“How did we get here?” I heard someone say as the bus rumbled along the highway,‘
where are we going?’ Might have been a better question right now
. The voice soundeddistant, as if it was echoing across a valley, forgive me-but exaggerations have always been my weak point. I pushed myself up so I could look out of the window, a cold driftstruck my hair, and it was a minute before I could focus as my eyes struggled to make a picture out of the rushing landscape. They failed and I slumped back on my seat, gratefulto fall back in the darkness.“I want to know how I got here, RIGHT NOW.” Sumit slapped the seat in front as heasked. His loud voice sent nails through my head and I gave him a rough nudge inretaliation,” shut up man, Sumit, this isn’t our room.” Eshan said, “The other guys aren’tdrunk here.” I felt a wave of relief on hearing his voice. I opened an eye again and triedto focus on my watch, it was close to 2 or maybe it was 3. I let my hand fall back inresignation. Eshan being there was a consolation, he was the only 22 year old I knew whohad never touched Alcohol, and even though I had very little recollection of how thenight had panned out I would have bet my last Rupee that he was sober tonight too,hopefully. I lay back further trying to melt into the seat, sleep crept in and I didn’t fight it.“Eshan, I’m dying” Sumit’s scream jolted me out of my reverie, or rather it brought back the nails in my head. I opened one eye to look at him. He did look to be in a bad state, his blue shirt stuck to his body with sweat and he kept looking around with his bloodshoteyes as if Lucifer, invisible to the rest of us, was actually circling his head.“Save me Eshan, I don’t wanna die, I’m only 19.” Sumit screamed yet again.The needles in my head made me wish he would die sooner and get it over with.“Don’t worry brother, I’ll save you.” I heard Eshan say.” The Ambulance has almostreached.”My eyes fluttered open at the word Ambulance. This time I managed to pull myself up onmy elbow and looked outside. The signboards by the road flashed past us. Somethingreally bad must be up with Sumit for it to be driving this fast. I looked over at him again,looking for signs. There wasn’t any blood, at least none that was visible; I tried torecollect what had happened earlier tonight. Mohit’s birthday party had been going fineuntil Rahul had brought out those wrinkled cigarettes. I gagged at the taste in my mouth.It all collapsed around me after that, I wasn’t up to much more analysing tonight.
We were on the way to the hospital
, the words rang around in my head, but why was I inthe ambulance with them? Obviously I wasn’t capable of much moral support right now;I wouldn’t have been here unless something was wrong with me too.“Eshan” I said aloud.I got a kick for my effort,” cut the racket dude.” Sumit said.