Away from the cacophony of city life, the village offered Todd a perfect environment to relax and unwind. Chirping birds, ruffling leaves, humming insects and Mooing cows were like music to his ears. Despite his busy court schedule, Todd never missed an opportunity to visit his wife’s home at Idagundi on the Western Ghats. In addition to the delicious food in the offing, Todd thoroughly enjoyed the long walks in the company of his dog, Susie, a black-brown, majestic and intelligent German Shepherd, his guide in the wilderness. The fatigue from the long bumpy ride, previous night, vanished as soon as Todd got off the car and felt the cool mountain air.
After a sumptuous breakfast that cloudy morning, Todd decided to take a short stroll into the forest by himself. Having gone to the Vet with Susie, his wife was not expected for an hour and Todd was afraid that if it started raining, the heavy downpour would confine him to the house. Picking his walking cane, quickly wearing his newly acquired Nike sneakers, planning his journey into the wilderness, Todd slowly walked out. Navigating his way through the city was quite easy for Todd, he had specific sign posts in the form of road humps, side walks and clear edges to the road. But the village with winding mud roads, no walk ways, thick foliage and grass cover, was a different ball game. Despite the imposing challenges, Todd’s adventurous instincts took over and he decided to take the walk, all alone.
“The key is to remember the turns and distance between them,” Todd told himself as his cane touched the grass and he took the first right turn. After two rights and a left, Todd could feel the thick plant cover of the forest take over. The sound of nature and the smell of wilderness transported him to a state of bliss. He paused every few steps to out stretch his arms and enjoy the cool soothing breeze. After half an hour of rejuvenation, Todd was contemplating on heading back when a huge drop of water fell on his temple. A heavy downpour followed and Todd knew that he had no choice but to return home to save himself from the deadly snakes that would start venturing out. “Go straight for twenty feet and take a right”, he told himself as he turned around and started running, waving his cane in quick arches. The depth of flooding water was up to his ankle in no time and he could barely touch the ground with his cane. At what he thought was the turning point, Todd swerved to the right and fell backwards, his head ramming into a low lying branch. Holding his bleeding nose, Todd slowly struggled to his feet, staggering under the influence of bone crushing pain.
“This is bad”, Todd uttered bending over and groping for his cane in the water. Within a minute, he concluded from the force of the flow that his light weight, highly prized carbon cane was gone with the water. “What now?” he thought aloud, holding the wood that struck him. Drenched from head to toe, fast increasing force of rain, probably a broken bone and cane off limits, Todd quickly considered his options.
Helpless and lost, Todd did what any person would do under the circumstances, he cried as loudly as he could for help. He knew that the blanket of pouring water around him was too thick to carry his noise far enough but nevertheless kept shouting. Following twenty minutes of effort, realizing that his sound strategy was not working, Todd broke a thin branch from the tree he was holding and moved in what he felt was the direction of the house, whistling to calm his nerves, using the branch as his walking stick.
Susie was in the car, one kilometer from home, when the whistle reached her. She knew from the sound that Todd was in trouble and started barking uncontrollably. Jumping off the car as soon as the car halted, Susie, ran in the direction of the sound. Todd was checking out a thorny bush with his walking stick when Susie reached him. Barking at the top of his voice, Susie pounced on Todd, showing expression of extreme joy. Todd was thrilled to meet Susie. “Thanks a lot for coming to my rescue”, he said, trying to embrace and pat her at the same time. He then walked home with Susie, holding her back with one hand and walking stick in the other. Susie took Todd through his rugged path through the woods but Todd did not complain. He just wanted to get to the warmth of his home and have a cup of his wife’s delicious hot coffee.