“Hi there, friends. It’s 10.00 pm on a beautiful winter evening. Perfect time for some golden oldies! So sit back and enjoy as I take you through all the way to midnight.
Traffic update for my friends driving back home: Great news guys, there are no jams anywhere. Ideal driving conditions with great weather for all you motorists, but remember to drive safely and keep listening to Midnight Café only on 95.3 FM. Here’s Louis Armstrong telling us ‘What a Wonderful World’ we live in.”
He smiled as one of his favourite songs of all times came on air. He turned up the volume till it was just right and sat back comfortably in his driver’s seat. Music and machine moved in perfect harmony. So much so that before he knew it, he was in touching distance of his destination. As he was driving out the highway exit, he slowed down to gaze at the beauty of the city. Tonight, it looked breathtaking thinly covered in a fog. Something about it enchanted him evoking a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of contentment and completeness amidst the emptiness of the concrete jungle. If ever there were such a thing as a perfect night for a drive, this had to be it. All the right elements were present; great music, perfect weather, a spanking set of wheels and above all a good mood.
He decided to turn around and retrace his path. As he drove, he realized how little time he had devoted to himself lately. He chuckled at his own situation thinking how he picked up his new job so that he could make more money which he would on his own needs. So much for that, he thought. He made a promise to himself that he would try and be a little more selfish when it came to his alone-time. What sense does it make to slog it out in 9 hour shifts 6 days a week if it stops you from enjoying life even on the 7th day?
His mind was drawn back to the music on the radio as the Bee Gees came on and inquisitively sang, “How Deep is Your Love?” The last thing on his mind right now was a relationship. Finding the right person, common interests, going out on dates, and what not! He couldn’t imagine putting himself through the rigmarole all over again. Almost tauntingly the Bee Gees retorted “We’re Living in a World of Fools.” Indeed one has to throw all his fears and place all hope in his/her companion and live by a fool’s hope that their hearts wont be broken when they’re in love. He too lived this way once, drove down the same roads with the one he loved amidst all the peak hour traffic, yet they used to be oblivious to the cacophony around them. Surprising how love makes everything else seems so trivial.
But as he had learned in the past, everything comes with an expiry date and life gets filled with hurt when happiness doesn’t work anymore. Was it worth going through all the pain for something uncertain once again? Just as he was slipping into a wave of cynicism, Guns N’ Roses came to the rescue and Axl Rose himself placated our friend singing, “I know it’s hard to keep an open heart, when even friends seem out to harm you/ But if you can heal a broken heart, wouldn’t time be out to charm you?” Sometimes music hits you like a tonne of bricks, tonight he had been hit by quite a few tonnes already.
His thought process reached a crescendo as Slash broke out into one of the most memorable solos of all times. He decided it was worth another shot. Maybe this was the night to set things right. Sure, things hadn’t been perfect in the past. He wasn’t perfect but neither was she. But time had healed the scars, almost as if nothing had ever happened in the first place.
He decided to pull over and call her. As he dialled her number he paused for a second almost thinking that Lionel Ritchie would arrive on the scene and croon “Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?” One cliché too many he thought to himself as he pressed ‘dial’. After a few rings, she answered, sounding rather surprised at hearing him call. She didn’t say much but he could sense that she was happy to hear his voice again. He told her how he thought of her while driving along down ‘memory lane’. She sounded flattered and if there were a way to see the person over the phone, there was a good chance that she blushed at that.
‘Why don’t we talk to each other anymore? It just doesn’t make sense to me. It was too long ago and we were young and immature. But I know you’re a different person now and so am I. why this distance then?’ he asked her. Words failed her at that moment, but she said it all saying nothing. His cell-phone network decided to betray him at that very moment as well. So much for, ‘Wherever you go our network follows!’ he grumbled using the choicest curses for the accursed network and its hideous canine mascot.
The wind picked up a bit and a crumpled piece of paper blew into the car. It had a beautiful picture of the hills on it, but the elements had robbed it off its beauty. He tried to straighten it out but it was too crumpled up to be perfect again. Just then his cell-phone indicated full network, but the heavens had already given him a sign. But he wasn’t disappointed this time. The drive had rejuvenated his senses. He knew that hope wasn’t too far now, just a little bit to go before he got there. Life would go on and pretty soon this night would give way to an even more beautiful dawn and though he’d love to drive all night, he had things to do and places to go the next day.
He turned his car around once again and looked up at the new shiny signboard which said, “Miles to go before you sleep!”