“Ravi, drive slowly, you’re going way above the speed limit,” Parul said, looking at the speed counter on the display.
“Relax, baby,” Ravi said, chuckling.
The open highway always gave him a high. And he never drove below 120 kilometers per hour. This time he decided to tag her along.
“But why do you have to go so fast? See, the other cars are enjoying the drive. We’re supposed to enjoy it too, right? What sort of a…?”
“Hey, it’s ok – this is what it’s all about. The adrenaline rush. I just love the way this thing handles,” Ravi said, whistling as they negotiated a steep curve in high speed.
Parul closed her eyes, praying silently. He looked at her and laughed.
Just then his cell phone rang and he answered the call. Parul shook her head. Not now.
“Hey, Venky…how be you? Hmm? Yeah, yeah..Oh yeah. It’s cool, man. Yes,” Ravi said looking at the speedo on the display, “…150 now. Awesome or what. Ok. Ok. Oh, 220, huh? Let me try on the next stretch.”
Parul was mouthing “no, no, no, no…”. Ravi just smiled at her.
He forgot he had a cell phone in one hand. With his other hand, he tried to ruffle Parul’s hair.
It was all over in an instant. The car careened off the road and hit a tree. Parul screamed but her voice was drowned in the loud noise of metal meeting the bark of the tree, and the car burst open like a paper bag, the bonnet folding back and shattering the windscreen. Parul, on reflex, ducked for cover. She opened her eyes after a few seconds, and looked at Ravi. He was an unrecognizable mess and she had no way of getting out of the mangled remains herself. She tried to open her door but her limp hand just won’t come up. She fought hard to breathe, her eyes rolling all over the place helplessly.
Parul tried pressing the knob a few times, and then gave up with an audible sigh, throwing the joystick away.
Ravi was looking at the screen, mouth open.
“Sick,” Parul said in disdain. “See what you did now. What kind of a game is this, Ravi? Where did you pick it up?”
He was still looking at the screen. “Wow, what a crash. These virtual characters behave just like real people.”
He then took off the wire connectors from his hand and absently got up from the couch, to get sandwiches.
He returned, munching on his and handing one to Parul.
“Borrowed it from Venky. Cool, isn’t it?” He said.
He tilted his head, looking at the screen, “Shit, is that how I’ll look if I crash in real life?”
He then took a bite. Parul whacked the back of his head with a folded newspaper, making him spit his sandwich out.