Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Late Evening

Never...Never again am I going to multi-task, thought Sapna as she hastily picked up everything that was fallen on the footpath. Never search for something in your purse while you are talking on the phone. In compliance with Murphy's law, the purse will choose that very moment to overturn and spill all the assorted contents all over.

It was quite a crowded evening and the people around her looked on as she gathered her myriad collection. Too much to expect a bit of chivalry and decency from the men standing around, she thought. None of them came forward to help her, they just stood their ground and stared. One particular man with a rugged unshaven face stood out. His stare was weird to say the least. Maybe stared was the wrong word, leching would be more appropriate. Sapna realized that she was bending down while picking up her things. She adjusted her top so that the neckline came up a bit higher. Bloody men, she thought. Always out to get a glimpse wherever and whenever they can.

In a hurry she stuffed everything in the purse and walked away. The sun was going down and she was already getting late. As she hurriedly crossed the street, she looked back and saw the unshaven man behind her. He waved out to her smiling. The smile revealed tobacco stained teeth. Creepy!

She quickened her pace. There was still about a kilometer to walk before the bus stop. She glanced behind and saw that the man was also walking faster now. He would easily catch up with her before reached the bus. The alley in which she was walking was very less crowded now and it was dark. She broke into a run. If he was going to catch her anyway, she was not going to make it easy for him.

Everybody had told her that the city is not safe for women, especially after dark. She had conveniently chosen to ignore these talks. Afterall she was a strong, modern, independent women and had more important matters to think of. Who worries about all these things until they happen to you? She now regretted not heeding the advice.

She had to lose him somehow, maybe give him a slip. As she was running she saw a broken wall on the right. Maybe that would hide her till he crossed and then she could double back and take another route. She ran behind it and crouched down. A bead of sweat trickled down her neck as she pressed her back against the wall. With her heart pounding in her chest, she peeped from the side and saw him approaching. It was quite apparent that he hadn't seen her go behind the wall as he seemed to be looking around for her. Maybe he will just keep going and she would lose him. In the tension she miscalculated the strength of the wall. A couple of loose bricks fell down with a thud. He noticed the sound and ran towards the broken wall.

Sapna was standing defiantly before him now. If she was going to get it anyway, she won't make it easy for him. She would put all those self-defense lessons to use. He gave his stained smile. His hand went into his pocket as if trying to take out a weapon, but Sapna was too quick for him. A kick on the shins, a punch on the jaw and another kick between his legs. He lay sprawled on the ground. 

As she was about to move away from the scene, she saw something clutched in his hand. It was her wallet that had fallen out earlier.