Sunday, December 4, 2016

Climbing Mounds


As we grow older, the more used to, the more comfortable we get with the structure, habit, schedule and the ultimate 9-5 job of life. Throw in something new for a child and they absolutely love it.  


The day is as usual for Ali. School in the morning and extra classes that run through afternoon because the exams were close. Of course, Ali didn’t feel he needed extra classes after school, but the teacher said, “We have to complete the course and only then you can give the exams.”
‘Bah,  I don’t need this nonsense’,  Ali wanted to cry out, but he held his mouth shut and listened to the boring voice of the teacher. She kept talking and talking and talking and Ali’s eyes drifted to the window, then the door, then the clock, then back to his boring teacher who still spoke in a boring voice.
All things must come to an end and that included the class. The class bell rang and Ali charged out.
He said good-bye to his friends and rushed home. That’s when life threw a surprise at him, a disaster if you will.
Ali’s home is not like the high towering buildings all around him. His home is a small house with one room. His home is not the only one on the road. There was a dozen of them lined up on the narrow road. The initial part of the road was made of red bricks, but faded into one made of tar. To Ali it didn’t matter if the road was made of bricks or tar. It was bumpy, uneven and potholed.
However, today, when Ali returned home the road was gone. It was not there. The red bricks were gone, the black tar was gone. He did not tarry and instead rushed home. He quickly undressed from his school clothes and put on something more comfortable.
“Oye! Ali”, his friend’s called him out and so he stepped out from his house. The road was gone. All  that remained was loose sand and mud. And all throughout the road lay mounds. Mounds of mud, mounds of sand, mounds of cement. “Come on!” Ali’s friend cried and sprinted forward with a large grin up the mound. Ali charged forward, determined to race his friend. Up and up his feet took him, and down and down he came. Every step in the mud threatened to make his feet vanished, but he pulled it out again. They ran up and down, up and down, up and down, the mounds on their street. Just enjoying something new, something different.

Ali’s lungs huffed and puffed pulling in oxygen and he and his friend sat down on top of the bound. Today was a good day, today was a fun day, today was different. They grinned at each other, caught up with their breath and rushed down the mound for another race.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Dying Bulb



No matter how much I try, the bulb still does not work. I have changed the bulb from big to small to tiny to huge, and it still does not seem to make difference. The bulb still switches off when it is not supposed to.

The switch ensures that the circuit is completely connected and even then the bulb doesn’t switch Perhaps these bulbs truly have a life of their own as my Uncle used to say. on. Maybe even electricity seem to have a life of its own. What do you think?

Oh, I guess you don’t even know which light bulb I’m talking about. It’s the bathroom light bulb. Can you see the problem here? Of course, you can’t - let me tell you.
Imagine you’re bathing, or you’re brushing your teeth or you’re taking a dump – either ways you’re doing something in the bathroom. The bathroom window is a tiny square that hardly lets in any sun rays, so you’re completely dependent on the bulb, because if it’s not there, it’s dark; pitch dark enough for you to slip and fall on a soap piece (that’s a story for another day).

So this bulb, it keeps switching off when I’m in the bathroom. One moment I’m in the bathroom doing what I‘m doing, doing what you in the bathroom. And, the next thing – I’m trying to figure is what the heck’s happening in the dark, because you know, it’s suddenly dark now and the bulb is not working.

Every single time I silently let out a curse – Goddamn bulb! Predictably, it does nothing to improve the situation on hand.

But, you can never really give up on things like this. To give up, means to accept randomly surviving in the darkness of that bathroom when the bulb’s life goes off. So I decided to try something else.

There’s a mop lying in the bathroom. I’m supposed to wipe the water on the floor after a bath so it dries off quicker. The next time the bulb dies off, I pick up that mop and jam it into the bulb. Off course, I don’t push it hard enough to crack the bulb.

And... CONTACT!

The bulb is on.

What do you think of that?

Fucking brilliance of it!

Sometimes, you just gotta try something different and something absurd and something random.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Call from Mom



The morning sun rained down heat and light through the window. I just wanted to wrap myself up and go to sleep. I didn’t want to face the day today. I kinda of knew what was going to happen and I wanted to avoid it. There was a hollowness in my heart, and nothing, and no one could fill that. 

The best thing I could do was get up and dive into work. So, that’s what I did. I rolled off my bed and started getting ready for work. My father was already awake. He sullen and silent as he read the paper. An early retirement meant that he had no work to go to. A quick breakfast later and I mutter a goodbye as I left home. 

