Humans at times are more dangerous than ghosts!!!
Maitreyee, my friend wrote this on her face book and it reminded me of an incident that happened in 1994. I was working in Mumbai and staying as paying guest in Vile Parle, in a flat shared by another friend, a journalist by profession. Those were the times when the STD calls used to be at ½ the rate post 11pm or something like that. It was our usual practice of going post 11pm to make call to her parents. Parla was a middle class Maharashtrian and Gujarati locality and was very safe .
That day it was past 11.30pm and we were walking back to our PG accommodation .We had only our wallets and house keys with us. The road was quiet except for few hawkers who were closing their wares and few people. On the road just outside the walkway to our lane was a Police Patrol van.
A man was walking ahead of us and turned into our lane a little after we turned inside. There were only two building and we thought he may be someone’s guest. Our apartment was before the second one. Again the man seemed to walk towards the other building but turned in to ours just after us. I thought maybe he made a mistake. Often people mistake one building for the other and so we let him go ahead of us. Most people had closed their doors and there was no security in building. My friend Jyoti (with her journalistic instincts) had sensed something amiss and pulled me back just as we entered the building. Not to be taken aback, I assured her confidently that this being our building, we shouldn’t worry about it. The man by then had reached on the top of first landing. He turned back and stepped aside saying “ jaiye jaiyee, gabhriey nahin..’. I felt it was weird but still started bravely going up. I was just about to go past him, when he turned and tried to grab my neck, since I was already instinctively aware, I jumped the entire steps in one long jump and was at the exit in the next step. My friend meanwhile ran out , screaming for help..Since the Police Van was just out side our lane, they came but by then the man had vanished. He probably scaled over the back side wall and melted into the darkness.
The Police searched the place twice over but couldn’t find anybody. In this entire commotion not a single person from the building even bothered to open the door. The police had noticed us walking up in the lane and thought the man was our acquaintance. We were rattled to our skin or bones whatever the expression was. Needless to mention that we both did not dare to report this incident back home. One thing we were sure of was that man was certainly not after our wallets as he had enough time to snatch it while walking with us or on the staircase.
As precaution we ensured that some always dropped us till our doorstep. I always made sure that my female subordinates or friends are always escorted till door step. I personally avoid travelling alone late at night. I also avoid any red eye flights from other cities because one is unaware of roads in a unknown city.
And last but not the least I thank God for protecting us that day .....