Friday 15 June 2012

Flash Fiction 2012 Longlist, Nabanita Dhar


It was raining cats and dogs; there was an uncanny silence in the air; all you could hear were the rain drops. It was past midnight; her shift had ended; there was no soul in sight as she waited for her cab. It had been just over a month since she started working in the Call centre much against her parents’ wishes. After all a customer call centre Job in Gurgaon had all the makings of a tragedy waiting to happen.

As she waited for her cab; her mind rushed back to horrific stories where she had heard about rapes and murders in this part of the town. She was dripping wet in the rain and in the fear of the known- unknown! The rain showed no intension to subside nor the cabbie was in sight. Ironically the street light next to the stop she was waiting in started to flicker. It was right out of the scene of a horror movie, the part just before the arrival of the demon. Of course this was her real life and not a movie for her to close her eyes and pass through the scary parts.

The wind grew wilder, the raindrops bigger but there was no end to her wait. The cabbie was not picking up her calls and she could not even find an auto to take her back to her office or even her home. She was new in town, and hardly knew anyone who could come to her rescue at this unearthly hour. As she ran permutations and combinations of all the options available to her suddenly she saw a qualis approaching her. She froze in fear from the stories of women being forced into such cars and driven around city while being raped. She wished she had listened to her folks and not relocated to take such a job. She cursed her decision as she frantically sought an option to not fall prey to another such incident and become just another statistic in these ever increasing reports of crimes against women.

Running out of options she finally took out the pepper spray. As the quails stopped near her and the glasses were being drawn down; she recited couplets from the hanuman chalisa and pointed the pepper spray towards the car window ready for assault. There it was the moment of truth; the do or die hour for her. As she was about to press on the nozzle, a lady in a kind voice spoke from within the car. It was her manager! It wasn’t a rapist or a murderer. It was someone who knew her and stopped to offer her a lift home!

As she accepted the lift; she heaved a sigh of relief. She knew she couldn’t ever be gladder to see her manager then that night! It was as if someone above had made sure of her safety. It was a lucky coincidence that she would be forever grateful for!

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