How am I supposed to recognize you, if you don’t send me your pic?”, she had asked exasperatedly on the phone.

“Hey… let the blind date be blind”, he had replied in that heavenly baritone. “I will be wearing a white formal shirt; look out for a lavender pocket square peeking out.”

Giggling softly, Sharmila disconnected.

Wearing her sexiest lingerie, she readied herself for the encounter with a man, whom she had never met. Not for her the idea of going slow and steady. She loved her men to be lusty, lascivious and hungry. She knew how to trigger their passion and initiate the first move. The move to the bed…if available; or wherever a little privacy could be grabbed. After wearing the gown, she pulled at it from the front, just a hint of cleavage and she was ready.

The Coffee Shop selected by her date was in Northern part of the city. Hiring a taxi, she was on her way. Then it started pouring, catching the denizens of Mumbai off-guard. Thankfully she was inside the cab but she reached 15 minutes late for the encounter.

Getting down, she made a dash for the Coffee Shop. As she entered inside, she glanced all across the room but her date was not to be seen.

As the minutes ticked by, she was seething with irritation. She stormed out of the Shop, fuming.

She was relieved to see an empty cab coming down the street, with a lady driver. She flagged it and entered.

She glanced into the rearview mirror and saw a pair of cold eyes staring at her.

“You bitch! You destroyed my life and now it’s my turn”, screamed the driver. “You will pay for all the transgressions.”

So saying, she stepped on the gas…Sharmila saw the cold eyes and thought “oh my God…  These are known eyes…yes yes… I’ve definitely seen them before. Oh yes, these are my old classmates’ eyes. It is Kalyani Despaney’s.”

The moment she was about to call her name, Kalyani looked back and stretched her left hand towards Sharmilas purse. With an eagle’s speed, she snatched it away from the car’s seat.

Sharmila was awestruck and couldn’t do anything but just sit there like a statue. She felt uncertain about to escape in any way.  The cab moved on continuously with great speed while she tried to unsuccessfully open the child-locked car.

Sharmila had no way to escape from the driver. She was trapped.

She was on a ride with trepidation.

Kalyani took out her cell phone from the purse and switched it off. It was pouring outside.  When the cab passed over a bridge, she threw the phone into the water.

No escape.

Kalyani smirked, “Did you know the man who called you? You idiot,  he was hired by me? He told you exactly what I directed him to. I have been planning to execute this for six months after I took this job of a cab driver. It worked today.”

She continued,”you cheap woman! I’m working a low wage job only because of you.  You spoiled my life.  I was a good student.  My parents hoped to see me clear the UPSC exams. “

Kalyani started off with her ranting again… this time with an even more piercing tone she said, “you whore, first you snatched away my boyfriend, Mohit. Then with the unholy money of your corrupt politician father, you were able to do whatever you pleased. I went into depression after losing Mohit. My studies got hampered. Even then I knew my grades would have been enough to make me pass.  I knew your father tampered with the system and made me fail my exams so that you could get a chance to pass.”

“But I didn’t make you fail in the exams “, Sharmila mustered the courage to utter.

Kalyani exclaimed, “shut up bitch,  it’s you and only you who spoiled my life”. She also asked,  “what did you tell Mohit about me?”, ” he told me later,  when he broke up with you, that I was the daughter of a lower-middle-class accountant. you have the power to entice anyone and everyone, but why would anyone want a relationship with you?  You go on flirting with every  Tom dick  and Harry, you shameless  and sick person!”

Sharmila desperately called out for help pulling the handles of the cab but not able to open them. There were no people on the street to call out because of the rain. She wondered where Kalyani was going to take her!

She entreated Kalyani, “where are you taking me?  Please have mercy on me. I want to go home please stop the car and leave me alone. “

“Mercy my foot”, roared Kalyani. ” my father was killed on a road accident while returning from the diamond showroom. Can you imagine our plight then? We lost all or money.  My mother tried her best to keep the family together and somehow collected enough for her three children. As I am the eldest, she had great expectations from me but you scoundrel!  You spoilt everything. My mother sold all her valuables just to pay for the rent  of the house and basic necessities. My uncle who looked over our mortgages was unaware that mother sold her ornaments just to pay off debts and to pay the admission fee for the driving school she enrolled me to  while you lived your life happily and now you are asking for mercy.”

She was thinking how rude Kalyani had become!

Circumstances change a human,  when one’s dreams are shattered, when one is betrayed, the good emotions vanish. The person becomes emotionally shut down and finds a reason to take revenge. Humiliation,  defeat, and difficulties had made Kalyani a rigid person.

Sharmila bravely but timidly spoke, ” Kalyani!  I beg of you. Stop the cab. Let me alight here.  I can manage to reach home please just leave me alone.  Where are you taking me?   I have never seen this area of Mumbai.”

“You are now going to stay here in this area so take a good look.” Kalyanis sounded full of hate and disrespect.

“Stay here? What do you mean by stay here? And with whom? “Sharmila exclaimed.

“With whores”,  replied Kalyani. “this place is the Lal bazaar and is also the infamous red light area since the British rule.”

Sharmil felt awful.  The stylish, gorgeous, haughty and rich Sharmila is now trapped by the daughter of a mere accountant of an ornament store.

She couldn’t think of a way to escape. How was she in an inescapable condition! What would her family,  society think? What would they ask her if they found her here?  She prayed vehemently to God.

God Is the ultimate recluse to humans in trouble. Sharmila was now crying and in desperate need of help.

Her sobs made Kalyani feel better as she smirked at the sight of her crying.  This gave her sadistic pleasure.

She continues ranting, “I  know your father,  the most notorious man, will search for you with his connections with the police and they will ultimately find you.but from where?  From this disgusting  place in lal bazaar….wat will they  find  you.”  Kalyani then gave an evil laugh.

Sharmila kept crying for help while Kalyani continued insulting her, ” and your father the most corrupt man,  how is going to deal with the embarrassment. Media and newspapers will flash this news. I have given them enough money so that they can spread this news so that you get humiliated.  Your father and you are going to suffer a lot.”

“And I feel no regret at all for doing this… Who told him to tamper with the tabulation of the exam and make me fail”, Kalyani was now fuming with anger.

She stopped for a while and realised Sharmila was now unconscious. She thought how vengeful she had turned.  She had behaved so cruel towards Sharmila, who was in the same class as her and in the same college.

The cab has reached their destination. Two madams were waiting outside the house to take the hostage in.  They harshly dragged her inside.  No-one was there to listen to the cries of poor Sharmila.

Kalyani reversed her cab and proceeded towards the city.  The planning she had done had finally gotten executed. She heaved a sigh of relief.

But can revenge ever truly give one relief?….

P S- This story is pure imagination. The names of persons and places are fictional.


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Photo by Benjamin Nwaneampeh