The Return of Zeus
Long time readers of this site may remember that I had been willfully targeted by one of the earlier drafts of God, Zeus. For those who don’t know him, Zeus is the ancient Greek god of thunder, lightning, weather and other random sky related phenomena.For reasons unknown, Zeus had gotten into a personal vendetta against yours truly. I wrote about our first epic battle a long time ago. And we have had other battles on and off. As is often the case when men go to battle against divine, all-powerful, supernatural entities, the battle tends to be a bit one sided because… well, didn’t you just read the part about them being ‘all-powerful’?
It was such an unmatched, unfair fight that I wouldn’t be out of line to say Zeus was just picking on me. But why? After a bit of thought, I ruled out jealousy. Sure, I had a friggin’ awesome DVD collection going for me, but I doubt if it’s enough to incite divine jealousy. Besides, Zeus is like, ancient… He’s probably still just figuring out VCRs.
But whatever the reason, it was a losing battle from my side. I waved a white banner in unconditional surrender, but he just came out and drenched it with a flash of rain. I tried to bring in a mediator, but professional arbitrators seldom take on cases against Gods. I tried to talk to him mano-a-godo, but he just thundered long and loud, drowning out my pleas. He was just being a mean bully.
But I couldn’t just live in constant fear like this. I had to do something. And a solution DID present itself; one that was so simple and elegant that I should have thought about it long time ago; Just move to a region where rain and thunder are as rare as a pickles in a dessert. Hey, desert! That’s the answer. I could just move to a desert city and then the God of rain and thunder could be brought down to size!!
Looking back, I can see that it was actually a suggestion from one of my readers early on; but being thick-headed, it took a while to actually act on it. But nevertheless, better late than never; One fine day, I just packed my bags and moved on to Sharjah, UAE, where rains are so scarce they don’t even have proper drainage infrastructure to account for waterlogged roads. I remember the day I left India, when I laughed at the sky and booed at the bullying jerk-face, symbolically giving him the finger.And that would have been the end of it; I could have just ended the chapter of my Zeus fights. At worst, he would attack during my visits home, or just drizzle in Sharjah once a year in a vain, pathetic attempt to look legit. Add the fact that I now have a car; most of my traveling gets done within its shelter. So I had pretty much written off Zeus and his bullying ways.
Or that’s what I thought. The thing with Gods is – they tend to bounce back. And these ancient Greek Gods have experience in battle; when they stay silent for a while, the time is often spent on strategies of war. And indeed, Zeus had a battle plan all worked out.
Two days ago, I had to renew my vehicle license in UAE. In this country, you have to do this every year. Holding an undying commitment to being myself, I had no choice but to wait until the last possible day, which happened to be a weekday. This meant that I had to go early in the morning so that I could finish it and get to work on time. The regulatory body, called Tasjeel, opened at 7:30 AM in Sharjah, and I planned it out so I’d get there as soon as the gates opened. I was determined to get there early enough to finish off the process, have a leisurely breakfast, crib about the breakfast and still get back to work on time. Sure, I was delayed due to my laziness, but I had shrewdly factored in my laziness. I was also delayed by the GPS device giving improper directions at places, but again, I had shrewdly factored in GPS errors. What I had not factored in… was Zeus.
I think Zeus is particularly pissed off these days because of all the attention his Norse counterpart, Odin, is getting these days. I can understand the frustration; It’s bad enough being an obscure God of a bygone era, but when another God of lightning/ thunder suddenly starts getting a billion dollar highlight, it just stings that much harder. If Zeus had been played by Anthony Hopkins in some movie, maybe he wouldn’t have been as irritable.
But whatever the case, Zeus paid a surprise visit to Sharjah and cranked the rain factor up to 12 on this one day of the year when I had to go through these unfamiliar roads early in the morning… on a working day… and being an omnipotent God, I’m sure he knew that my windshield wipers were a bust that day. So he blasted heavily on to my windshield to the point that I couldn’t see ahead.
My plans were clearly not waterproof. There were a lot of unexpected delays all the way through. So despite the limited visibility and the sub-optimal wiper, I had to keep as steady a pace as I could. The rain had also accumulated puddles on the road which were… deceptively deep. There was no way for me to know that I couldn’t ram my car into that puddle at full speed. The water was strong enough to divert the course of my car. For one brief second, I was no longer a driver, but a naval captain. My car changed course abruptly because clearly, the engineers at Honda lacked the foresight to install rudders to my vehicle.
The brief micro-voyage was short, but scary. In that one second of course correction, if there had been another vehicle around, my car would have ran into it like a couple of long lost sorority alumni after two jugs of beer. Thankfully, this did not happen, and I continued to brave my way to the Tasjeel, shaken, but not stirred.
Zeus still huffed and puffed for the remainder of the morning, reminding me clearly that he is never going to let go. But so far, I have persevered. I’ll watch my back from now on, desert or no desert. Step 1, of course, would be to install a rudder in my car.