January 11, 2015

*phew* I'm home! #indiSpireSunday

     In my previous post I wrote about how chivalry is almost non-existent these days and how men felt emasculated if a woman driver over took them on the road. (For more on the post click on the Link) This post is a narration of an incident which I think many women drivers might have been through.

     It was a pleasant October day a year ago. My boss, the dragon-lady, was in one of her deadline frenzies. She was putting together a catalog for a conference she was to attend in the States. My colleagues and I had just returned from lunch and just as we began to get back to work her voice crackled through the intercom to inform us that we needed to work late to meet the deadline. I had to drive 15 km to work every day. Driving for close to two hours through peak hour traffic and terrible roads was very stressful, so stressful that my hair began to grey quite rapidly. I partly blame that on stress and partly thanks to my poor genes.      
      I went to negotiate with the boss to let me leave. I promised I would come in early the following morning and complete my quota of work. My boss nonchalantly brushed aside my request saying if I wanted to work for her I should play by her rules and further more she didn't see why it was such a problem considering I had my own conveyance. I had no choice in the matter and I stayed back much against my will. 
     It was 9.15 when I finally left work that night. My mother had called me a hundred times already wondering why I was so late. She was quite annoyed. My drive home took me two hours, inching through traffic and waiting indefinitely at traffic signals and busy junctions, to get to the other side of town. I was tired. I was hungry. My eyes were sore and I felt a migraine setting in after staring at a computer screen all day. My neck was stiff and I made a very valiant effort to stay awake.
     The last fifteen minutes of the journey home would lead me through a relatively quiet railway area with a huge coach factory and a township for railway employees. The roads were poorly lit, almost none of the street lights were burning that night. The air was cold and I was getting cranky and impatient. Just as I drove into the railway area there was a duo on a motorcycle in front of me. Two young lads, in T-shirts so small that I could see the rolls of flab at their midriffs bursting through the fabric. As usual it seemed like they had all the time in the world and drove ever so slowly. I honked at them a couple of times signaling them to make way. Somehow this seemed to have annoyed them. A LOT. They accelerated, pulled up beside me and began to yell at the top of their voices gesturing with their hands. They character assassinated me and when I did not respond they began to get very aggressive. They were probably drunk.  
       I drove off. Checking my mirror a few minutes later to take a turn, I felt a rush of adrenaline as I began to wake up to the fact that I was being followed by the same duo. I began to feel very very uneasy. My mind was now a frenzy of thoughts - contemplating my next move. Do I take the smaller lanes inside the neighborhood and lose them? I fairly knew where all the lanes and streets went. Next, Where was the closest police station? There was a police check-post a couple of furlongs away. Would there be a cop at this time of night? It was 10:45 by then. 
      I slowed down a let the duo over take me. They parked at the side of the road ahead of me probably expecting me to stop too. They were spoiling for a fight. They definitely did not have any good intentions. I mentally made a note of the number plate of the motorcycle and simply drove past them. They had got off their motorcycle and that gave me some time to get to the check-post. To my good luck there were two cops on duty. I pulled over and rushed to get help. The duo simply took a U-turn and disappeared into the night. I gave the cops the number plate and some other details after which they escorted me to my house. 
       When I reached, my mother was already waiting at the gate worried sick. I had so many questions in my head. Why did those men get so offended because I honked at them to move? Why did they get so angry when I did not respond to their leering and jeering? What were they planning to do when they decided to follow me? India - No country for women?

The answers didn't matter then. I was just so relieved to be in one piece with all my organs where they ought to be. Knowing it could have been a lot worse and knowing I had escaped by the skin of my teeth, I was happy to be home - my safe haven. Home where I felt safe. Home where I would not be judged and where I could decide when to do what. I simply felt good to be HOME.             

If you have had a similar experience or relate with this post leave a comment below and don't forget to +1. For more articles subscribe to Van der Wrote by clicking on the links in the sidebar.