( Rollercoaster ride, Mumbai Amusement Park )
It clicked into place and slowly ambled up the slope ; almost gently. As if It cared for our feelings. As if the Universe were watching and It had the job of being nice to us. Yes, it was a Steel Monster, revving and cranking its iron self into the next few moments of sheer madness, but for a few seconds here, it was being nice, see ? ( Pretense !)
Noe, my husband ( a speed maniac and relishing every moment of this) was in the front seat. He loves Rollercoasters, car races, maniacs in every field of speed. He sat now in the two-seater in front of us, shoulders and face wide with joy. If there’s such an expression.
A perfect Mumbai noon. Li ( my sister ) and I were in T-shirts and jeans like normal people at an entertainment park. ” I can take this, ” she said glaring at me for having doubted her. Li … State Champion for Badminton, Table tennis ; Sprint queen, our neighbourhoodcricketer par excellence , enduring Med School Student through all those years with formalin-corpses! Just that we knew Li and I were terrified of speed and heights. So. That noon stood still to listen as the brakes unslacked and Steel monster purred. Then It lunged onto Its tracks with a grin we somehow knew it was grinning.
When speed began to tighten every last muscle down shank and elbows, hamstring and brain, and the wind was a shriek pulling earring off earlobe, Li began to whisper the name of her God through the sides of her head. The monster plunged Its neck in as It bungeed into meters below. Li and I, our glasses collectively foldinginto tiny heaps in our lap, could not wail we could not weep. That suspended fall stole every last sound we may have tried to make.It was like dying. Only those who are scared of heights and speed, and those two things put together along with demented iron -wails…what was I saying here ? Yes, only those people would feel what we were feeling. You, die, and rise again. Bone calls to bone, there is a stirring. You return to breathing. The horizon tilts back in. Buzzing sounds in head un buzz. Wires in the eyes and ears, and lungs untangle. Yes, we have wires in places we never knew we had wires. Am telling you.
The Dragon was slowing down. Was being merciful.
” Done?” Li mouthed wordlessly. Like a battle cry after we thought we lost, but had somehow escaped the Last Dragon.We were reading each other’s lips in shock and aftermath. ” No” I began – as the Thing revved once more….
” Oh NO!” she said. “Yes Li …one more lap ” I tried to speak , but the winds slid down our cheeks, flattening our edges into itself.
What can I say, after it was over, and we side- saddled off onto cement walk , she said, “ What Rubbish Ray, we had to pay for that ? Do they care that we could die ? BUT know what Ray, now I’ve lost all fear. must learn to drive, I’m sure I can drive ..”
( Celebratn my fantastic sisters Thel& Li who teach me how to face my worst fears / couldnt resist this! love you each so much / Li you sure can drive …)