Ravi Jay: cookieMaster + blindteddybear + Dj aaRJay

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A London Christmas Miracle

Imagine that feeling you get when you think you are incredibly unlucky -- all those random incidents which when combined together makes you feel very unlucky indeed? 

I cannot even begin to voice my disappointment when I realized that my laptop had crashed on Dec 24, 2010. The bugger had been my best bud for the best part of three years. Vodka, Cider, Beer, Jamesons -- nothing could take him down -- and I do not even know why Windows is failing to start. I am sure it is not a hardware issue as my little champ has stood through the test of time and a LOT of alcohol that were accidentally poured. 

I put that behind me and started enjoying a nice Christmas dinner with a few friends and what started as 'would have been an early night' soon turned into a long night. Trouble was, a friend of mine had a flight to catch at 12:30 in the afternoon on Christmas day. It is well known fact that there is no public transport on Christmas day and so we had planned for another friend to drive us there. Problem was that he was also a part of the Looooong night.


At 9AM, I was the only man standing (I had passed out very early; hence glorifying my tag of 'Blitz'; and woken up at 5 to enjoy the last bits of the party after missing the core of it) and that was a big problem as I do not have a driving license in the UK.

Mission resuscitate the traveler and driver came into force. After an hour of struggle, both guys were up and ready to drive to Heathrow. Since there was no time to change clothes, we all stank of wine and Champagne. It is 17 miles to the airport when we left. On the way, we realized that we had taken the Motor way which meant that we would now have to drive 36 miles to get to Heathrow. To top it, the passenger had a sudden realization that the flight was not at 12:30 -- it was at 12:05.

Incredible.

It was 11:10 when the mini pulled into Heathrow parking lot. After 5 minutes of frantic search for Terminal 1, we found where my friend had to check in. Ignoring the question of the pleasant lady about whether we had a loooong night out (it was a redundant question as my hair alone bore testament to the night we had) was easy; but it was difficult to get the guy across the counter to issue the boarding pass.

In the end, the ticket was issued and all was well.

I heaved a sigh of relief, hugged my friend and went back to my cripple friend who was driving the Mini. It was time to go back. Someone had raised the question of gas -- but it was quickly shrugged of with the mention of a short trip back to Hendon (17 miles).

I got a text from my friend who had just left thanking us for the awesome adventure that we had getting to the Airport on time. Little did he knew (we did not know either) that the adventure was only beginning.

A familiar feeling came back to the two of us inside the Mini when we realized that we were back on M25 and had 36 miles to drive before we got back to Hendon.

Isn't that just dandy?

No.

As true as 1+1=2, the Mini ran out of gas in the Motor way and we were well and truly stranded on the Motorway M25 in god knew where. Panic set. 

-Sweat drop-

We could not call SOS as they would clearly consider our stupor as drunken driving (even though we were not under influence at that point --- the clothes stunk though) and we would be put away on Christmas day. At that point, we were hoping that the cops and highway patrol were home having Christmas breakfast -- after all, every one deserves to be with family on Christmas day, right ... right, guys?

Sigh.


We got out of the Mini and walked by the Motorway (inside the yellow line) after seeing that in 0.5 miles, there was an exit to the Motorway. Our hopes were soon tarnished as the yellow lines tangent-ed inward closing down the gap we could walk on. 
My friend wore an angry face and swore in a language that I did not understand. Thank god for that.
Ravi Jay; Karlis Albergs, M25, Christmas Miracle, British Open Classic
AAaargghhh!! Where is the Gas station??
Just when I started feeling that all hope was lost and that I would spend Christmas day counting bars in a precinct, we spotted a canal down the motor way that looked like it had a small off road at the end of it. Having no other options, we slid down -- oh did I mention that my friend (the driver) is a cripple? It was painful to watch him slide down the slope and make it through the side and inside of the Canal. I followed him asking myself why I had shoes instead of boots. I was sure all the snow inside my shoe and sock were numbing my leg to a point where I felt no pain. It was pure bliss -- not feeling my leg. Or NOT.


