साहित्य शनिबार-


(Sumati Maharjan)

The hour needle in my watch stroked exactly eleven. I had to leave or it would be too late to pick up my husband at the airport. I left the party while all the others were busy adding up few more pegs to their wine glasses. I took the keys from my bag and started to drive the car and had almost dodged out of the huge gate when I noticed that another car had its headlights on too. Not thinking too much about it, I drove at my own speed. The car behind started speeding towards mine. Who could be in the car? I glanced at the side mirrors but couldn’t figure out who was in the driver’s seat.
Is that person following me? But why would someone follow me, this late anyway? I increased my speed. Maybe someone wanted to kidnap me or maybe someone didn’t like my advertisement. It could have been a person from our rival advertising agency who might not want us to go ahead with our proposal. Who knows: the person might want to kill me or thrash me.There was an equal possibility that, seeing a woman on her own, someone just might have had cooked up some evil plan. Or probably the person might have been thinking of robbing me off all my accessories, which in any case were not worth much other than the diamond watch. I hoped it wasn’t glittering too much! Any of those could be the reason. I thought I should call someone for help and dug in my bag for my cell-phone. But alas! It was nowhere to be found and worse, I couldn’t remember when I took it out the last time. Okay! So the plan was already made, even before I left. That person must have taken my cell-phone knowing that I would use it to seek help. Very smart, I pondered.
I checked again on the side mirrors, it was too dark to see the person inside the car. Precisely at that instant I valued my life never like before. I knew I was running for my life and my safety was in my own hands. Yes, my hands, the ones on the steering wheel in front…

“But what if something happens to me?” I had started to sweat and my face was glistening silver on the front view mirror and it was going blue with fear. Niti, what would Niti do? If anything went wrong with me, would my daughter ever forgive me for not listening to her when she had begged me to stay home tonight? I had started to get scared and nervous and I could hear my heart beat as loud as a ringing bell.
And what about Sabik? Without me, would he be able to live alone? Would he remarry? What if he finds someone better than me? Niti, my poor daughter, would be left in isolation. “What do I do, oh god!” I screamed out loud but wasn’t sure if it indeed was my voice or someone else’s. The stranger’s car was still chasing me down and I was trying my best to keep up the pace, to run away, just run away as the airport was still around 20-25 kilometres away. The road was dumpy, narrow and dark without any houses around. It surely was a scary place to be at night time, without any lights around the road. And then suddenly my car jolted slightly at the back. It surely wasn’t an earthquake! I turned back only to realise that the chasing car was close behind …too close, I thought. I would puke out my heart into my palms. There was a man inside, this much I could clearly make out and he was raising his hand with a small object clasped in it and was moving his head and saying something, which I couldn’t hear for my ears had ceased to function with its cells temporarily dead because of fear. I tried to move even faster with all my energy concentrated in my hands on the steering-wheel. I felt we were almost playing the game of touch-and-run, which I frequently used to play with my little daughter.

That small thing in his hand, it could possibly be a revolver, or a knife. I was murmuring to an imaginary person by my side. I was almost sure that this person wanted to at least hurt me if not stab me or gun me down. This thought scared the hell out of me and I was now running my car like a mad carter on her wild buffalo.

“Hey, Nisha….Nisha…..”

I heard the person calling out my name loudly, poking his head out of the car. “Okay, so he even knows my name!” I thought. He must be some kind of a stalker.

Finally from the corner of my eyes, I could see the airport gate. I had no patience and wanted to rush in but then there was security check just outside the entrance gate. One of the guards signaled to halt my car, and also the one chasing me. As soon as I stopped, the person from the chasing car came towards me, running. I was almost ready to hide behind the guard and scream when he calmly held that object in front of me and said.

“Nisha, you forgot your cell-phone in the party. I’ve been trying to catch up with you all the way but all in vain.”
“Ohh….my cell-phone…I thought something else….” I sighed with relief. I recognised that he was our new business associate with whom I was introduced to earlier in the party.
My husband was waiting for me in the terminal. As soon as he saw me, he got up and asked “Is everything ok honey? You are sweating. huh?”
“Everything is fine. Just a bit excited to see you after a month…you know…”
“Oh… you love me so much…”
I blinked my eyes twice to none but myself, for the embarrassing emotion has to be kept secret. Sushh…….
(Published in Kathmandu Post on May 03,2009)


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