Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hell Ride

"100 rupiya," the serious faced autowala brashly. The fare-meters in the Delhi autos are placed just for display, as we all know, there is no point any auto-wala would agree on the metered-rate.

With just two seconds of mind-dwindling Anoushka with her friend Swati boarded the auto. She was going towards Vasant Vihar for the first time in her three years long stay in Delhi. So she had no idea what's the ideal fare for the distance while the autowala too was looking gratified(in a unique way) having encountered zero tryst with bargaining.

Her friend-cum-roommate Swati had to fill up the JNU entrance test form and Anoushka was more than eager to accompany her, after all it gave her an evident break from the irksome books of History, whose exams were waiting around the corner with a sly smile.

"It's so very sultry. Summers came so soon," Swati switched on her loudspeaker.
"Really," Anoushka said staring at the meter affixed in the auto quite curiously.

She switched on the meter, without the notice of the autowala, and whispered to Swati, "This way we would be able to bargain for the fare for the return journey, since we would come to know the exact fare for the place."

Swati, quite indifferent to Anoushka's smartness replied quite audibly, "We are wise enough not to be fooled by these dumbass auto-drivers."

"Madamji, have you read the newspaper today?" The autowala suddenly found a thing called tongue hiding in his mouth.

"No, not exactly. What's so special about it?" Swati said.

"Zaroor iski photo nikli hogi!" Anoushka remarked in a very low volume and both of them sparked into a wild laughter.

"Madam, it is nothing to laugh about. Since you have boarded my auto, it is my duty to make you aware about something. A week ago, a dead body of a woman was found in the ridge in Kamla Nagar area. The body was traced and it was found out that it was the dead body of a student of DU itself."

Their laughter had taken a U-turn and went back to its place of hiding.

"So what is so special about it in 'today's' newspaper?" Swati said in a grave tone. The sudden advent of a portable newschannel in the form of autowala seemed quite bizarre to them.

"The murderer was caught. It was an auto-wala." The autowala said. The noises of the crowd around came to a standstill for the bubbly duo. They were not only looking serious but also smelling so! ... being sweat drenched.

"The murderer was a licensed auto-driver and the girl boarded his auto late at night from the railway station. The girl didn't know the way where she was to go and that bastard took her near a secluded place, took all her money and tried to assault her. And when she resisted, he did the unmentionable and finally strangled her."

The meter was clicking with time and was at 21.70 rupees, but their eyes were completely unaware the meter. Their eyes were paralyzed, throat parched and breaths uneven. Taken aback with elements of fear as well as rage at the same time, their eyes kept staring at point of no focus.

"Bhaiya, ab bas bhi karo! We are not interested in knowing all this." Anoushka said irritably.

"Ok Madamji, but just reflect upon the condition. You girls sit in an auto and affix your phone up on your ears, having no idea where the auto-driver is taking you. He might divert from the way while you remain lost in having those lovey-dovey talks with your boyfriends and what-not? What do you expect out of us uneducated auto-drivers if you girls wear mini and micros and sit on the back seat of the auto? You two are cultured few, with decent robes but think about those chicks from your own universities who have nothing more than a small piece of rag to cover themselves up! They actually instigate any crime - the victim is only the convict!"

"Haan, bhaiya! You are right! Can you drive a little faster?" Anoushka urged to bring on this question session to an end. The meter had just crossed the thirty rupees mark, still some distance to go.

"Sure madamji. What I want to advise you is to be alert. Know your way and check whether the auto-wala is talking to someone over the mobile phone or not, because any evil cannot be performed single-handedly. Carefully note the number plate before you board the auto and if the autowala looks suspicious then just get down as and when possible."

"We are getting late bhaiya! Can't you speed up a bit?" Swati asked, this time a bit sternly.

"There is this short cut here, it will take just five minutes to go." The auto-wala said and drifted the auto towards the short cut. Innumerable trees on both the sides, numerable dogs - with face like wolves around - and not a single vehicle was all the four beautiful eyes could see. It was a boulevard of abnormal lull with the noise of auto buzzing around.

The eyes of the duo were appalled with danger. The sudden movement of the autowala 's right hand caught Anoushka's attention and what he took out of his pocket boiled up more than a litre of her blood.

It was not a dagger, nor a revolver neither anything that could harm anyone. It was just a simple mobile-phone, the thing which helps you disturb your bf/gf during their sleep! The duo were horrified to the maximum.

"Stop! I said 'stop'! Will you stop it!" Anoushka screamed out at her maximum volume pervading through all the lull and mystic stillness. The auto was braked after a much noisy screech of the tyre!

"What happened madamji?" The autowala asked quite genuinely.

"Take your 100 bucks and get lost otherwise I will call the police." Swati lost her temper this time.

"What did I do? What mistake did I commit! I just made you aware!" The autowala pleaded.

"Just get lost." Both of them screamed and turned back and forged ahead as fast as they could towards the main road. The autowala moved back to his auto. He pushed the crispy 100 rupees note in his shirt pocket. He saw the meter stagnating at 45 rupees. He did nothing unusual. He just restarted it and rode past them leaving them in a sea of dust behind the auto, with their heartbeat still struggling to get back to the normal with frequent step-ups due to the barking of the wolf-like-dogs. But nevertheless, they were happy to see that the main road was now quite visible near the horizon.

1 hour later

Swati bought the newspaper and after much exploration she found a news about an auto-driver headlined, "Auto-driver or a Hell-rider", with an excerpt from it quoted below:

Professionally, he is not a criminal but he has a special expertise in relating the criminal activities in explicit details. Seven cases against this unknown auto-driver have been registered. A story teller with great precision, he convinces girls that there exists some imaginary auto driver who is less of a driver and more of a rapist, and in the midway the passengers are convinced that the criminal is the driver himself ... passengers entrapped in fear pay him the full fare and run away to get rid of his company ... Most of the victims are college going girls...especially the outspoken and the over-stylish ones...Beware!

Swati shrieked, "Dumbass!"

P.S. Inspired from a true incidence.
P.S. If you don't comment, I will give you a hell ride!
P.S. The advices that the auto-wala gave are still universal. It has not yet happened but no wonder it may. Crime can resurface anytime anywhere. Just be alert!


Steve said...

Great Thoughts !! I came to know about you from a blogger Apoorv-iit-delhi ( Red your article & like to be friends..-Steve(

Apoorv Jain said...

oodi baba! m already publicising u :P

yshfn said... tells sth whch shud b natural bt z forgotten totally!!

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Roopali Dutta said...

Funny one....!!!!

Tussi toh great ho...!!!!!

BTW i wish I dnt get a Hell Ride kyk dis.. lol....

Sugandha said...

Made for a nice short read, though I could foresee that it can't be like the auto-wala doing something wrong, 'coz that must be the first thought in most readers' minds, but I could least think of the real motive!

Liked it :):)

Anonymous said...

oh God!!!!gewdness...its aktulee a hell ride!!!
no more night autos!!!

shiv_reaper said...

its amazing and the reality of life how we ignore little things and instead of using our mind blame others or try to get away from it .
amazing blog .

mitusha said...

typically ur way of giving plots a u turn!!!!!

Silpara said...

Nice story. I really like reading stories which maintain a state of suspense in the mind and in the end let it happen with an awe.