“Are all moms so difficult? Huhh!!”, muttered Tanya softly to herself as she unlocked her car. Her car had become her buddy since the last two months. It was a gift from her parents on her eighteenth birthday – yet another proof to testify their love – Tanya had thought then. But whatever, this status symbol had given Tanya the respect and attention among her peers which had definitely boosted her self-esteem. Oh how much she loved to flaunt her granite sedan each day, as she honked her way past the college gate towards the parking lot!
May be it was during those haughty entry times that her secret admirer had noticed her. The thought of her secret admirer brought a shy smile on Tanya’s face. With butterflies fluttering in her stomach, she changed the gear and accelerated the speed of the car. There was still a long way to drive. They had agreed to meet in Family Kingdom – an Amusement Park in the outskirts of Delhi – a place which was frequented by families and picnic groups. It was a two-hour drive for Tanya and she hadn’t driven that long ever.
She was careful not to exceed the speed limit as she still had only a learner’s license. The more she tried to focus on the way the Route Navigator was guiding her, the more her thoughts pulled her towards that unknown admirer for whom she had developed a fond likeness by then.
“Who could it be, after all?”, Tanya pondered aloud for the tenth time that morning. And as in all the previous times, she shrugged her shoulders with disappointment quite evident in her face. Is he finally the one she had been waiting for, all these years – the one who would sweep her off her feet with his genuine love and affection for her?
A strange fear crept into her mind suddenly. What if he turned out like all those who had portrayed that false impression of love, earlier? She had been cautious before allowing the words of those letters to mean something to her. But, somehow the words in the letters were full of warmth and truth. She couldn’t ignore.
And so, it was she who had suggested that they meet. She was sure that it must be someone from her class or one of her seniors. “Whoever the person is, must be a genuine person indeed!”, said Tanya aloud with an increased anticipation of meeting her admirer.
She was now driving on the highway. She lifted her hands from the steering wheel and stretched them on either sides, with a feeling of confident satisfaction lighting across her face. It was just then that she noticed the white Baleno behind her. It struck her that the car had been trailing her from the time she left home some time back!
An eerie fear gripped her. She frantically searched her handbag with her left hand while taking control of the steering wheel with her right. After a few seconds of poozling, she fished out a can of pepper spray and placed it on the dashboard. “It will come handy,” her friend had said while urging her to purchase one. She then looked for the Police Helpline number and kept her phone in front of her.
Tanya decided to play a few mind games with the driver of the other car. She alternated speeding up and slowing down to almost a snail’s pace. No matter what she did, the car trailing hers did the same. A cold sweat broke down from her brow and the feeling of happiness gave way to pensive fear.