A Helping hand...

“My God! Crossing this stream is impossible,” I screamed.

“Do we have a choice?” Mahathi gave me an intent look.

“Of course, we do! We can’t go back.” Samyuktha sounded reasonable. It was reassuring and I responded back with a smirk.

“It looks adventurous girls. We must go!” Kiara’s words caught almost everyone there and she looked visibly excited.

Jaqueline and Fayez were both excited and terrified at the same time as the sensation muted them. They were about to say something but before they could utter the words, they shut themselves. And it kept happening for a while. 

Crossing the flowing river using a sturdy rope.
Art by Anaga N

It wasn’t a stream but an overflowing Kollidam river as mentioned by another onlooker. The fiercely flowing water over the road was frightening yet a sight to behold. Reaching the other side of the river meant something to us. We wanted to reach Chidambaram and take a bus home to Pondicherry. And that’s all we wanted. Being stuck in a flood situation was not easy. We were tired both physically and mentally.

As there were no direct buses to Pondicherry early in the morning, we took a bus from Karaikal to Kollidam. Instead of a 4-hour travel, we were forced to travel a whole day to reach Pondy. We took our chances and went ahead. That’s not all, we stretched our muscles and walked for hours to reach this river from the bus stop.

We were facing the river from one side and felt stranded and the idea of reaching home seemed like a distant dream. While the water level kept increasing, the task of crossing the river was not just tough but would also be death-defying. However, what mattered the most was how quick we decide our next course of action. There was a rope tied across the river along the road and a few well-built guys were assisting people to cross the river. Trust me, it wasn’t as adventurous as it sounds.

Gathering courage from my friends and people around, I stepped into the water holding on to the rope. My friends followed me on this knee-deep running water. We were watchful of our steps and started on a slow pace.

After a moment, I felt something tickling my toes. I took a momentary pause to look and saw something thin and slimy.

“Is it a Jelly fish?”, I worried. It took a hit on my daring voyage as well. This caused an uproar behind and people started to scream.

“Are you out of your mind, Anya? Water level is increasing. It’s close to our waist now. Just stop your stupid exploration and keep walking” yelled Mahathi.

“There’s something stuck between my toes and I am not able to move,” I replied in an anxious tone.

“I don’t care even if it’s a snake. Keep walking!” Mahathi sounded enraged.

The thought of a snake added fuel to my fire. Irritated, I started kicking my legs trying to get rid of that creepy thing. Meanwhile, I picked up the pace to avoid any further commotion.

The water current played its part by pushing and pulling us. The sturdy rope was our only hope and we clutched on to it tightly and did not want to let it go. It stayed like a faithful partner holding on to us yet, our lower body was losing balance. We kept losing our confidence for every step and we were just halfway through.

I saw a middle-aged person walking in front of me. He wasn’t muscular but looked in better shape than us.

“Sir, can you please help us reach the other side safe. It’s getting tough and the path is slippery,” I literally pleaded.

“Well, don’t worry. Just hold me tight. I will let you reach the bank safe. Trust me, I know swimming!” replied an unfamiliar person. His words were reassuring and kept us motivated.

Knitting the rope on to our left hands and holding each other’s right hand, we advanced forward. I was holding on to this stranger, who with his confidence-boosting words carried me.

As we started taking our strides forward, we felt this strong sense of assurance. The unknown stranger offered to help us, or should I say, ‘save us’. We were holding each other – known and unknown – closely with the belief that we will survive this hardship.

Finally, we reached the other side of the river and everyone heaved a huge sigh of relief after that awful experience.

Without further ado, we were rushing to the bus stop. While on the way, Jaqueline reminded us, “Shouldn’t we thank the guys who saved us?”

“Yeah, definitely!” There was a chorus response to that and when we turned back it was too late. There wasn’t any sign of that person.

“Maybe he was also in a hurry,” said Kiara.

“Or maybe he was attempting to save another set of vulnerable people like us”, grinned Samyuktha.

“Good people don’t expect gratitude. They just help, no matter what!” said Fayez with deepest gratefulness.

“Anyways, thanks to him we are safe now. Let’s go home!” I felt ecstatic.


We reached Chidambaram bus depot and got the bus back to Puducherry. We took our seats and felt comforted, after the adventure we had experienced. A warm breeze embraced us and greeted us with a newfound appreciation for life.

A Helping hand... A Helping hand... Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 18:21 Rating: 5


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. Hope it lived up with your experience :-)

  2. Wowwwwww. Beautifully narrated with the right choice of words.

  3. Good one. The artwork in this is really nice.

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