Sidhu came earlier than usual from office. He made a cup of hot chocolate, switched on the AC and reclined on sofa. The news channel was blaring. The anchor had assembled a few young and old for debating how the government can put an end to the menace of daily rapes and molestations taking place. There were strong and heated arguments about lack of police patrol as the entire force is deployed on VIP security. Someone accused the media and cinema industry for the growth of this scourge. One political person presumably drawn from opposition attributed it to lack of governance. Some blamed the IT and BPO industry for not giving protection. Someone pointed out it is only the young girls who walked on the roads who are abducted and molested and not the IT girls going in office- arranged cabs. One old man accused the girls for inviting trouble by their skimpy dress while a young girl attacked him as a Rip Van Winkle. Sidhu could not contain his laughter.
The morning papers carried headlines of a sex maniac stalking the neighborhood attacking young girls walking alone after dusk or in lonely roads. They were killed after the dastardly act. Four cases have already been reported within two weeks and police had no clue whatsoever. The TV channels spoke of the cunning and quick manner in which he attacked the unsuspecting victims appearing suddenly from nowhere like tiger pouncing on its prey. Though there were no eye witness accounts many spoke of near experience and how they escaped .Such stories often get exaggerated with a good mix of imagination with real. Yet they created a scare in the minds of people that parents hesitated to permit girls to stir out alone. The working girls trooped out of office in groups. They carried pepper spray in their bags and even pen knives. Karate schools did brisk business with girls making a beeline to master self defense. When they mentioned even young men in teens were potential victims, the scare was complete.
Sidhu wondered how fast the modern communication systems purveyed the news to the public giving them opportunity to be alert and protect themselves. Nevertheless the sex maniac had not slowed down his escapades and had already four in his kitty. No doubt the number of girls walking in isolated roads have become less making the job for maniac difficult. He felt girls with pepper spray or skill in martial arts had a better chance against the maniac on prowl.
It was 7pm.He switched off the TV. He had some work outside. The news upset him. He had a quick shower, changed his clothes and took off in his powerful motorbike. The sky was overcast and it was dark. Barring the main thoroughfare, even medium roads sported a desolate look. He saw a little yonder a tall girl of may be 20 walking hurriedly to join the main road. The road was dim with lights few and far between. Has she not watched TV or read newspapers, he wondered. How foolish of her to walk alone in this lonely stretch, he thought. As he neared her, she hurried her steps. But he drove fast and screeched to halt before her.
“Do not be afraid. Care for a lift? Don’t you know that it is not safe to walk alone in this deserted road?” he said to the trembling but beautiful girl.
She looked at both sides of the road and found no vehicle or pedestrian in sight. She was silent and shivering in fear
“Come on. It is just a two hundred yards. I will drop you at the main road” he assured her
When she sat on the pillion, the motorbike made a sudden U turn and hurried with the girl screaming.
The next day papers carried the headline in bold letters
Unsuspecting girl waylaid and criminally assaulted before being strangled”