I saw the sorry and pity looks that were directed towards me. Some even offered sympathy. Everything was a dream. I sat at my desk and dived into work. 

It seemed like time and work could not even last forever and I had to return home. Even though dad was there, it felt empty. 

“Your mother called today”, my father said. 

That was not possible, but I understood where my father was coming from, at least I thought I understood where he was coming from. 

I just nodded again and acknowledged my father’s statement. 
***
I returned from work again. My father still had a sullen look on his face. As days passed, his face looked more sunken too. “Your mother called”, he said. 

This again, I decided to go along. “What did she say?” 

“Nothing”. 

I nodded my head in acknowledgement.  

I would give anything to meet my mother. Those were my last thoughts before I went to sleep. 
***
“Your mother talks to me sometimes over the phone. She said that she loves you very much.”

“I know dad, you don’t have to tell me. I love mom too, no matter what.” 

He stared at me for a moment, before burying his head in a novel. 
***
It was a Sunday, so I was lazing at home. Father was asleep, afternoon nap. His phone began ringing. I looked at the screen. The impossible was happening, ‘Sharon’, my mother’s name flashed on the screen. 

Curiously, I picked up the called. 

“Mom….” I glanced around, my father was not in sight, “Mom, mom”, I spoke inside the speaker. 

I wanted to hear her voice. “I’ve not heard your voice for long, Mom”. 

The eternal silence. 

“You know I’ve been missing you too mom”. 

“Works been fine. They’ve given more responsibility than before.” 

“Yes, yes, I’ll ask them for a raise.” 

The conversation went on and on, from work to friends to life.

Finally, I put the phone down. 

My dad had woken up from his afternoon nap. “Who was that?” 

“Mom”, I answered. 

You know what the funny part was? My mother was dead. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Flooded Battle



A war consists of many, many battles. There are critical battles that play a deciding factor in whether a war is won or lost. During that 1965 war between India and Pakistan, there were many battles that were fought but none like the Battle of Asal Uttar.
The 1965 war featured a battle on the border of the two countries. Immense military resource were mobilized and each country dedicated massive resources at a single point to gain a breakthrough in the defensive line of the enemy. A simple and effective strategy to winning the war.
***
Tanks rolled from the Pakistan border and crossed virtually unopposed into the Indian territory. In another 20 minutes, they would come across the first Indian town and that’s where they expected the first wave of resistance.
Amir kept his foot steadily pressed on the pedal and the Patton tank rolled forward. The Patton tank was the world’s foremost tank that proved its mettle during World War II. As of this moment, a mighty force of five tank regiments and one infantry regiment were moving through the open land towards their first objective, Asal Uttar. It gave Amir and his comrades confidence that any meager Indian military force stationed there would not have the power to stop over their 200 Patton tanks.
“Stop”, the commander standing on top of the hatch called out. “Khem Karan is in sight”. It was the village before Asal Uttar.
The scrapping of boots could be heard as the infantry soldiers on top of the tank alighted off.
Amir could hear the rumbling of the tank as they rolled towards the village. He thanked Allah that he was not part of the advance unit. They would be the first one to be shot down, through which the Indian military would reveal their position. Then all the regiments had to was rush forward and shoot at the Indian tanks and any anti-tank guns that lay hidden in the town. Their tanks won’t be able to withstand a frontal shot from the 90 mm gun of the Patton tank.
For the next 10 minutes the whole atmosphere was just silent, only the rumbles of Patton tanks could be heard. Amir sat, waiting for the wave of attack from the Indians at the advance unit ahead. His foot was already poised on top of the pedal, waiting to jam it down, charge ahead and break through the Indian defense line.
***
Two hundred Patton tanks were on their way, the information was passed on to every Indian soldier. It would be a battle like 300 warriors against thousand Persians.  
Centurion tanks, battle tested British tanks, were snuggly hidden from view, waiting for the enemy to attack. Battles were decided on numbers and strengthen and right now, the Indian side lacked both.
Against, five tank regiments, the sparse three tank regiments of India had no chance in open battle. Two of the regiments were of older and lighter tanks - the Sherman and AMX tanks. Only a Centurion tank was formidable enough to stand against them and Avinash sat in one. His eyes were pressed into the scope, waiting for the enemy to appear before him.
Khem Karan was completely abandoned and the enemy had taken it. Civilians were already evacuated to behind the defensive line of the town, Asal Uttar. And now, the only thing that stood between Asal Uttar and the enemy were three tank regiments.
All the Indian tanks were well hidden among the thick sugarcane fields. Sugarcane sticks were roped on the tank’s hull, while the tank’s tracks were hidden by another barricade of sugarcanes.
Avinash and the rest of his comrades in the tank took in the silence and the stress. Like him, they didn’t know if the strategy would work. Horseshoe, all the 135 tanks had formed a horseshoe. That’s how they were going to defeat a force superior in strength and quality. A ‘semi-circular tactic’ to surround the enemy.
Then, the enemy came, the rumbling of the Patton tanks. Sugarcanes was crushed as the Pattons streamrolled on them and then, their swift pace turned into a crawl. The Patton chugged into view with half their tracks sunk into soil, severely affecting their mobility. What the enemy did not expect was the soil to be waterlogged, making it extremely difficult for tank tracks to trudge through.  
“Wait for them”, the unit commander’s voice whispered through the radio. The 105 mm gave them an advantage over the Pattons. They struggled forward, completely unaware of the horseshoe of tanks around them.
“Now”, the whisper thundered from the radio. In unison, the Indian tanks roared out. The frontal unit of Patton tanks blew up into a blaze of fire. Confused and without having time to think in the heat of battle, the Pakistan army did what it only could. It poured more tanks forward. Their numbers were irrelevant as they got bogged down in the mud. The horseshoe trap around them ensured that each and every frontal tank was destroyed. Patton tanks that did try to reverse back found it impossible with the tracks stuck in the soil.
That is not to say, the battle was a cake walk. A tank next to Avinash exploded into metal bits and flames. The terrifying cries of dying comrades could be heard. A shell bounced off from the sloped armour. The Pakistani infantry soldiers that poured into the field were cut down by the machine guns from the Indian tanks.

