The train slowly departed from the noisy junction. It was past 10pm.The compartment was not crowded. The passengers were getting ready to sleep. Some lights had been switched off already. Three young men who looked ruffians and who had possibly boarded the train at the junction walked through the aisle looking presumably for vacant seats. They were in tight black T shit, red scarf around their necks tattoos in their forearms and metal bracelets on their wrists. In one of the bays, they found a young woman in her early thirties lying on the berth with her body except the face fully covered by a bed sheet. There were two passengers sitting on the berth opposite to her. The ruffians saw her and stopped there.
“Go to another bay. We intend to sit here. Do you understand?” addressed one of them at the two passengers.
“We have been occupying these reserved seats from the originating station. It is ours” murmured feebly one of the passengers. While one ruffian pulled out a pen knife, another held his hand. There was a hard slap from the third ruffian at the passenger who demurred. He was lifted by his collar and pushed out of the bay. The other passenger stood up trembling in fear.”Get out fast if you wish to remain unhurt” bellowed one of the evil men. That passenger too collected his things and scampered fast to another part of the train. The few passengers on the side seats and from upper berths were shocked at the rude and violent behavior of the ruffians but had not the temerity to question them. Some of them pretended to be asleep while many others kept silent.
Emboldened the three bad guys sat on the berth before the woman and started talking among themselves while one of them lit a cigarette. They were all the time eyeing at the woman making small talk among them and passing lewd comments obliquely at the figure opposite to them. She seemed to ignore them completely and appeared sleeping as her eyes were closed. One of them lifted a bag and making it look accidentally rubbed her with the bag. Startled she opened her eyes and looked angrily at them.
“Sorry, madam, the bag came into contact by accident. I think I have woken you up from your sleep.”
She did not reply. Irked by her silence, he said “You seem to be upset. It was not deliberate. Anyway how far are you going?”
She stared at him still in anger but chose not to answer. The guy was determined to provoke her and said “You look more beautiful when you are angry. Sit down, we can while away time chatting. I am feeling bored” The other two companions laughed loudly.
When she adjusted her bed sheet to cover herself fully, the hooligan stood up and shook her shoulders to ask “Are you deaf-mute? I have been talking to you and you are indifferent”
“I warn you and that too only once. Do not mess with me. You will get hurt” she spoke softly but firmly.
There were muted giggles accompanied with apprehension of what is likely to follow from the other passengers. This infuriated the guy much. He said to her “Look here, you common slut, it is you who are going to get hurt when the train stops at the next station. Mind what and how you talk to us” and tried to lift her into sitting position by clasping her shoulders.
It was then her leg hit hard his head like a sledge hammer and the man fell down on the floor and lay unconscious. One of the other two hooligans rushed towards her only to be dealt with a similar blow with her leg around his shoulder and neck region. This man too crumpled down on the floor. Dazed at the sudden onslaught from what he considered a frail woman, the third hoodlum was cautious in approaching her. She was still lying on the berth and beckoned him to come closer if he had the guts. He looked around at the amused faces of other passengers and his ego would not permit him to retreat leaving his companions on the floor.
In a fit of bravado he approached her pulling out a pen knife and screaming with his hand raised “You bitch, you will pay dearly for this defiance” In a quick movement of legs she hit his hand that held the knife with one leg and the other leg whacked his back. The onlookers heard a slight cracking noise as the man folded up in acute pain and fell down with no attempt to get up.
The other passengers rose from their seats and tied the hands and legs of the three wicked men tightly with clothes and ropes that they could lay their hands on. A few dared to box their faces and slap them too when they were immobile. Someone went in search of a policeman and attendant
One old person asked her”Are you trained in any martial art? How bravely you immobilized them with your deft and quick attack when all of us men were frozen in fear? Do you belong to police?”
“No uncle. I am an ordinary woman and handicapped too. Look here” she said and lifted her sari to reveal two Jaipur legs made of wood attached to the stumps of her legs with metal and leather.