A Narrow Escape…

I never thought I would be writing something like this on my blog. Amidst all the stories of pleasant adventures, I never thought, I will be writing about an experience dreadful enough to send a shudder down the spine and make the hairs stand on their ends. Call it a “near to death” experience! Call it a brawl with death itself!

It happened. Few years back, we bought a land in Bangalore near the outskirts, where the prices are very cheap. It’s a promising land, for in the coming years its value is bound to skyrocket, owing to the fast-paced development going on there. I would often visit the site to ensure there’s no encroachment upon it, as the area is pretty countrified, and there’s no barricades around the land. It’s a desolate area, and if you go there in afternoon, you will barely find any humans walking around.

After a pleasant stroll across the site today, I took to home. But quarter way through that I might have reached, I received a call on my phone—it was a friend. So, I stopped to receive the call and we started talking.

It was a very pleasant weather, for the sun was veiled behind dark clouds, and the breeze was cool and comforting. I talked for long, standing beside the lonely road. It was a very desolate place with thickets on one side, and a batch of housing sites on the other–a moorland. People rarely visit here. Only occasionally, you can find some college students who come with their lovers to have some private time, maybe booze a little, or just have fun. Certainly, not a threat!

But they were no college students—five men on two bike who seem to come towards me. I was still on the phone, and when I saw then halt by my side, I thought, well, it must be something that they want to ask me—directions or time…I hung the phone up, and nodded at one of them—a formidable young man he was. His grey shirt looked tattered and old, and by this getup, he appeared to be some kind of a wretched vagabond. The other men, equally wretched and grungy, came around me in a circle, and I felt a little intimidated. Then my eyes fell on their hands. My heart came in my mouth!

All had a machete with them—rusted, long, vile and surely stained with blood. It was a kind of knife you see at the fish stalls—maybe it was fish blood…or human’s? After seeing the knife, I felt a strange dizziness in my head—a peculiar lightheadedness you get before fainting. They were flashing their machetes while still holding it low at their thighs, and talking to each other in their native tongue. A little I could understand, and while they were engaged among themselves, my mind was helplessly conjuring images of my silted throat, and my disemboweled belly. Then I remembered my mom. I imagined my family wailing over my blood-stained corpse.

Then the guy with the grey shirt came to real business. He nodded at one of his accomplice, who came behind me and held me by the collars. I stood there like a petrified mouse, and at that point I saw one of the man raising his machete at my neck. I felt like a chicken ready to be butchered; I had had chicken for lunch, and for some reasons, all I could see in my mind were chickens. When death is waiting on you, you may have weird moments. This was a weird moment for me.

Then I felt a hand probing my pocket. They checked my wallet. No money ! Now they’re surely gonna kill me, I thought. Maybe that’s what they were talking about among themselves. What was that laugh about? Are they gonna stab me in the belly? Are they gonna shove the pointed edge of the machete into my spine? Or, maybe they were planning to thrash me a little before murdering me—just for fun, you know!

I felt two hands probing my back pocket. They found my phone—my Samsung Galaxy A7. “Please take my phone. Let me go”, I said politely, as if requesting to a brother, “Let me go, I wont tell anyone”. The phone, being little expensive, did the trick. They decided to leave with the phone, but it was not over yet. The climax was yet to come—they snatched my scooter key, mounted on their bikes and rode away.

I was stranded in the moor, my heart still palpating. Where should I go? There were no human settlements around. I started running through the fields, crossing one site after another, stopping not until I reached a marble cutting establishment in the middle of the moorland. I narrated the incident to some workers, who couldn’t offer me anything but their sympathies.

:”How far is main road from here?”, I asked

“A little far”, they said

“Is it safe this way?”

“Yes. Yes”, they assured.

So I took to the main road, and waited for a taxi.

An Auto-rickshaw approached, and I narrated the incident to him. He agreed to take me to the crime scene, so that I could get to my scooter and get it towed out of the moorland in return for a few hundred bucks. I reached there, and to my relief I found the key fallen on the ground some five meters away from the bike. Maybe they came back to check out on me. Or to return the key. Or they had changed their mind and decided to kill me fearing that I would have noted their bike number which I didn’t…who knows? But I was glad I ran away at that moment. I was also glad they returned the key, albeit in a very cinematic way. They surely got a taste for the theatrics.

I requested the auto driver to guide me out of the place, for I didn’t had the courage to be alone in there anymore. And he was glad to help, and took me to the nearest ATM. I paid him a hundred buck extra of what I had promised out of gratitude, and then drove back home. I reported the case to police and I visited the site again in night with cops.

Let’s hope the cops catch the criminals, so that when they call me for identification, I can shove my fist into their jaws and break their teeth. But  for now, I would like to say something to all of you out of this experience:

Many people watch such crimes in films and hear about it in news. To experience it in reality is a nerve-racking experience. India is not a safe place. People you see walking on the streets may turn out to be burglars, rapists, murderers. You see news of babies getting raped every now and then, women being assaulted, molested and murdered, tourists getting robbed of their belongings and what not. I can relate to the victims of such crimes now. I can feel how a girl must be feeling when confronted with a group of rapists, who are certain to murder her after rape to evade identification. What if there was a girl in my place? Would they have just robbed her and let her go? Is our country safe to move around, especially in times when solo traveling along the countryside is becoming popular among male and female adventurers? Certainly, one must be careful. I would to advice all of you to be very alert while going to any remote places, for the country is filled with criminals who may look like a normal tax-paying citizen, but their hearts may be filled with horrors of unimaginable kinds.

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