Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What the.....

After working twenty hours straight with naught to eat or sleep, except for some gruelly coffee (two words that should never be together), I decided to walk home. It wasn’t really late but it was 9:30 p.m. - the time rickshaw fellows enter their doozy nocturnal timezone to charge midnight fare. Really, how do they tell Cinderella’s story in their world? She left the ball early and sat polishing the fireplace in her taffeta gown waiting to be turned into a turnip that didn’t happen until much later. (Turnip meant figuratively, although that too would have been a sweet turn of events.) Takes the magic out of the fairy tale, I think.

Anyway, I was a little tired and heavy headed but thought I would walk home anyway. I just needed to have a chewy thought to engage my mind. Therefore I turned my meager faculties (meager at that time only. Otherwise, I’m an impresario of intellect) to how nobody ever laughs, ‘Hyuk! Hyuk!’. Now, as anyone who has read Archie comics would know, ‘Hyuk! Hyuk’ is the sound of hearty laughter. Like when you’ve heard something like this Valentine ditty: ‘What inspired this amorous rhyme? Two parts Vodka, one part lime?’ or Sohail Khan as a college student in ‘Krishna Cottage’ or the ‘story’ credits in Jackie Chan films. Stuff like that.

But even though one may thump one’s hands while doubling over in mirth, one doesn’t exactly go ‘Hyuk! Hyuk!’ It sounds more like when you’re trying to hiccup with an accent.

So, just to see how ‘Hyuk! Hyuk!’ sounded aloud, I thought I’d give it a try. There was no-one on the bridge I was walking over, so no risk of being apprehended for disturbing public peace. ‘Hyuk! Hyuk!’, I shouted. No. Won’t work like that. So I smiled and went, ‘HYUK! HYUK!’

Just then, I heard someone say, ‘Hi. I’ll give you a lift?’

A burly chap with brown moustache had come up on his bike soundlessly. He didn’t seem to be perturbed at looking at a woman in scarf going ‘Hyuk! Hyuk!’ at random. I smiled politely, said no thank you, and carried on.

No ‘Hyuk! Hyuks!’ now. I had turned my attention to Mr. Lodge’s ‘Egad!’

A few minutes later, I see the guy turn and come back on a one way street. ‘Where are you going?’, he asked with an oily smirk. I realized I had made a mistake by smiling at him.

“I’ll manage”, I say curtly and walk faster.

Suddenly, I look around and realize that there is no-one else on the bridge – not even those nosy street dogs.

He comes again, this time a little closer. “Really? It won’t be a problem. Just tell me where I can take you?”

I don’t answer and walk quickly – briskly- rapidly. After a while, I turn back and I don’t see him on the bridge anymore. Relief.

And then in the dim pool of the one street light that works, I see him waiting for me the end of the bridge. No cops, no people, no dogs, and one idiot walking with a scarf on her head.

I have half a mind to turn back, but then decide not to. I just hope he isn’t armed or with friends waiting on the other side of the road.

I reach the end of the road and he asks me again, “Hey! Come on! Where to?”

I stop. I turn. And I bellow,”ENOUGH! GO!”

Woman in scarf laughing to herself and now shouting loudly enough to wake up everyone on Dholepatil Road. He vamooses.

I can see him on the other side of the road slowing down. That’s the lane I need to take. I stand and stare at him. He’s looking at me and blinking his headlights. He doesn’t budge.

I finally spot a rick. And turns out the one guy who should be interested in taking me home is busy reading the newspaper (at 10:00 in the night).

“Koregaon?”

Cluck of tongue.

I feel a little helpless now. I mean, I’m tired and all and that burly guy is now talking to another fellow. They both keep looking at me off and on.

I need this rick fellow to take me home.

I think he realizes that ‘No’ wouldn’t quite cut it with me. He puts down his newspaper and tells me, “Unke saath jaana tha, aapko. Pune vaise safe hai.” (You should have gone with him. Pune is safe that way.)

I decide to take his word for it - that Pune is safe, even though my fists are clenched in my pant packets. I decide to go home walking. I cross the road where the guy and his friend are standing. They look at me and wait for me walk by them. I do, slowing down as I approach them.

He then turns to the roadside stall and buys gum.

I carry on thinking how appropriate the word “Whew!” is. That word I can relate to.

19 comments:

karmic_jay said...

Hey girl.. ya take care out there now will ya?
PS: Do you get stuff like mace or those things that zap you temporarily? Maybe just a quick kick to the nuts might suffice if things get out of hand..

Chai Anyone? said...

wow totally scary. ive dealt with that shit in bombay and boy is it a totally different situation. i had to go to the rickshaw man and plead with him and even paid way above the meter just to avoid the situation. definitely get mace or carry a small bottle of hairspray in ur backpack or purse or something. and be careful.

shub said...

i dunno whether to laugh out loud at teh fact taht u were doing all that on the bridge or warn u n tell u better watch out girl!!!