At the end of the day, the Patton tanks that survived were bogged down in the flooded sugarcane field and were forced to surrender. Pakistan lost 97 of their tanks, India lost only 10.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Unfair or just Lucky?


I put down my bag and take a seat. It’s freaking hot outside. Thankfully, the cool air from the office air conditioner is on full blast and it takes a whole minute for my body to really feel the coolness of the office. At the press of a button, my laptop is switching on.
The first thing I did was check my email, just another day at the office.
Any clients screaming at me? Did I mess up any work? Oh, what’s this?
The pointer moves on the screen and the new mail is opened.
What’s this….
“40,000”, I read. More a moment I was taken aback. So I read it again.
“40,000”.
Damn, it sounds the same.
I get up from my seat and head over the boss’s office. Everyone is already engrossed in their work.
“Did you just give me a raise?” I asked.
She quickly nodded her and went back to her phone.
It was the start of a new month, so I expect my salary slip, but not an increment.
Was that luck? Was that fair?
***
My feet are moving swiftly. I didn’t go to office. You shouldn’t go to office, if you’re sick, so I didn’t go to office. The illness is upon me.
Oh shit.
I’m sitting on the throne in the toilet.
Do. Not. Imagine. This.
Shit happens, literally.
Bad loose motions can have a terrible effect on a person and I had the bad kind.
Did I eat something? That’s can’t be, don’t remember.
Am I unlucky? Is this fair to me? I did nothing to deserve this. I drop another load.
It’s not pleasant.
I did nothing to deserve this.
***
Death hides behinds the clouds and when no one is looking, it swoops in and kills someone.
His father, brother and some other close cousins are carrying a coffin to the graveyard.
What did my friend do? The fool was stupid enough not wear a helmet while riding his motorcycle. Now he’s dead.
The coffin was lowered into the grave.
Hundreds of people ride in the city without their helmets, they try riskier things, they even come closer to death. I, we, his family, friends, we are not burying a single one 'them', we’re burying my friend, the safest rider I’ve known, except he never wore a helmet.
Fair? Unfair? Lucky? Unlucky?
Why did God allow this?
I didn’t know.
The only thing I can do is keeping moving forward. Luck, fair unfair, unlucky… who the fuck knows – just. keep. moving. forward.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rats on the Track



