It was past midnight on the New Year's day of the year 2000, the new millennium. We were driving back from Puri to Bhubaneswar after having a darshan of Lord Jaganath. My wife, children and parents in law - all of us had been to the Sri Mandir to be with the Lord at the moment of the advent of the new millennium (i.e. at 12 midnight on 31st December 1999). After offering our prayers at the wee hour and having the prasad we were returning to Bhubaneswar. It was past 2 A.M. We had never imagined that a thick fog would greet us on the way.
The fog was so thick that the head lights of my Maruti 800 could not penetrate even a few metres. Nothing was literally visible as the wind screen got covered with the dew. I had to stop in that bone chilling cold night as driving became nearly impossible. As I opened the door of my car a gush of chilled wind rushed in. The inmates who were dozing shrieked. "What happened?" asked my wife. "Nothing is visible." I said. All woke up and we had no other way but to wait till the fog cleared out.
As the dawn approached the fog began to thin out. We could see the crimson red in the eastern sky amidst the thick cloud of fog. The first sun of the new millennium was about to come out. The soft sunrays began to tear through the thickness of the fog. The sight was something unique. Thanks to the fog but for which we would have been deprived of seeing the first sunrise of the new millennium. As the age of the dawn advanced the fog began to clear out. We resumed our journey.
The experience of the fog was unique and I can never forget it. Although it took us more than five hours to cover a distance of 60 kilometers we never felt exhausted. We had really enjoyed the night’s vigil floating in the fog and looking at the millennium’s sunrise.
The following poem is based on this experience:
Millennium’s Foggy Sunrise
The head lights failed miserably
To penetrate the thick cloud
Of water droplets, forcing
Me to apply the brakes.
“What’s the matter?” cried my dozing wife
“Nothing”, I said, “I just can’t see through
perhaps we will have to wait
till the fog clears out !”
The new millennium’s maiden day break
Just a few hours away.
And we just had a communion with
Lord Jagannath, when the clock struck
But why has He put us
In such quandary, challenging
Our faith in him?
The bone chilling sweep of the December wind
Inspired awe in me, as I came out
Tiny droplets of the mist
Moistened my inner self.
All others were having siesta
Inside the match box body
Of my Maruti 800.
The watch ticked on … and on
In the eastern sky I could see the crimson sun
The maiden sunrise of the new millennium.
The warm sunrays tore through
The thickness of the fog cloud
The sky became clearer, and
I could now see the road.
I drove at a snail's pace
Enjoying the foggy sunrise
The night's vigil was worth
A millennium's prize.