(T)hank (G)od

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Here’s a short story on a non-conventional and satirical aspect of womanhood. The central theme is relevant to the present social conditions and brutal crimes that happen on women, for the Special Feature, exclusively for Different Truths. 

I work in a call center near Udayan Vihar industrial complex, New Delhi and stay in an old Government society at Barkhamba Road. My office lies inside a proposed SEZ sector (Special Economic Zone) surrounded by vast expanses of unoccupied lands with a number of under construction commercial buildings scattered here and there. Since the area becomes utterly deserted by late evening, my parents always insist me to leave office on time, preferably a little early. “These days Delhi is no more a safe place to stay” – this is what my parents keep muttering all the while around my ears when I start for office. And till the time I am back home, they keep calling me every now and then to confirm my safe existence. In recent past, there had been seven brutal gang rapes and a couple of attempted murders in that area, which added an augmenting impact on my aging parents.

I was on the night shift that day. Generally, I get a company arranged home drop facility, but that night due to a sudden breakdown, my cab could not turn up and I got awfully late to start from office. As both my parents were acute cardiac patients, I averted intimating them about the imminent hazards and thus dropped an SMS stating battery low as the evident reason and switched off my mobile. 

The distance from my office to home was close to 15 kilometers, with hardly any public vehicles running along the way after peak hours. Unfortunately, I had no choice than to either request for a lift from the ongoing traffic or take an improbably long walk straight to my home. Surrendering to the Almighty, holding my sling bag close to heart, I kept walking at my fastest possible speed along the lonely road, whispering Hanuman Chalisa at a lightning speed.

The road was well lit even during the late nocturnal hours, with barely any humans around. There were a few stray dogs barking at me from a distance, yet not so much of a nuisance once pebbles were thrown at them. The lamp posts were the sole companions on my way at the dead of night. Once in a while, some private cars cross passed me but none cared to stop for a help. Sadly, that’s what Delhi is all about now.
On the contrary, I was also not very sure if requesting for lift would be a safe option so late at night. Nevertheless, I kept walking, panting, and murmuring the shlokas on my own. Though well aware, in danger it won’t protect me, yet the faith in God infuses a divine power to fight against all odds.

I had covered more than two kilometers along the arterial road by then. At a distance not so far, the straight road had taken a gentle right turn ahead. Just by the side, there was a huge gated community under construction, with few towers being already handed over. Majority of the apartments were not yet occupied, which was evident from the apparent darkness inside the complex. Only a few of the floors were lighted, confirming the existence of human inhabitation. Otherwise, in a radius of at least five kilometers,
there were no chances of any residential communities.

It was autumn here, time for occasional rains. To my misfortune, it turned out to be a stormy night soon after I traversed the community area. I did not even reach halfway, when suddenly gusty winds started blowing from the southern sky, soiling the air with dry dust particles. I was in a cotton salwar suit; in moments a quick murky wind from behind blown away my dupatta, tangling badly my long-untied hairs, creating a mess altogether.

Just then a black Scorpio was crossing me from behind…few dirty comments did come to my ears. Not sure as my eyes were still hidden untidily behind haywire hairs, but those must have been thrown at me as there was no one else to be addressed to. The comments were soon followed by an emergency braking sound…hhhhssssshhhhh. As I looked up, the same Scorpio was slowing down at a little distance and right that moment I realised, what was waiting for me further.

Not to my surprise, three drunken fellows, palpably spoiled brats of some over rich dads, alighted with bottles of imported alcohol on one hand and the other looking for a support to stand straight. One among them winked at me, pointing his middle finger and demonstrated even filthier gestures to get me into the car. No intelligence was required to premontane the impending threats from these hooligans. While two of them had already started walking towards me with nasty gesticulations.

I was not given any chance to retract. In other words, I was rather thrown into the black monster by a couple of malignant male forces. And thereafter the car picked-up gears recklessly. Soon a Y-diversion came – the normal road at our right and the other was the lengthier elevated expressway. Obvious ensued; they kept left which during peak traffic would have been the best of two options, but at such odd hours, with hardly anyone around, there was no other reason to take the longer route.

I could feel my intensifying heartbeats, panting lungs, and stomach cramps as their behaviours started madly fluctuating with the electrifying acceleration along the elevated way. I was made to seat in the middle row with two hoodlums on either side, playing nasty games all the way. One of them had held my hands wildly ensuring no possible movements against his tough masculine forces.

Heading almost a kilometer from the junction, the car suddenly took a sharp halt and the one on driving seat jumped over me. The guy on my right was sickly drunk, who had been vomiting all the way. As the car stopped, his hostile senses roused frantically and started ripping my clothes with both his hands. Outside, the stormy gusts had stopped by then with drizzles outpouring the nocturnal obscurity of high roads. The oscillating wiper on the windscreen was perhaps the lone compassionate entity, crying alike with me.

With all my strength, I kept trying to resist myself from their filthy clutches, but it was never so easy to execute in veracity. I was half torn already with my clothes strewn here and there inside the car. My esteem was at stake and waiting to get battered shortly. 

Unexpectedly, just by a fluky stroke, which turned out to be a miracle in disguise for me though, they suddenly braked hard on the foul game, pitched a hell of dirty slangs at me, spit nastily on my face, kicked hard at my private parts, threw me out of their car and geared off in a minute.

It would have never been possible to fight against three malevolent mannish monsters all alone if destiny did not take my side. I really don’t know what should I say – shall I ‘Thank God’ (TG) for making me a ‘Trans-Gender’ (TG) by birth or abuse Him for not making me a complete man to fight against those atrocious thugs? Whatever it is, no shame in saying, it’s my gender that saved me that night from the inhumane physical assaults which being a woman, perhaps wouldn’t have left me alive to pen down their
villainous crime.

©Reetwika Banerjee

Photos from the Internet

#ShortStories #Fiction #IWD #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2018 #SpecialIssue 

Reetwika Banerjee is a Cyber Security Expert presently associated with a US consulting giant. She holds international MBA degree in Information System & Security and aims to be the face of women in security. During leisure hours, she enjoys writing books, news columns, travel blogs and films. She holds 2 World Records and 3 National Records for devising three innovative concepts in Modern Literature. A native of Kolkata, she is now a resident of Bangalore.