Rodeo in the clouds...
58 years minus a couple of weeks later, in a metropolis situated 902 m above sea level on the 12th North latitude, I realized that 15th August is to be a Monday, thereby providing a 3 day weekend, a rare novelty. It would enable me to sign up for the migration, wherein professionals with roots in the smallest Indian state return to their homes to relax. The problem was getting a pass, because this is a very important event, and only the early birds get the worm, or in this case, the horses. The latecomers get to ride on broncos. The event is celebrated by holding the longest rodeo ever (over a distance of some 680 km).
It was done. I was Rider No. 30. As I got on to the bronco, a girl came up to me, “Could you please exchange places with my sister? I’m scared of bronco rides and I want to stay close to her.” Given the situation there was nothing to do but agree, so I switched places and got bronco no. 28. I saw that these were twin broncos, that is, two broncos side by side. Some sort of genetic mutation had been done to achieve this. Thus I saw myself rubbing elbows with the fish-eyed goddess, who had also decided to avail the weekend and go down to the plains.
The bronco-herd was late by 25*60*9192631770 vibrations between two hyperfine levels of the cesium-133 atom, and by the time it arrived, absolute humidity was about to be achieved causing unwelcome precipitation and drenching the riders. Luckily the herd was equipped with a canopy, another of those genetic marvels.
The ride commenced at a slow pace, kind of a warming up to ensure law keepers did not rein in the herd for ignoring colors having a wavelength of 0.7 microns in the visible region. The real fun began as soon as the herd reached the great track which forms a part of the auric quadrilateral spanning across the expanse of the former diamond of the British Empire. As the broncos began rearing, we riders were pitched up a couple of feet into the air. This prevented us from catching up on our sleep, but the ride was far from boring, as the fish-eyed was amazing company, and it is thanks to her (and to a communications marvel from a former Swedish wood pulp company) that I survived the ride. Sleep finally took all of us, disturbed only by the occasional rearing bronco, and we woke up to see a beautiful dawn surrounded by clouds. This is where the real adventure started.
What had happened was that the broncos had kicked off their herder and run amok down a dirt path, which kind of resembled the surface of the moon (complete with the huge Hipparchus crater on which Tintin’s moon rocket had landed). Now each time the broncos reared, each of us were flung several feet into the air, landing a few seconds later
back on the broncos’ back, causing extreme discomfort in the dorsal parts of the anatomy.
This unexpected detour taken by the broncos wasted 14400 seconds of our time, but the scenery, whenever we got a chance to glimpse it, was superb. Clouds all around us, a mild sun and an ambient temperature. But all this was forgotten thanks to the rearing broncos. When finally we reached our destination, I was glad to alight and run home. But it definitely was an experience that will remain etched (with concentrated sulphuric acid) on my mind (and my bruised dorsal parts) for quite some time.