"Get into the car," a coarse voice said. For a moment Shilpa was startled. Instinctively she tried to gauge from which direction the voice was emanating. But there was no time for making such calculations. Before she could realize she was pulled into the car.
Till then it was a usual day for her. She had been to the bank where she worked as a clerk. She was on her way back to home. She was in her early thirties and weighed sixty kilos. Her friends said she must shed a few kilos. Shilpa gave in to the peer pressure and started to walk to her work. Her moped lay dust ridden in the bungalow parking where she lived.
She lived as a paying guest with an elderly woman known as Maria. Maria was widowed. Her only son was an marine engineer and lived for ten months on the sea. As a result Maria would be all alone. Talkative Maria abhorred the thought that she would have to talk to the walls and ceiling alone. Hence she decided to keep a paying guest. An advertisement in the local newspaper ensured that Shipa and Maria met. Maria developed instant liking to Shilpa who was new in the town.
Even Shilpa's parents thought that Maria's place would be secured for their daughter to live alone in this big city which was hundreds of miles away from their town. Shilpa's father had tried to dissuade her from taking the job. However Shilpa convinced him. She told him that how difficult it was these days to get a job in a public sector bank and she should not let the opportunity go. She also assured him that she would try her best to get a posting near her home town as early as possible. Shilpa's mother had seconded her decision. Being in minority her father eventually gave in.
Yes this was indeed a big city. But Shilpa had found that everybody was very cooperative. The only thing was that they respected each other's privacy. Unlike her hometown unnecessary personal details were not dug into.
Shilpa liked her job in the bank. Though in a city her branch was in the outskirts. As a result there were comparatively few customers and resultantly less staff members. They were four clerks, one manager and two peons in total. It was like a family set up. Never for a minute in the past four months had Shilpa felt that she was away from the family.
Maria and her office colleagues had promised to take her on a city tour numerous times. But for some reason or the other the plan did not materialize. Shilpa thought of exploring the city on her own but lazy Sundays did not allow her to do so.
All that she knew in this new city was her way from her residence to her bank. It was a straight road. You were not required to take a single turn. Though the bank was in the outskirts the road was flowing with traffic day and night. That made Shilpa feel safe.
But today that net of safety had sucked her inside. It was pitch dark in the car in which she was pulled in. Minutes later she realized that she was blindfolded. Was she kidnapped? Was she going to be raped? Her mind was worried with all those dreadful thoughts. But there was silence in the car. She could not feel how many people were in the car. Her hands, legs were tied and she was tucked into the seat belt. She stood absolutely stationary as she was unable to move.
To be continued