Long and tall creatures with four arms, that’s what I saw. They were standing on a high and long platform. All looking out and staring into the infinity beyond, I wouldn’t know. My world was down here.  Stone pebbles all around, stone pillars stuck in the ground and two shinny bars stretched on the stone pillar. Food, that’s what I came up for. Using my short limbs and claws, I navigated the rough, unstable pebbles, but they were loose so my claws did not get caught in them.
In the middle of this abyss lay a piece of bread.
Food!
Immediately, I scrambled on to the stone pillar where my claws scraped on top of it, then, contracting my muscles, I leaped across the bar. It was a quick scrambled as I sprinted to the piece of bread, dug my teeth in and dragged the piece back.
Once again, my muscles contracted and I jumped across. The food was savoured in my mouth. I was rushing across, taking the bread piece with me. That’s when my obstacle jumped across from the other side and blocked the way. It was another rat, slightly bigger than me. The long creatures on top were shuffling on their feet.
From infinity the rolling box will come, I need to go back in my hole!
I charged forward only to see him raise up his claws. Claws sharp enough to dig into my face and rip it off. I stopped. My peripheral vision told me those long creatures were getting agitated, coming closer to the edge of the platform. The rolling box is coming.
In my obstacles eye, I could see the desperation and hunger that I’ve seen so many times.
We’re all caught in a rat race. A never ending one just trying to eat every day. What do I do now?
The pebbles were rumbling, the rolling box was far way. It was not that I would crush a rat. Those vibrations were not meant for a rat’s body to bear.  
The rolling box came into my peripheral vision. The vibration and rumblings were getting stronger. My bones could feel it.
There was not much I could, I threw the bread piece and rushed for the hole as the rat went for the bread.
Even underneath I could feel the vibrations. How long it lasted as I huddled and protected myself.
Then, I emerged. The rat, my obstacle, was dying, cut in two by the rolling box. There was nothing to do, I picked up the bread piece and went back to the hole.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Four Feet, one pair of Skates



There were two kids who lived on this earth. There is nothing unique about them. Their home is just near the road. There is the road, there the footpath pavement, then there is a wall preventing people from crossing over the train tracks. For these two kids, their home is beyond those walks. Tin roofs, tin walls and a one room home; around 50 such houses or more, all just settle meters away from the track.
Both of them were playing and running through the gullies. They got back from school some time ago. Their mothers were up and about the place. One was inside the colony visiting a neighbour, while another one was out buying groceries.
To their pleasant surprise, one of their fathers returned home early. “I got a gift for you”, he said. He sat down on the floor.
“What is it! What is it!” the son cried out with enthusiasm, enjoying the suspense.
“Get my bag”, the father said.
So the son did. He felt the bag was heavy and he gave it shake, but he couldn’t guess what it was. The father grabbed his bag from his son’s hand. He tugged open the zip and his arm went completely inside. His son dare not blink. Out came shoes with four wheels. It was not a typical pair of cloth shoes. It was a shoes of metal with a cloth strap and four large wheels underneath.
The father began explaining, “These are…. skates, they-”.
 “Off course!” the son cut him off and grabbed the skates. He’d seen those children on the other side the road, in their large compound, move around on them. How he always wanted one.
He rushed out where his friend was waiting and together they went out on the street. The pavement was too uneven to ride roller skates. The boy began strapping on his skates with joy, only to suddenly realise that his friend was sitting next to him on the payment.
With a heavy heart, the boy decided to hand over the one skate to his friend. “We’ll both skate!” he said.
So together, they move on the side of the road. One foot kicked the ground, while the other rolled on wheels. Suffice to say, both of them tried to race each other on with a single pair of skates. Oh, and they fell down quite a few times too because races can get exciting but make for a terrible combination with an uneven street.
The boy was glad that he was skating only on one foot.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Location Matters




Location, location, location – location can break or make business.  Panil knew that and he was not about to start a failed business by selecting the wrong location. New Link Road, which was not Link Road, held certain advantages. Cost was one, the store that he rented out here was not as expensive as the one on Link Road. New Link Road was still to come up, that’s why it probably made the first year rent cost an actual steal.
Two, buildings as high as 30 floors were towering the sky there and his shop was one of them. Behind those buildings were steel slums houses that stretched across an expanse. Come next year, they won’t be there. Their land will be barren with more construction of high rise buildings. Panil could see it, the future where all the residents from those buildings would come to his grocery store. There would be a growth spurt in New Link Road, and his grocery store was at the heart of it. The first shop to set up shop.
At the end of every day, Panil was tempted to sleep in the store, but home was much better choice, so he went back to Mira Road. He would be back by 5 o’clock in the morning to make sure he caught the earlier risers, joggers and buyers.
All in all, Panil had the ultimate business plan, it all hinged on the brilliance of a good and developing location.
That’s why Panil’s plan failed.
He lazed in his shop with products on his shelf that have not been replaced for the past two months. Biscuits, chips, chocolates and other groceries all gathered dust on his shelves. Panil could not even afford to hire a shop boy to help him manage the store.
The two buildings that provided over 100 homes together had just a skeleton number of residences. Just like every other day, Panil cursed those slum dwellers. Their protests destroyed his dreams, only if they went away from there quietly and let the high rise world be built. But, that was not the end of his trouble, there was talk of construction violations and that this building may be even broken down along with his shop. 
Panil closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep. Just like every other day no one would come to his shop.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Coloured Perception





