‘Hello..Rahul here. I’m coming there tonight.’ He said
Rahul, my childhood friend called me and announced his arrival. This is so Rahul ,he does not ask ‘How are you or Can I come?’
Rahul was from my hometown and my school mate. Post schooling he decided that colleges are not smart enough for him and joined as an assistant to a scientist. Soon after that his parents passed away and he started staying in the scientist house.
He calls me infrequently and updates me of the project they are working on. My kid is in awe of him as he teaches several scientific tricks which are a huge hit in school. That evening when I was informing my wife about Rahul , the door bell rang.
There he was dressed in a jean and black T shirt searching for something in backpack.
‘Do you have something to eat?’ he asked. A wave of sympathy swept me. What happened to him? Did he lose his purse or something?
‘Of course, come in please’ I said before my wife could reply. Rahul and my wife don’t get along. To be specific Rahul doesn’t get along with any adults other than me and the scientist.
Rahul looked at the dining table and said ‘You don’t understand. I’m in a hurry…’ he came forward and took the hot-pot in his hand.
That moment my kid who was playing outside rushed into the house, ‘Rahul uncle..Is that machine outside yours?It’s making a weird noise’ he said.
‘That’s what I’m trying to fix.’ Rahul went outside my house with the hot box. By then a loud noise emanated outside. We too stepped outside to have a look at the machine my kid is pointing to.
To our surprise Rahul opened the machine and dumped the contents of hot box inside.
‘He has thrown away Roti and channa I made.’ I could see my wife was gritting her teeth.
‘What’s this Rahul? What have you done?’ I asked seeking an explanation. Few of my neighbors were now standing outside.
‘I’ll explain. Can I park this near the garden? ‘ he sat on it and it started moving forward like a normal two wheeler albeit slow.
‘This is Garuda.’ He said pointing to the vehicle. ‘This is going to be the world’s first machine fueled by human food. He gets hungry just like us and when he is hungry that alarm starts ringing ascending the volume every two minutes.’ He patted the vehicle as if it’s a real person.
‘I’m sorry for using your dinner. I haven’t experimented Garuda with outside food. Shall we go out for Pizza?’ he asked my wife.
From my wife’s expression it was clear that she is as confused as me. Over the dinner Rahul explained that they were working on it for the last one year and he is in the town to get few items necessary for the machine. My mobile beeped and I knew it’s from my wife sitting next to me!
‘Ask him how he is going to feed the machine. I’m not going to cook for it’ the message said.
‘I’m planning to rent a house in this area and cook for Garuda. My experiment would take few months. Any leads on finding a house. I need a house with garage or garden area where I can work on Garuda.’ He asked innocently.
‘Not sure. Rent in this area are pretty high..’ my wife replied hastily.
‘I’m ready to pay upto 20,000 for a single bedroom house. All I need is a garage.’ He said biting a slice of pizza.
My wife gave me a puzzled expression.
‘Daddy why don’t we rent our house upstairs to Rahul uncle?’ my kid suggested in a loud voice. Trust on kids to spell out things like this!
I was absolutely mortified when he asked ‘Wait. Is your house upstairs empty?’
‘It has been empty for last three months. You can use the garden area to work on the machine. Would you let me take it to my school. It would be so cool.’ My boy asked.
Rahul searched for something in his backpack and before I knew ,he was writing a cheque for me. ‘Ten months advance right? Whose name should I make the cheque to?’ he asked.
I could see my wife was happy with the advance cheque payment. When we returned back to house , again crowd has gathered on the street.
‘Oh. Garuda is asking for water.’ Rahul rushed to it and poured a bottle of water inside.
It took us sometime to explain the people about Garuda. Rahul decided to stay in our portion till the house upstairs is cleaned.
’ I will get that portion cleaned by tomorrow noon’ my wife said.
Our sleep next morning was disturbed by a noise which was familar to us.
‘ That machine.. I think it’s hungry. Wake up your friend.’ My wife shouted. Rahul who had locked the room didn’t wake up by our loud banging on the door.
‘Do something to stop that noise. If any of the neighbors hear it they will start fighting with us.’ My wife hissed.
That’s when milkman came. I grabbed a packet from him and poured into Garuda and then the noise stopped.
‘Well wake up your friend before that damn thing makes noise again. I will sort out the cleaning in an hour.’ My wife said. She was clearly annoyed.
Rahul woke up shortly after the episode. Looking at the time he rushed to near by stores to get fruits.
‘Garuda eats fruits well’ he said proudly.
By then his portion was cleaned. Rahul borrowed induction stove and utensils from us. Thankfully he cooked for the machine and we couldn’t hear the noise from Garuda again.
That night when we were having dinner Rahul called again.
‘I came out to get some part for Garuda and it’s getting delayed. Can you please feed Garuda? Even some porridge and water will do ’ he said.
‘Listen Rahul this is getting bit inconvenient for us…’ I said only to realize he has already disconnected the call.
Thus we fed Garuda that night. Next morning we were woken up by same noise from Garuda and it took us some minutes to realize Rahul is not back home yet.
We tried his number and it remained switched off. I could see a message flashing in my mobile ‘ Sorry had to step out of town to get accessories for Garuda. Please take care of him till I return.’ He had sent.
Thus we are feeding Garuda for last fifteen days. Not only Rahul didn’t return to house his number remains switched off. The cheque he provided us is not signed.
If you have seen Rahul anywhere or want to take care of world’s first machine to be fueled by human food please let us know!