Shruthi said...

Whew! If you had your fists clenched, you got me gripping the edge of my seat! that was engrossing! And please please do take care, and please Hyuk in the confines of your home :)

RT said...

Scary..!! Carry pepper spray, girl..!

sachin said...

Hi,

That must have been really scary. U should carry some sort of pepper sprays to defend urself.
No matter how much progress we make as a country, ensuring safety of women will remain a challenge in India .
Our laws have too many loopholes. In case of JEssica lal, even the murderer has got away . The best way to prevent such events it to go for some self-defence classes like karate, martial arts to equip urself to deal every challenge .
Take care,
Sachin

Ravi said...

Hmmm.. 20 hours of sleep deprived state followed by this incident. It could have almost felt like a dream. It was good that nothing untoward happenned.
Another whew!!

Hyde said...

I know people will tell you to be careful. I know you know it too. So I am going to dwell on something I noticed.

"I decide to take his word for it - that Pune is safe, even though my fists are clenched in my pant packets."

Pant packets??

Hyde said...

Oh btw, Goofy goes "Hyuk, Hyuk".

Co-incidentally, I was trying to remember how Goofy laughs just before I landed here!

Mukta said...

Hi Karmic,

Yes - the quick kick is the first thought that comes to mind. Though the second thought usually is how to execuute it with the guy sitting on the bike. he he!

Hey Chai,

Hairspray, eh? I should try it. And not just for self-defense. :-)


Hey shub,

Do both..but if you'r laughing out loud, laugh 'Hyuk! Hyuk!' Let's see you pull that off. :-D

Yes Shruthi, Very wise advice. :-)

Hallo Rt,

Actually I don't know where you get them. But it will definitely come in hand with all the bland sandwiches we get in the canteen.

Hi Sachin,

Yes you're right. You know what was scary..not that the guy was following me. Its that he had that close to me without me realizing it. I just have to be more alert.

Hey Ravi,
:-) All of this month is going to be like this!

Hey Hyde,
You making fun of my clothes, now? he he!

Hey Hyde (again),
Goofy laughs?

Hyde said...

Yes, Goofy laughs. Goofily.

Couldn't help it, sorry.

But do you know what kind of an animal Goofy is? Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a duck. Goofy makes me want to believe he is a clumsy dog, but what breed?

doubtinggaurav said...

Ma'am,

I think you should take care.
I do not want to be deprived of your writing (it is not very good, but it is free of cost, for me :-D)

By the way pepper sprays are for little girls ,
you should try something like Jack


Regards

karmic_jay said...

Hi Karmic,
Yes - the quick kick is the first thought that comes to mind. Though the second thought usually is how to execuute it with the guy sitting on the bike. he he!


hehe.. good point. The idea is to go for the nuts. A quick punch there woud do it. Does that make it a nut punch then? :-D
Alternatively a blow to the nose or a jab in the eyes would do the trick too.

Khakra said...

give the dude what we call in our family "the shivaji response."

Unload that no. 9 kolhapuri chappal on him. if it doesn't work, hey, don't blame me!

White Magpie said...

Zany experience..Wunderbar!! I wonder if yer adrenalin has reached that all time high in recent times hehe..

On a sober note, you live you learn. So don't do it again..Grrrr!!

oglidonkee said...

:-) Well i dont know but how in the world should a guy approach a girl?

You should have taken the lift and made his day!

And what did the rickshaw fella mean, when he said "Pune safe hai!" Is he tring to sell protection ?

The best option would be o get yourself a car or maybe even a bike .... then you could stop on a bridge at 10-00 pm and give that 'Mr Dutt' a lift....
;-)

OD
PS: Forget about carrying mace, knowing you you would spray it on yourself (lafin so hard I am rolling on the floor!)

ashish said...

may the 4ce be with you!!!

I mean for the times when you decide to kick some balls :))

PS: wishing nothing to that sort is required ever :|

April Born said...

Hyuk Hyuk - please read that as genuinely hearty laughter at this blog.

Brings back fond memories of Mr Lodge's "EGAD!!!" at the latest Archie antic. Though you haven't mentioned it, it also reminds me of a character called The Hon. Frederick Threepwood in Wodehouse's Blandings series(Freddie to friends) who's always being told "Well, Freddie?" in tones calculated to suggest that conversation, if at all it happens, is going to languish.

Heartcrossings said...

That was terrifying even to read !! Can't imagine how you made it through

This reminds me of a night five years ago when I was walking from the bus stand to home in Bangalore. A long stretch of dark empty road and then being offered a lift. You inspire me to blog about it.