COMING OF AGE – III

Tanya was almost panicking and in the heat of it had completely forgotten to follow the GPS for directions to the place. She just kept on driving when her phone rang. It was from home.

O God, what I am supposed to tell mum?” she muttered.

Yes mum, don’t worry I am at Alisha’s place and will be back by evening.” She had gotten into a habit of lying to her parents quite frequently. She couldn’t help it. They were always worried that she might get into trouble. With the newspapers filled in with the news of rapes and molestation – it was difficult for her parents to not be worried about her safety.

But at this moment – all sort of thoughts were coming to Tanya’s mind. She was worried for her own safety.

Did I do the right thing? Maybe I should have just told mom about the situation I am in. What if the guys in that car are really upto something? But what would I tell my parents? That I am going on a blind date? The concept itself will throw them in a panic.” Thought Tanya

O my God, where am I going? Family Kingdom isn’t this way.” She quickly checked the route navigator, she almost covered 5 kms extra. “O good Lord, save me today!” She quickly took a turn and strictly followed the navigator. The white car still chasing her. “What do they want from me?

She reached Family Kingdom and to her relief the place was quite crowded.

There is no chance of me getting molested here. This is a family place.” She felt proud of choosing this place to meet this secret admirer. She parked the car in the multi-level parking in a slot closest to the security guards while the white car still followed her. The white car came up and parked it two places away from hers. Tanya was watching carefully. She held the pepper spray tight in her hands and set up the police helpline number on her phone. She picked up her bag and opened the door. Just when she got out – three boys of almost her age stepped out from the white car.

She held her pepper spray in almost a position to fire it and started walking towards the security guards.

One of the boys shouted, “Hey Tanya, where are we supposed to meet?

She looked around astonished. “Is the guy I am supposed to meet was following me?” she thought. She saw three boys and before she could figure out which one is her date for the day – he said again pointing towards the pepper spray in her hand “Sorry if we scared you. We just thought it would be fun if we just followed you instead of turning on our navigator

Instead of relaxing, Tanya held the spray even tighter. Something was very wrong. She wanted to run away fearing that she has fallen into some sort of a trap. “Who are they?” asked Tanya sternly.

Oh, sorry I forgot to introduce you. These are my cousins, they wanted to take the car for a long drive so I thought they would just drop me and carry on from here.” Said the guy as a matter of fact.

He had walked closer to Tanya now and she could smell smoke from his breath. He also had brownish teeth maybe because of chewing tobacco. His clothes were sort of smelly and dirty. And he had a weird accent in his voice.

O my God, what did I think and where have I landed?” thought Tanya.

Shall we go to pizza hut on first floor? And we can chat over there.” The guy said and without waiting for Tanya’s reply he waved goodbye to his cousins. They started the car and sped off.

Tanya didn’t know what to do. She was stuck, so she quietly followed him to first floor. They walked in silence while thoughts were running crazy in Tanya’s head.

So my name is Sameer and my friends also like to call me Sam.” The guy said. “I guess we know each other quite a lot through our letters. I loved reading those.

Did you write all of them?” asked Tanya. She was totally doubting that this was the same guy who wrote to her. The letters were so carefully crafted by words and they had so much meaning in them. But this guy doesn’t even look like he knows Basic English.

Yes yes, I wrote them. You know I write really well. Even though my speaking accent is quite different  but I love writing in English.” Said Sameer.

Ok, that explains!” Said Tanya rolling her eyes, still doubting. But her dreams of this guy had been shattered horribly. She really had high expectations of this secret admirer. And now she was looking at her watch wondering how to get away from this creepy guy who decided to follow her all throughout almost freaking her out. She was still clutching the pepper spray.

Maybe I can make an excuse to go to the loo and disappear from there.” She thought while Sameer was saying something about the food he loves and restaurants he has been in.

She couldn’t bear him even for a second. “Or maybe I should tell him straightaway that she isn’t interested in taking this forward. But wait – won’t that be rude? And what if his cousins come back and they plan to hurt me. Or he carries a bottle of acid with him.” All sort of horrible news that she had read about in last few months about the violence against women in Delhi were running in her head. She wasn’t paying any heed to what he was blabbering. Her heart was racing and she was drinking her 3rd glass of water to calm herself down.

Are you listening to me, Tanya?” said Sameer

Ah yes yes… “Lied Tanya.

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