He rode behind the auto. The girl knew he was following the auto. But didn’t repeat the same mistake she had done of peeping out of the auto to confirm.
After about 4 odd kms & many turns the auto stopped. The girl hesitated a bit to get off. She decided to pay the auto driver from inside & after doing so scanned the place around. There was no one. She had stopped in front of a 7 storey apartment building. The main gate to the building was closed. The watchman was not in sight. Probably he was asleep in his little nook on one side of the gate, she thought.
She walked to the gate still very conscious of being watched by the guy. The guy of course was right behind. She finally turned around & gave him a look. He looked blankly at her. She approached the gate & learnt that it was locked. She could see that the watchman was sleeping in his nook. She shook the gate a bit so that it could make some sound. Unfortunately the gate hardly made any noise whatever it did make was very faint & didn’t shake the watchman up even a bit. She went closer to the side where the watchman was sleeping & called out not very loudly, “Watch man”. No luck.
She tried again & again, but the watchman was in deep sleep it seemed. The auto had left by now. She was at the gate. The guy on the bike stood watching every move of hers from a distance. She felt scared for the first time. She didn’t understand why this guy had followed her. She began to wonder may be it was a mistake to take a lift from him. With the watchman also not responding & the gate locked, she began to panic. So much so that tears welled in her eyes. She couldn’t believe what a horrible night it was turning out to be for her.
She tried again, “watchman”. This time a bit louder. But there was no response from him. She broke down. She cried. The watchman didn’t hear sob. But the guy on the bike did. He got off from his bike & walked to her. She couldn’t see it but she could feel him approaching. The guy just walked up, stood next to her & said loudly enough, “Hey watchman. Wake up. Hello…..”
She just noticed all this. She could see from the corner of her eye what this guy was doing. Strangely the fact that he just walked up & tried to wake up the watchman seemed to calm her down a bit. Suddenly she didn’t seem to panic anymore.
The guy looked around, he saw some loose stones fallen about. He picked a good nice one & aimed it at the watchman’s legs. He hit his target but the watchman didn’t move.
“May be the bugger is drunk”, he said.
“May be”, she agreed.
“Why don’t you call somebody at home, they can come down & wake up the watchman may be.” He told her.
“I can’t do that” she said.
“Why” he asked
“I just can’t”. She offered irritated.
“So what do you plan to do then” he asked
“Why do you care? I don’t know what I’ll do. May be just wait here all night till this drunk fellow wakes up or whatever yaaaa. Why are you here by the way?”
Her tone in the beginning was of anger then towards the end it was calm. She thought it was best to talk nicely & get rid of this fellow. So that then she can decide how to deal with the night.
“I just thought I could help” he clarified.
“Oh help” she said & sighed. She then shook her head, put her right hand on the forehead, looked up & did a shake of the head again. Obviously she didn’t know what to say. Many moments passed like that. He just stood there waiting to see what she would say or do & she just stood waiting to think of some way to get rid of this guy. She couldn’t think of how to react. In frustration she went over and sat down at the footpath, covered her face with her hands & put it down on her lap.
Many moments later she looked up. The guy was resting against his bike. What struck her more was that it was suddenly very dark there. She looked around a bit & soon understood what had happened. There was a power cut. She looked at the guy again; he was looking at her too. She got up & walked to him. He got alert by that & shifted to a standing position & faced her directly.
“You want to help right, tell me how can you help”, she asked firmly.
“I’ll do what I can surely. Tell me what help you need”
“God”, she said & put her hand to the forehead again & did a small walk around there. “Look” she continued “for now can you take me somewhere, I mean for the night, just go sleep”
Almost as soon as she said it, she changed her mind, “No forget it. No. No. I don’t think I want to do that. I just don’t understand why you are so keen on helping me here. I don’t even know you. I have never seen you. I don’t even know your name. Bad idea. I am sorry. Please forget I said something like that. I am sorry if I gave you ideas that I may need your help or something. Forget it. Just leave. OK…wait… why should you leave, you can stay here if you want…I think I’ll go….”And she began to walk.
He ran after her & stopped her by holding her hand.
“Don’t touch me” she screamed. Tears were rolling down her face & she began to walk faster.
“I am sorry” he said, even as she was walking away.