Brush with Murphy's Law

  • Pallavi Singh, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2014 09:49 IST

Murphy's Law is a popular adage that states, "What can go wrong will go wrong". All of us have dealt with it in frustration, some time or the other. The traffic lights will be a mocking red just when you are late for work, you will find the most irrelevant things but never the particular document you are looking for, and the generator will sputter, belch smoke and die out on the day of your biggest party!

My brush with Murphy's Law recently had me in turn exasperated, embarrassed and in splits, in equal measure! My school friend and her two children were visiting from the US. From the airport in Amritsar, I took them to partake of the famous Amritsari kulchas. To my surprise and their disgust, although they were too well-mannered to show it, the entire road surrounding the eating joint was dug up and we had to eat amid dust and a huge crane doing roadworks. I was so apologetic but they kept praising the kulchas and telling me not to worry.

We had a tight schedule for the day, which included a quick lunch, paying obeisance at Harmandar Sahib, the change-of-guard ceremony at the border and then a dinner party in Jalandhar. At the Golden Temple, we were confronted with a sea of people and there was a mammoth queue, snaking its way past the entrance to the Akal Takht. The children were a little overwhelmed and clutched my fingers tightly. We went around the 'parkarma' but entering the sanctum sanctorum meant that we would miss the ceremony at the border. Feeling really guilty and silently requesting forgiveness from God, I herded them out and off we went towards Attari. On the way, I kept up a steady chatter about the ceremony and how lucky we all were to witness it.

As we reached the parking, we saw hundreds of people running towards the gates shouting "It's started, it's started!" We took the children by their hands and ran too, as if our lives depended on it. There were thousands of people on the stands, the walls, the stairs, the railings and on each others' shoulders! The ladies' section had huge men with children and cameras in tow. We four were squeezed, pushed, jostled and trampled upon, in turn, unable to see a thing. All we could do was hear the reverberating commands of the soldiers and the answering roar of the crowds from both sides of the border. In my haste, I had forgotten to arrange for a pass that would enable us to sit close to the ceremony! I was completely mortified. My friend had a brain wave and raised her camera in the air towards the ongoing ceremony and managed to record some of it. At the parking, I tried to call the driver and was appalled to find no signal. In desperation, I asked around for a phone and was told that there were jammers in place and thus no mobile phone connectivity! Needless to say, we reached the dinner very late. Sitting back over a drink with friends, we recounted the day amid shouts of laughter and amusement, although I'm not sure whether they weren't laughing at me and my encounter with Murphy's Law!

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