“Don’t trust those neighbours”, my mother yelled out as she picked up the newspaper that was left outside by the delivery man. I looked outside with my beady eyes, I knew who she was talking about. Our lane was a small one with several bungalows on either side.
The untrustworthy neighbours were the ones who occupied the last bungalow at the end of the lane. At first, I never knew why my mother said that those neighbours couldn’t be trusted. Then, one day the newspaper was not outside our home like it usually was. Immediately, my mother declared that those neighbours had robbed it.
When I was small, I never saw the neighbours. It was only when my legs grew longer that I was tall enough to peek out the window and to notice the world outside. Old man Raju always left for his early morning walk, Sanchita left for work sometime after that, Ajay, Raveer, Sameer and others left for school in the afternoon. When those neighbours from the last bungalow left the lane, mother always grunted out, twisted her face and looked at each one of them with unforgiving eyes.
I grew bigger and soon enough I was running out on the lane. Mother loved a stray cat that she fed milk and food every day. Then it stopped coming. I found it near the wall of the last bungalow. My feet took me sprinting as fast as possible to my mother. She came running and picked up the dead body of the cat. She demanded my father to take the dead cat and nail it to their door. As always, he responded with silence and a shoulder shrug. “Coward”, that’s what she kept calling as she rummaged through his tool box. I didn’t know what it meant at that time. She marched to the last bungalow with a hammer, a nail and a dead cat. I don’t know what happened, father didn’t let me out, but I heard screaming. The vision of my mother’s unforgiving looking came to me.
When I grew older my mother told me, “They can’t be trusted, they filed a case against your grandfather and put him jail. That’s the reason why I grew up without a father.” I wondered who these cruel people were at the end of my bungalow lane, but I could never know because I knew my mother would never forgive me.
Outside the lane, we had a growing problem of stray dogs. One day I was returning home from college on my bicycle. A small boy was fighting against the dogs that violently snapped, bit and tore his clothes. I slowed down to pick a stone and chase away the dogs. Then, I saw who the boy was - the neighbour in the last bungalow who put my great grandfather in jail. I dropped the stone from my hand and I let him be.
Don’t judge me, my perception was coloured…
Or, judge me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Conformer



It’s a classroom. Everyone is talking, the children are yapping away. Philip was talking too. The teacher entered the classroom and everyone fell silent. Maybe Philip didn’t see the teacher walk in, or maybe he didn’t realise that you’re not supposed to talk when the teacher walks in. Either way, Philip continued to talk. He found it odd that his listener, all of a sudden, went stiff and looked dead straight and away from him. Philip did find it odd. It was then he noticed that the classroom was dead silent.
Philip looked up, the teacher stood above him. “Show your hand!” she commanded, “Show your hand.” The wooden ruler was lifted up and struck down. “Be happy she didn’t use the metal ruler”, his listener said as the teacher moved to the front of the classroom.
“Good morning, children”, the teacher announced.
“Good morning” all the children chimed in together, Philip added his voice with everyone else’s just because they were all saying it.
***
They were all meeting after a long time. With the constant pressure of work and a so-called professional life, gatherings like these were rare. Philip was glad to be here. A gathering of friends who hadn’t met in a month or longer, Philip couldn’t remember.
They’re all talking; talking about the past, the present and future. There is so much talk about on what each other are doing now. A few friends have surprising news. The conversation moves on to salary.
“I’m earning 20K”
“I’m earning 18K”
“I’m earning 20K”
So and so forth, each of them gave their salary rate that was around the same figure.
Philip’s turn came and he wanted to tell them that, he just started working, he just started this job and it would be impossible for him to earn so much. Yet, it was happening so fast, he didn’t have a chance – “Of course, I’m earning 18K”.
They all nodded their heads gleefully and laughed. They all must be doing something right if they are earning that much.
***
For whatever reasons, Philip had long ago lost faith in religion. Religion was a pointless way to connect and worship God according to him. Yet, here he was in the church. A familiar tune was being played on the piano. He looked behind to see the massive crowd standing up and everyone waiting for the bride to walk through.
When he had announced his marriage to his family, there had been no question of it, that yes off course he had to have his marriage in the church. There was no chance to protest, this sense of taking his beliefs for granted was so powerful, Philip could not fight against it. He could only conform.
***
Life had passed him by and now death stared him in the face. Philip could feel it, his body had aged, become frail and now was dying.
As death approached, of the many thoughts of his children, his wife, his friends, his family, there was one thought that dominated his mind, I am conformer. There were so many things he wanted to do and so many things he didn’t want to do, yet Philip failed to fight against the powerful and hell bent force of society. He sighed to himself, what a hopeless thought, to be part of society, you have to conform.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bertha Benz and her Cross country drive

