I am 26. I stay in a city away from home, like most of us these days.
I’m your average, trying so hard to get it right in life, live one day at a time sort of a person. In the past few years, through my single life, I’ve lived in 3 different cities. I’ve taken ricks alone at 4 in the morning, cabs at 2 in the night, I’ve walked in winter darkness, extremely wary of what I’m wearing and the people around. I’ve even inculcated the habit of regularly checking the auto guys’ details and the vehicle number. There have been paranoid instances where I’ve googled mapped every time a driver took a turn I was not familiar with. There were times when my phone bills ran high with all the long phone calls just to let the driver know I am connected and he can’t really mess with me. Of course I’ve been judged for my ways, but I am kinda proud of myself for being…hmm…is bold the right word to use here? I am married now, and that for the society probably means my safety is taken care of.
But last week, boom, something amusing happened. My husband and I were returning from a late night movie. I love night shows. So does he. It’s like our routine. It was a mildly cold night, and quite a ride back home. Young, married, and after a good movie like Man from Uncle, it’s not a surprise that I had my arms around the husband, big grin on my face, discussing the film and enjoying the ride. Ignorant and happy. The first time a run down lancer sped past us almost knocking us down, I thought it was a drunk college kid. When we overtook the car, I was excited. The second time, the car cut us and sped past, it annoyed me. The third time, it pissed me off. When we were parallel to the car, I turned and looked inside to spot a man, probably in his early 30s. Anger, disgust, superiority and hatred – his judgemental stare spewed all of those emotions at me. That was one red-eyed death stare and it had me frozen. The husband however got the drift, he tried slowing down, but the guy actually pulled over and waited for us to pass by. And then continued to chase us down the highway. The road was not empty for that matter. In fact he pulled over at a big junction. The cut and chase continued and my brain had stopped working when he almost knocked us over. The husband however was calm as ever and instructed me to note down the car number and then to put my phone on my ears. We were now parallel to the car. That was the second time I caught the driver’s eyes – this time it read stupidity, irritation, cowardliness and a teeny bit of fear. Everything so contrary to the majestic Shivaji Maharaj sticker on the back of his car. The irony! He sped past and we never saw him again.
It took me the comfort of my pillow and a whole hour to structure what had happened to myself. So what was the reason for this incident? Was it my unmarried-like demeanour that sparked off the resentment? Was it the fact that I was hugging my husband/or in the chaser’s head – my boyfriend, ‘coz that’s totally illegal right?! Or was it the time? it was just a little after 11 pm. Was it my clothes – old denims, faded tee and a shrug? Was it my loose hair, character, whatever?! Or was it like my husband put it, he just wanted to see the the bitch that I am, my face.
P.S: To any family member reading this and worrying yourself to death, calm down. We are safe. So don’t lecture me on my movie going habits. Thank You!