The Juggernaut

23 June 2023
1 min read

The 18-wheeler cruised, the rubbers turning smoothly on the highway, her petite body belying the strength of her determination.

It was three years since she saw the bloodied, molested body of her 13-year-old. She lost her husband to cancer. She lost her daughter to rape. She had nothing to live except for her day of judgment.

Her eyes were focused on the careening motorbike ahead. His head turned, the bike failing to accelerate, to see death approaching him on a juggernaut.

She had followed him since the young case inspector told her how his rich father had paid off everyone. He had told her there was nothing he could do, and walked away, ashamed of the tears of defeat.

She approached the inspector a week later for help. He wanted to turn her down. But, with her persistence and his own anger at the skewed system, he agreed. He gave her a copy of the case file.

She started learning about him, especially his routines. Most of the time he spent at the various bars in the city, drinking with his sycophantic friends and harassing girls.

She only wanted one opportunity for herself. She found one soon.

Every Friday, he went to meet his sick mother who lived in a farmhouse, 50 km away from the city. He rarely missed that! For an instant, the thought of his mother tugged at her heartstrings. The next instant, she remembered her daughter’s mutilated body. She was a mother too.

An idea struck her!

The young inspector got her a truck driver’s job. The truck owner wanted to give her small trucks only. Slowly but surely, she rose from small to medium to large trucks, and finally to the 18-wheeled juggernaut, a key element in her plan. She did hundreds of trips carrying windmill wings.

Today, a Friday, she took a little detour and followed him. She was close, very close! His terror-filled eyes drove her determination more than ever. Nobody was here to help him, just as nobody was there to help her daughter.

She had planned for success. She had almost emptied his fuel tank when he had stopped at the regular dhaba for a bio break.

Soon, he ran out of fuel. She caught up with him.

Desperation and terror loomed large on his face as she closed in on him. The scrunch of the juggernaut’s wheels over his body and the squirts of red liquid finally calmed the ache in her heart, the ache she carried for three years!

She looked back one last time, to see his body mangled beyond recognition, just like her daughter’s. The three years of tears now breached the dam. Her face and chest were wet!

Suddenly, she saw a peacock feather in the sky! Was she hallucinating or was it Lord Jagannath giving His approval for the effective use of the juggernaut?

Photo by Rhys Moult on Unsplash

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Ratna Prabha

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