Jackson packed his bags, kissed his mom, Stacey a goodbye, and climbed into his brand new Tata Safari.
The clouds grew dark, even as he inserted the keys- a grim harbinger of the events that were to follow?
Jackson was fully aware of the possible consequences of his mission:
He was about to venture into the known, yet unknown territories.
He had 2 choices: To win, or to Win…
The Safari zoomed into the deserted roads- followed by a trail of dust…
“Captain Jackson reporting, sir”, boomed Jackson’s voice as he reported to Major Michael.
“Are you ready to begin, young man?” Michael asked his favorite Captain.
“Good! Here’s the map. Tread carefully”, Michael gave Jackson a firm handshake.
“Thank You, sir”
It must have been about 2 hours.
Jackson was beginning to feel the fatigue of the journey.
“Only a few more miles… Let me not give up, now”, he motivated himself, as he pushed the accelerator and shifted to gear 4.
He halted the vehicle in front of tall gates.
“DO NOT ENTER. TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED“- read a sign in bold.
“This is gonna be a tough one”, muttered Jackson to himself as he looked for an entry.
Slowly, he drove his Safari along the peripherals of the building.
“No straight way in”, he concluded at the end of his surveillance.
A part of the wall seemed lower than the rest.
He had to take his call. It was this way, or, it was defeat…
He clamped his seat belts tightly, reversed the car by a few meters and “Zooooooommmmmmm”…
The Safari flew into space, over the walls and landed in a beautiful spot.
“It was the most beautiful thing Jackson had ever seen in his life”
Filled with flowers of unparalleled beauty, the place seemed like heaven.
This was heaven, Jackson concluded…
He stood in silence, reveling at the beauty of the moment.
He was, after all, in…….. love!
“And, he thought this was a dangerous mission???”- Jackson felt amused by the remarks made by the Major when they had first met to discuss the mission.
He could live for an eternity here J
“I’m gonna like this”- Jackson told himself as he set about to wander.
Jackson stopped by a beautiful lake.
He dipped his feet and splashed the cool water.
A feeling of sheer delight descended upon him.
Disposing his clothes in a heap, he dived into the pool….
He closed his eyes and allowed himself to float.
Suddenly, he felt something brush against his skin.
“Ouch!” he squealed in pain.
It pricked him again.
What was it?
He tried to move his feet, but, the movement caused him more pain.
He wriggled his feet, but, in vain!
Was it a crocodile?
What was he to do now?
Jackson brought his water resistant watch near his face and clicked on the ‘protect’ mode. A sharp object sneaked out of the watch exteriors. He took his hands near his feet and made an attacking gesture.
The pain continued to ebb and flow through his feet.
He attacked again- his hands hit something. He brought his hands away from the target and made the sweeping gesture again.
Jackson continued to attack until the pain relaxed its grip on his feet…
He looked at his watch, even as the clear waters turned to a pale red.
So, the journey was not going to be all that easy, after all…
Jackson dragged himself to the banks of the waters and dressed himself, and his wounds.
He threw himself on the back seat of his car and slipped into slumber.
When Jackson woke up, the time on his watch read 7:30 AM.
He had let himself get carried away by the intermittent incidents and he was now running late in his schedule.
(Schedule? Yes. Jackson had a schedule to keep up with. He was not going to be on the mission forever…)
He injected his breakfast with a small syringe.
Feeling energized, he started his car to continue the journey.
He opened the map which the major had given him and traced his fingers over the route. The next destination was going to be a crowded city.
“Halt sir! Cars are not allowed into the city. You’ll have to walk your way in” a guard halted Jackson at the entrance.
“How will I move on? I’ll be proceeding to the mountains after my journey in the city” remarked Jackson.
“Your vehicle shall be parked at the exit gates sir. You may now alight”,
Jackson deposited the keys in the hands of the guard and began to walk towards the city. What awaited him there?
A crowded market greeted Jackson as he entered.
“I’m hungry and thirsty”, he thought to himself.
He needed a nice meal after some days on injected food.
Jackson stopped a man who seemed like a nice one.
“Sir, My name is Jackson and I’m new to this city. Could you show me the way to the restaurant?”
The man walked right past him without a reply.
Jackson repeated his question to another chap.
Another one; and another; and another….
“What’s this city called? City of the deaf?” Jackson wondered.
He stopped another man. This time, it was positive.
“Sure Jackson. Come home! My wife cooks delicious meals”, the man said.
Delighted, Jackson walked along with the man.
They entered a dark alley and suddenly, the man pushed Jackson roughly and demanded at knife point: “Gimme all that you have or I’ll slit your throat”.
Stunned at the sudden turn of events, Jackson faltered, but only for a minute. Quickly, he did a somersault and kicked the knife out of the man’s hands.
The man scurried away, leaving Jackson to himself in the dark alley.
“In this city, it is man for himself”, thought Jackson as he slowly ambled his way out.
He injected another dosage, forgetting his desire for real food.
Sometimes, it was better to be alone than to be surrounded by people who feigned indifference.
What was “life” when trust and kindness were lost virtues? He walked faster towards what he thought was the exit.
He walked and walked.
He felt sweat trickle down his forehead. On his way, he saw a woman weeping, a kid crying and a sick man among many others. Jackson did not stop to help as he normally would have. Why should he bother?
A sense of hatred descended upon him.
Society makes a man. How true it was in Jackson’s case!
The welcome which he received at the city had robbed him of his better sense and there he was- looking for a quick exit from a world of helplessness and betrayal.
In his state, Jackson found himself a victim of several emotions- not all of them justified, yet….
He began to run towards the exit.
“I’m done, here”, he told himself.
Exit signs started coming into the picture.
“I’M DONE HERE”, he told himself again as the sight of his vehicle appeared slowly.
Getting into the car, he felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.
He was indeed done. It was time to retreat to a quiet life in the mountains…
Jackson drove along the twists and turns of the mountainous terrain. He reached the top. He parked the Safari- took a deep breath and gazed at the sight below.
It had been quite a journey- a strange resemblance to the journey called “Life”.
The beautiful garden with the lake which he fell in love with was like the love of his life-his wife. While life was bliss with her, it had its deterrents-like the crocodile in the lake. The crowded city was like the people he met day in and day out- selfish, greedy and uncaring. The mountains- they were peaceful- probably an indication of what was yet to follow in the Captain’s real life…
Was this mission a mission of reality?
Jackson watched the sun set.
“Life” was the biggest mission he had yet to fulfill…
This post has won the 1000 rs flipkart voucher in the contest
The images have been picked from Google search results