractical decision of his life.
Within ten minutes, he had tied his backpack around his privates like an underwear and was sliding down the rugged mountainside with nothing but the backpack to save his bottom. Many bruises and a bus ride later, he reached home just in time for dinner. The backpack is useless now, but he still has it as a remembrance of the day. Looking back now, it feels like a stupid thing to do. But, the spontaneity of the moment is really what has kept him going. What is life without a little risk?