The engine trudge on the cobbled road meant for horses, the speed wasn’t magnificent, but it was surprising for a working engine… in fact, it got heads turning, noted Bertha Benz. That’s exactly what she wanted. Richard and Eugen, her sons sitting at the back glared, waved and made all kinds of faces at people who were shocked by the machine.
The first of its kind, the motorwagen steadily rolled across the street. Bertha’s hands clutched the wheel. Driving from Mannheim to her mother’s in Pforzheim was a 106 km journey. Setting out early in the morning, even before Karl Benz could get up, her children were sleepy at first. Now the sun had completely risen up in the sky and her children were completely quite wide awake.
Nervousness and excitement, that what’s she felt. Bertha wanted her husband to be here, but Karl was too timid, he was even afraid of the test drives. The idea of a cross-country would drive him with worry. “Non รจ disposto (It’s not ready)!” that’s what he would say.
With a maximum speed of 10 kilometers per hour, it was hardly fast, a horse carriage could easily overtake it, but the motorwagen was faster than any human striding on their two legs. A cobbled road meant for horses was bumpy and filled with jutting stones and open holes. However, Bertha managed to avoid them since the motorwagen was trudging at a steady pace.
When the engine grumbled, the first worry struck her. The fuel was running low, they were far off from the city of Mannheim and yet to reach Pforzheim. Luckily, a store appeared on the lone road. ‘La Farmacia’, it read, ‘Pharmacy’. The motorwagen stopped and she hurried inside. One must understand that petrol was not there that time. She got her hands on ligroin, a petroleum solvent, that was poured into the engine using a funnel.
The day progressed forward, the sun was directly above them, her children had grown silent. That’s when a loud snapping sound rang out. A quick check revealed that the chain had snapped. No matter, the motorwagen could still run, she just had to be careful.
The motorwagen turned heads again when they passed through a small town. Pulling off her gloves, she removed the broken chain, got it repaired, snapped it back in place and ensured it was well oiled. That’s when another problem occurred, the engine wouldn’t start. By this time, a crowd had appeared. Questions were asked, but Bertha was too engrossed to reply. Richard and Eugen gave the answers, one or two of them from the crowd seemed to be reporters who were busy scribbling down notes.
She twisted the ignition engine and it refused to start. She did so again. Her sons peered on and so did the crowd. It was a slow process of glancing at the engine, checking the parts were alright and then attempting it again. The engine refused to start. It was only when half hour passed that Bertha realised that the ignition coil was burnt completely. For five to ten minutes, she stood thinking on the problem. The crowd had already dispersed, giving up on it as another failed device. Then, it struck her. Bertha without embarrassingly  pulled down her thong, tore it a bit and pulled out a wire. Within ten minutes she fixed the problem.
Once again, they were on their way, leaving the town. Heads turned and surprised looks appeared on them. The wheeled machine that looked like another failure was running. News spread.
The closer they were to Pforzheim, the longer the motorwagen ran and the higher the chance of a problem occurring.
The third problem finally revealed itself and once again, the first cross country driver and perhaps the world’s first driver used her resourcefulness to clean the fuel line that got clogged. Her hairpin was used to give it a good clean and get the engine started again. The fourth and finally problem resulted in Bertha designing the world’s first brake pads from a local cobbler when the wooden one broke.
By the time they entered Pforzheim, a crowd had gathered at the entrance. Reporters and people mobbed her. The first thing Bertha did was send Richard to the telegraph to send a message to Karl that they had reached. He would be sick with worry wondering if car worked, and if they were safe.
Then, she began answering the questions from the reporters. “Yes, there was finally a working motorwagen in the world and I have driven it”.