Anyway, we made it across the small canal and the duct way. To my amazement, my friend who is 194 cms tall climbed inside of the barb-wired fence to the off-road. I could barely get through it -- and that too because he had kept the fence lines separate when I was getting through them.

SuperCool.


Now, all that we had to do was to find a filling station. We looked to both sides of the road. There was nothing to be seen. To be honest, it looked like a road which was not frequented by a lot of vehicles.

AWESOME! Right?


No.


Our hopes were freezing but just like a caffeine kick, we heard the sound of a car approaching. My friend tried to wave at the incoming car. The driver threw his hands up in the air as if to indicate that he can't help. I quite did not understand why the car did not stop. Then, I looked at my friend and I.

A really TALL, big Eastern European cripple wearing a mean Russian hat and holding a Petrol can standing alongside an Indian guy. Would you stop your car to take us in? --- given that our clothes were not exactly good -- and we stunk.

We were slowly taking in the fact. We were either going to die in the cold or going to get arrested. A few more cars zipped past --- a few hands were thrown up in the air -- we did not count how many cars went past. I was getting desperate. When I saw a van approaching, I put my hands together as if I was praying for them to stop and help the petrol can in the air to indicate that I was desperate.

And then, the unbelievable happened. The Van stopped! A man came out of the driver's seat and slid open the side door. Images of serial killers I had seen in hollywood movies flashed in front of my eyes. 

I said to myself "You know what, I am going to die anyway -- if some serial killer gets a bit of happiness by killing me, let him have it. It is Christmas after all." Both of us got into the back of the van.


Ravi Jay; Karlis Albergs, M25, Christmas Miracle, British Open Classic, saviours, Hannibal Lecter
Inside of the van
To be honest, the inside of the van was not well lit and I was reminded of Hannibal Lecter's workshop. The van started moving and my cripple friend started talking to the driver and his travel partner. It turned out that it was a father and son on their way somewhere. 

We told them about what had happened and how it would have been really bad if they had not come by. To use the words used by the 'Son', "We would have been buggered." Yeah, I was sure of that -- and some more. For sure.

Ravi Jay; Karlis Albergs, M25, Christmas Miracle, British Open Classic,saviours, van, hopeful
Looking on with hope
The drive was rather long. They took us to a BP filling station where there was also an M&S store. I felt like I was home already -- but the work was only half way done. I waited with the guys after filling gas into the petrol can while my friend paid inside M&S and brought back a bottle of Port Wine for our saviours.

After driving for another 20 minutes, the van took us back to the Motorway where the Mini was parked. I am sure that they had to drive for at least 20 miles to get us back on the motor way. What was worse for them was that they were on the wrong side of the motor way -- which meant that they had a Loooooong drive to get back to the right side and then drive back all that way.

All that trouble for what? For who? Surely, they could have just thrown up their hands like all the people in the nicer cars who had gone in front of us before they came along.

I call them our Christmas Angels. I do not know their name or where they came from. All I know is that the 'father' said to me "I know you would do the same for me." I felt a tear freezing in my cheek when I hugged him and waved good bye.
Ravi Jay; Karlis Albergs, M25, Christmas Miracle, British Open Classic, saviours, Christmas Angels,Uxbridge, Delta rescues
Christmas Angels
They left after we were able to get the Mini started. Two normal people, two genuine people -- restored my faith in Humanity's goodness. I have never had a more Christmasy Christmas EVER before.
All the bad luck that I felt had befallen me on the day before; looked like a joke after I was incredibly lucky to get saved by two strangers from Uxbridge. So, on balance, I think I am lucky.
It is all a matter of perspective -- but I think I am incredibly lucky and blessed to  have gotten help the way I did on Christmas day.

I thank the good samaritans who saved my friend and I on Christmas Day. If anyone knows them, please let me know. I would really like to express my gratitude in some way.  (Unfortunately, those are the only pictures I have of them)

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