I haven’t had to think much about this. There are a very few events about which I think what if.
I was in school, probably not over 5th standard. My Grandpa used to drop me to school on our Kinetic Honda.
School always opened in the first week of June, which also marks (…err used to mark, now monsoon is too erratic) the beginning of monsoon. Because of the ‘kichad’ that covered the kaccha road to school up to 5-to-10 blocks, we had to park near another school and walk all the way to the gate.
Grandpa was so caring that he used to walk up to the school at leaving time. I never walked alone to the parked scooter. One such day, we were walking back from school and I noticed some puddles formed at the side of the road. I was tempted to step in them.
There was a big puddle, larger than the bucket-sized ones. I looked up at Grandpa and asked, “Should I jump in it?” He smiled and said, “Why not?”
We were some steps away from the puddle. I was wearing pristine white socks and jet black shoes (which weren’t that black anymore). A curious thought occurred to me. “What if Mom shouts that I got my socks dirty?”
Now that I look back, that thought seems to be triggered by Providence itself because I have never cared enough for Mom’s reprimands or the fact that she will have to wash soiled socks (yes, I feel bad). BUT, you get the point, right? That thought occurred to me, and half out of fear and half out of concern, I did not go through with my decision.
When we were about to reach the parked scooter, an acquaintance of Grandpa’s came up to him, they got talking and I was looking around me, utterly bored when only under a minute had passed. Suddenly my ears pricked at a sentence I heard – Only 3 days back, a child had fallen into one of the uncovered wells a few kms away. There is a growth in wells dug up and abandoned when they don’t hit water. People don’t build a boundary wall around them and unsuspecting children and animals fall in them. There’s one such well right behind you! See? Last week’s rains have filled it to the brim and now it looks like just another puddle…”
WHAAA? I stood with my mouth agape. My Grandpa finished the conversation and walked on as if nothing had happened. I looked up at him and asked, “What if I had jumped in the puddle, erm, well?” He smiled and said, “Nothing. I would have saved you.”
That was reassuring, as my Grandpa is a very skilled swimmer. But I still shudder at the thought of having put a foot in a puddle and stumbling into a well!
I know my writing style has deteriorated of late. Please bear.