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  • Divya Jain

A Birthday gone wrong

Lightning and thunder raged with fury, both of them eager to outdo the other. The dark clouds were ominous and foreboding. The night was cold and wet with the pelting rain. Needless to say, it was a very bad night to be camping in a forest.

For my birthday my family, friends and I had adventurously decided to go camping. Alas, we made a rookie mistake and forgot to check the weather. Needless to say, we were completely blind to the dangers that awaited us.

Mother Nature had very generously gifted me with roaring thunderous rain for my birthday. My day had started just fine. I woke up with a cake smashed on my face, freshened up, and did a little gift opening ceremony. We had planned a very fun itinerary for the day. In the morning after the cake cutting, we went trekking and saw a vast display of different monkeys and frogs, alongside a whole display of other flora and fauna. Now, I was waiting for the bonfire in the night, which was the highlight of the day. All of us would get together, have dinner, sing songs and just enjoy each other’s company and nature before going back to the concrete jungle the next day.

I might have cursed it with my eagerness because the downpour had suddenly begun. It rained and rained and rained and our tent was soaking wet and water was starting to flood in. It was practically raining sideways and it was starting to get scary. By the time the lightning and thunder arrived, we were all huddled in one tent pleading with God to make the rain stop. The sound of the pitter-patter of the rain crashing the ground, the howlings of the animals, the thunder all added to the terrifying experience. It was a living hell. Trees were flying in the air and the water level was increasing and then suddenly one of our other tents broke apart exposing all our clothes to the howling rain. It was and is the most frightening experience of my life. Tears started forming in my eyes. There was a sturdy woody cabin not far from our camping site, and we collectively decided that we had to go there for safety.

We all ventured out together, hunched down in our jackets and windbreakers. The wind was attacking us ferociously, but we persevered. I could barely see two metres in front of me - and a treacherous tree root seemed to take advantage of this fact. I tripped, and my glasses broke. I fumbled around, before panicking and shouting for my friends and family. However, my voice must have been lost in the storm, because I couldn’t hear anyone. Fear overcame me - how was I supposed to survive in this storm?

In the gloom, a single bright light pierced my vision. My addled, frightened brain assumed that it must be from the cabin and I lurched towards it, hands in front of me to prevent any further accidents. When I reached the place where the luminescence had come from, a cave opening greeted me. It looked quite spacious, and strangely inviting when compared to the raging forest. Most importantly, it was dry. I rushed inside. Attempting to find the cabin in these conditions was not an option. Even as I tried to figure out what to do next, the fear, worry, and exhaustion of the day overwhelmed me and I fell asleep.

A few hours later, when I woke up, the sky had lightened and the pelting had reduced to a gentle drizzle and things were getting better. A chorus of voices was calling out my name, and I hurriedly stood up to greet my family. They had made it to the cabin and had called a wildlife ranger to help in finding me. I sobbed with absolute joy, and we saw a rainbow in the sky! It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I was mesmerized by the beauty of nature. One moment it was punishing us by unleashing hell and then the other moment she had decided to reward us with such a heavenly sight.

We never did manage to figure out where that strange light that had been my saviour came from - I’ve always assumed it was my guardian angel. Even though it was one of the most terror striking moments I’ve ever had, I was almost glad it happened. I surely wouldn’t want such a thing to happen to me again, but no one can deny that it made for the most exciting - yet terrifying - birthday.

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