“If you are okay then you can enter the cab.”
Uthrani thought for a while whether to occupy the cab or not. She heard some gossips few times that it is not safe to take a cab alone that too when a security guard is not accompanying.
She began considering what to do. She cannot go by herself as it is a bigger risk and also she cannot take the cab as a little bit of risk is involved even in that. The other option she has is to ask Ishanth to drop her. The moment she got that thought in her mind, she said to herself “No. No. I have to erase that from my mind at least till mom is here. I cannot give another explanation to mom today. Yesterday is the first day and so she dint drag it long. Today if I repeat the same thing, then she will definitely not believe and that will be a bigger risk.” Saying this to herself, she decided to take the cab.
While she is travelling in the cab, she began to think about the little argument that happened with her mother last night. Her mother saw Uthrani getting down from Ishanth’s bike. After the dinner, she asked Uthrani about that.
“This is the first time you are getting late?”
Uthrani doesn’t know what to say. She cannot lie as she had come late many times before. And she also cannot say yes because she used to call their parents and say that she reached flat even though she worked late nights at office.”
“No Mom. I came late twice before.”
“Your room mates reached by 08:30 PM. Why did you become late?”
“Mom. They are from different project.”
“You all work for same company right.”
“Yes Mom. But still projects will vary. They work in some other project.”
“All right. Your company provides cab facility right?”
“Ya. They do.”
“Then why dint you book cab?”
“I thought I would start early and so dint book. They won’t give cab if we don’t book 2 hours prior.”
“What’s that? When they are making you stay late, they have to provide cab facility right. Especially for girls.”
“Yes Mom. But, we have to book 2 hours before.”
Discussion went on for quite a long time. Her mother started asking so many questions. And Uthrani who was already tired with the work, brought out all the patience and answered her questions politely. All of a sudden, she asked about Ishanth.
“Who is that guy who dropped you?”
“He is Ishanth. We both work on the same project. It became too late that’s why dint introduce him.”
“All right. I just want to tell you one thing.”
“Try to start early from office or book a cab.”
“Mom. Ishanth is a good guy. Cabs were available at 01:00 AM service. As you will be alone here, I only asked him to drop.”
“I am not saying anything about you or about him. I don’t think it will be good when someone sees you getting down from a guy’s bike at this late night. You are yet to get married. Just a little advice that’s it.”
“I am not trying to argue or say anything to you. I just told what I wanted to tell you that’s it. You already know that these kind of jobs are not fit for a family like us. But, I argued with your father and made him agree to this. If he comes to know all these, it won’t be good. He will ask you to come back immediately. I do understand your dreams and so warning you before you run into any kind of problems”
Uthrani is from a nearby village in Gurgaon. Her father is a farmer. They are a middle income group family. She is the only daughter for their patients. From childhood, she Is good at studies and always aimed high. Initially her father dint agree when she told that she wants to work. But her mother who always used to hold her,is the one who made her father agree.
While she is thinking about all these, suddenly the driver stopped the car. Uthrani came out of those thoughts and asked him what happened.
“Madam. The car cannot go beyond this point.”
“Why? What happened?” asked Uthrani to the cab driver.
“Madam. The road is narrow, I cannot make a turn as this is a bigger vehicle. Do you have any other route?”
“Yes there is one. But, it takes another 15 minutes if we take that route now.”
“It’s fine with me Madam. Guide me.”
Uthrani thought for a while, every minute seemed valuable to her as she wants to reach home fast. Her mother will be waiting for her.
“That’s okay. I will walk and go. Thank you” said Uthrani to the driver and got down from the taxi and began walking to her apartment.
It is very dark out there with not much of the lighting and the time is near midnight. Uthrani walked every step carefully but quickly. She is already tensed as that route is not so advisable especially after late evenings. At every step, her tension doubled. After 2 minutes, she took a left turn and after walking a few yards, she felt like someone is following her. Now, fear added to her tension. A bunch of drunken people make abusive comments on girls, following them and threatening them. Even though there are no major incidents reported, girls don’t take that route after evening time. When she felt like somebody is watching her, she dint dare to return. She started placing longer steps so that she could reach faster. When she is almost a turn away from her flat, she saw a shadow just next to her. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw that shadow.
Guess the story: Whose shadow is that?
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