It was extremely hot on the barren highway with a not a tree on either side. The sun blazoned in its full fury.Naresh has been driving for two hours towards Jaipur.A little away he saw some figure getting up from the culvert on seeing his car. As he drew nearer, he found it was a young village woman with a bag in hand, clad in a sari with disheveled hair and sweaty face. As he drove past her he could see that she was tall, slim with well chiseled features. He was struck with remorse at ignoring her pleading eyes and reversed the car to her side. She looked sun tanned and totally tired.
“Where are you going? How long are you waiting?” he asked her
“To Jaipur, Saheb.It is more than two hours and no bus stops here.”
“Okay, get in. I am also going there” As she hesitated not knowing where to get in, he opened the front door.
He drove silently for some time and then asked “Is Jaipur your home town?”
“No, it is a village here. There is no work here. My husband is a lazy and violent alcoholic. I am leaving him for good and going in search of some work. I have some relatives there” she replied
“You look so young. Any kids?”
“Luckily no. I am married for less than two years”
Naresh wished to stop at rest room. He saw one a little away. He stopped the car and was for a fraction of a second hesitant whether to leave her alone in the car. Unusual for a village belle, she spoke confidently with clarity.”Do you also wish to come? “ he asked
When she declined, he rushed to the toilet and came back as quickly.
“Had you come, we could have had some cool drink. It is so hot outside. My throat is parched” he said and took the bisleri bottle kept by his side and gulped half the bottle. He offered her the balance but she declined.
He would have driven hardly for 15 minutes when he clutched his head and said that he was feeling giddy. He stopped the car and she in what seemed a concerned manner had his head rest on her shoulders before he blacked out. She got out of the car and pulled him to the side seat and made him recline in sitting posture even as she sat behind the wheel with a grin on her face.
She opened her bag and changed to a clean and swanky salwar suit, dabbed her face with a makeup kit and combed her hair and wore sun goggles. She was transformed in a jiffy to a modern young lady as she took a U turn towards Delhi. She drove for some distance till she found a motel cum rest room. She swerved the car to the rear side and parked it. She opened the computer bag that was in the rear seat and found some money. She took the bag and opened one of the windows and walked briskly away.
As she came out with a coke bottle in hand and the computer bag, she found one car coming out of the parking lot driven by a young man. She raised her thumb and the man asked her whither she was going
“Hop in” he said as he opened the front door
She gave him one of her seductive smile and said “It is so sweet of you. I am Lolita” as she settled down in her seat almost brushing close to him.
“Vinod, it is a privilege and pleasure to be of small help to you. How come you were stranded here?”
“My car broke down and I am in a hurry to Gurgaon.Luckily I met my Good Samaritan in you “she said as she fondly patted him on his shoulder.
“What do you do for living? Single?”
“I do many things. Though an advertisement executive by profession, I like to socialize, dance and mingle with men. I am single. How about you?”she asked not lifting her hand off his shoulder.
“Me too a single and am into real estate but fix many deals that are lucrative. I look forward to a lasting friendship with you” he said as he put his hand on her thigh. She did not make any effort to brush his hand away. Emboldened he stopped the car at the side and drew her near to give her a peck.
“Not now. Later as much as you wish after we reach Gurgaon.I told you I am in a hurry. We will meet may be tomorrow itself” she said
As he was a little disappointed, he drove silently even as she caressed his hair. As they were nearing Gurgaon.she said abruptly”Look out to your right side at the petrol pump that is a little away. Stop the car for a moment”
When he turned his head after he stopped the car, he felt a sledge hammer karate blow on the region near the neck and collar bone. He felt something crack inside as he slumped down unconscious. She quickly rummaged his bag and found wads of currency. She filled the computer bag and threw the computer behind a bush. Making him sit in upright position, she walked away quickly from the vehicle.
As a three wheeler with an old driver stopped by, she got in and said “Mall”. She thrust a five hundred rupee note in the hands of a dazed driver at the mall and hurried inside with the computer bag in her hand only to get lost in the vast crowd of shoppers.