Late Night Tale Of A Woman
Late Night Tale Of A Woman6 mins 196 6 mins 196
Office annuals, however boring it may sound, is the only excuse to stay up late with colleagues cum bosom friends. Sheena had her share of dance from hip hop to bhangra to Salsa to Nagin dance and surprisingly still she was beaming with positive energy. Whether she is in love with her favorite colleague Sammy or not will take her a while, but no doubt they are the best of buddies. The clock said 11. 30 pm and Sammy said it’s time to say bye as he had to pick up his parents from the airport.
Sheena had no other choice than to head for home alone. The moment she left the lavish lawns of the hotel it started drizzling. She took refuge at a bus stop. She quickly took out her cell phone to book a cab. The moment she keyed in her address and was about to put a search from nowhere an unruly car came and drenched her in muddy water.
She couldn’t believe it happened. Her beautiful off white dress was a shabby grey now. She cursed the car, under her breath.
After she managed to wipe her face and hands with tissues she went back to booking a cab. Oh god! The mobile had conked off as it got drenched in water. She looked around helplessly to find an auto or vehicle. A few autos passed by but they refused to drop her home. After waiting for 30 mins more she saw a government bus coming up. The Nirbhaya incident had run shivers down her spine so she couldn’t decide what to do. She quickly looked at her watch it showed a scary 10 mins past midnight. In a desperate attempt to reach home he stopped the bus. A driver in his fifties in a tired voice asked her about her destination, then gestured her in. Her worst fear came true she was the only passenger on the bus. She took a seat in the middle row of the bus, a little away from the driver. She was now feeling tired, the positive vibes were all gone and were replaced by a strange fear of the unknown. She desperately tried to switch on her phone but nothing happened.
Her body wanted to rest, her mind was alert. She started a conversation with the driver to gauge what kind of person he was. She politely asked for how many years he has been driving. In a weary voice, he answered 15 years madam on the same route every single day. He said madam please take some rest if you wish to, don’t worry I will drop you home safely, I have a sister almost your age at home. Her fear refused to part with her, even after this conversation.
Against her bodily desires, she kept her eyes wide open. It was still raining outside, and the sound of rain almost sounded like a lullaby. With every passing second, it was becoming more difficult for her to stay awake.
The bus would stop briefly at all major crossings and then whiz away. She suddenly felt a hand on her shoulders. She got so startled that she was about to fall off the seat. She turned back and saw a man in his mid-thirties with a thick mustache smiling at her. Before she could utter a word he said, sorry madam my intention was not to disturb your sleep but you were about to bang your head on the seat in front of you.
A little embarrassed to hear this narrative she asked really did I fall asleep? He smiled once again and said, yes of course you did.
Sheena abruptly started explaining why she was traveling alone so late. The man stopped her in between and said, I didn’t care to explain why I am traveling on a bus this late then why do you have to explain just because you are a woman? He said you know something, after what happened to me on a bus I thought women always enjoy undue privileges but now I realize they face a lot of prejudices and preconceived notions which make it a habit for them to explain their actions.
Surprisingly the bus driver is quietly driving and not interested in this conversation. After a moment of hesitation and self-restraint, Sheena asked would you like to share what happened to you on a bus?
The man started telling his tale. He said one day he boarded a bus in this route and it was a sultry afternoon, he couldn’t stop wiping off the sweat from his body. A lady came and took a seat beside him. She was on the healthier side and he squeezed into the window side as much as possible.
He couldn’t help but scratch his body occasionally because of the heat rashes and kept wiping his face too. This resulted in occasional body touch with the lady. He apologized for the same but the lady got irritated. She got off from her seat and started throwing a fit that this man is touching me. In no time a crowd gathered and started beating him up. He kept requesting with folded hands that he didn’t have any wrong intention but the crowd was in a mad fury. Finally, they dragged him and threw him out of the bus at a bus stop of their choice. He kept lying there bleeding profusely but nobody helped. Instead of helping people started taking pictures and videos. He doesn’t remember what happened after that. The man now folded his hands and with a bowed down head told, madam I have a request if you find some merit in my story, will you please let my parents know that I didn’t do anything wrong with the woman. Then he pointed at the windowpane and said, my phone number is written there.
A few moments passed by but it seemed like an eternity. Sheena felt a tap on her shoulders again. This time when she opened her eyes it was the bus driver, softly he said we have reached the last stop madam, where do you stay can I drop you somewhere? She quietly asked, where is the man who was talking to me? The driver with a dry smile on his face said there was no one in the bus except you, the one you are talking about died 2 yrs ago at a bus stop nearby. He comes and tells his story to every late-night passenger to prove his innocence.
Sheena just froze. She couldn’t take it anymore. She broke down and started crying, the driver comforted her by saying madam thank your lucky stars it was a harmless ghost, just imagine what would have happened if it was a heartless, spineless, ruthless rapist like that of Nirbhaya’s?
Strangely this one sentence made her feel much better