My job demanded irregular shifts. So one day after work, I started late from office, around 10 o’clock in the night. Since it was the month-end my wallet gave me a helpless look, so I decided to take one of the riskiest steps in a woman’s life. Yes, I walked all the way home, all alone, in the night. Being in Hyderabad for the past 2 years, I assumed I was fully acquainted with the ways of dealing with wrongdoers, rapists, molesters, and eve-teasers in the city. I was not concerned at all, let alone afraid. With my head held high, and a confident face, I walked, scorning at the peeping eyes I met along my way. Treading with valour and like a warrior, I walked into the dreamy light of the city.
After walking for 5 minutes, I had to take a pocket road. In no time, the scene seemed less appealing. All the glitters of the city had gone and, I lost my interest in staying brave. I realised someone was following me. Turning back to observe him, and by increasing and decreasing the pace of my walk, I concluded that a creepy guy was following me. I had no choice but to remain silent and walk as fast as I could, to reach the other side of the road, without him noticing that I understood what his intentions were.
It was in the middle of the successive walkathon that a car stopped by and enquired for directions and at the same time, the creep accidentally jumped in front of me. And that’s where it got interesting. I walked behind him with my 2 eyes fixated at his bald head, giving him one of those angry, scary looks whenever his eyes met mine. I matched my speed with his; walked fast when he did, slowed down when he reduced his pace.
Constantly turning back, he walked fast to a pan-shop for cigarettes, “Chota gold hai kya…do dena…” (do you have small Gold Flake? Give me 2). Without any second thought, I went to the pan-waala and asked for the same cigarette, “Mujhe vahi do”. Turning back, utterly shocked to see me behind him, he ran out of the shop without even collecting his ‘chota gold’. He would have never thought that a woman would follow him to a cigarette shop at past 10 in the night, and order a cigarette. The voice of the shopkeeper calling, “Baiyya ..lelo aur jao…” (brother, take your cigarettes and go) must have haunted him for sure.
It doesn’t matter whether you are insecure or scared inside, what matters is how you seem to others. A confident, strong and bold look can deceive any stranger.