I left office early and my attempts to catch a share auto went futile. I started getting restless and decided to take a direct auto till Mehdipatnam. I finally managed to get one auto guy and he asked for Rs.10 extra to what I was willing to pay. Fair enough. I got into the auto and put on the ear phones to listen to songs. I had my favourite songs categorised accordingly and I listen to a song depending on my mood. If I feel light and cheerful, I would go for a hindi song. If I am contemplative, I go for some telugu songs with some deep meaning. Ridiculous logic, but enough to keep myself together in my otherwise boring journey of nearly about 26 km to my home.
It was as any other typical day. A repetition of a pattern of events, with a small twist. The auto wala stopped near a café and said that he would have some water and come back. Understandable, as it was summer and anybody would feel thirsty..although I feel a better choice would have been to put a water bottle in the auto itself. But who wants to listen to my opinion on water bottles in autos? In the mean time I was busily listening to songs. Time was passing by and the auto guy wasn’t returning. I saw him returning after some time with something black in his hand. Something rectangular in shape and which could easily fit into your palm. Forgot mentioning this point earlier, the auto guy was huge enough and so had huge palms too J. He got into the auto and slid that object, whatever it is on his right side. And we resumed our journey. I started getting a hunch that something was not just right. The concentration with which this guy was driving sort of frightened me. He had the kind of look which auto drivers who are plotting some mischief on the semi clad heroine at the back seat have in telugu movies. If you happen to watch telugu/tamil movies in the 90’s the auto wala has this Do-Not-Disturb me-I-am-a-complan boy kind of look which the heroine misunderstands it and assumes him really to be a complan boy who needs growing up and starts stretching herself and relaxing, when the auto takes a sudden turn. And she realises that this fellow wore that complan boy look just to confuse her. Ofcourse, the hero comes out of the blue and rescues her. And if the hero is Rajnikanth all he needs to do is just glare at the auto guy and the auto guy is frightened to his wits and runs to be never seen again.
Anyways, I told you earlier that I was listening to songs using ear phones, after some distance I slowly removed one ear phone. During this time, this guy was fidgeting with that object with his right hand. Or was it my imagination? I slowly removed the other ear phone also. DO I NEED SONGS WHEN MY LIFE WAS IN DANGER? When I got into the auto I sat at the left side of the seat. I slowly started moving to the right just to see what that object was. This guy was sooo huge, I couldn’t see what he was fidgeting. If it were a knife, and if he asks for my debit and credit cards..not that there was much chance of any such thing happening. The road to Mehdipatnam is just a straight road and anybody who attempts any such thing is risking his neck, not to mention the traffic at that time. But you see I have too much imagination, probably a result of reading too much fiction and watching too many movies.
In the mean time I called my husband and told him very very loudly that I was in tolichowki so that the auto fellow should know I was telling somebody where I was and would refrain from doing any mischief. My husband was equally baffled. He asked me why I had to say where I was and that too so loudly. I only answered him saying that I was on the way to Mehdipatnam. Tired and confused he put down the phone.
I also started encouraging the thought of jumping from the auto when it was slowing down. If I had done that I would certainly have been in the next day’s newspapers. I kept making such fake calls from time to time and announced in no lesser tone where I was.
In the mean time, I opened my bag and held my deodorant bottle close. If the auto guy turns back and puts his knife to me, I was plotting to spray the deo into his eyes and jump out of the auto. I have good survival instincts you seeJAlthough only a guy who happened to have a train run over his head and miraculously survived, with all the nerves in his brain crushed up would attempt such a thing at that time on such a busy road.
And, as we were approaching Mehdipatnam, I started feeling better. AND……………………………………….FINALLY…we reached the bus stop at Mehdipatnam. The auto guy didn’t even look back. He just said, “Madam, Mehdipatnam vachesindi” in the most gentle voice. I gave him the amount and got down the auto J