The Walk

Rita’s daily life had pretty much the same routine. Wake up at 5 am every morning. An hour of jogging in the open fresh morning air, followed by cooking her breakfast and lunch, get ready for work and then leave for work. She would every morning at 9 am for the bus to her office. Work though the day; catch a bus back home and walk back home. Reach home by 9 pm, have dinner and sleep by 10:30 pm.

Every day the same routine passed without much difference. Rita would go to office and walk home once the bus dropped her off. However since a couple of days she noticed there was this one guy who was at the Bus stand in the morning and he was there even in the evening. She wondered if it was mere coincidence or something else. Nevertheless she ignored her thoughts and went by her walk, as she cherished this part of the day where she can relax and enjoy the calm and quit walk.

She continued her routine in the same fashion for next few days, without much of a change. However, she did notice the sight of that one particular stranger was becoming a part of her boring routine. That stranger was there at the Bus Stop every evening. She thought she saw him checking her out quite a few times. She ignored this as well thinking it is none of her business.

Next day, the bus dropped her off at a stop near her home.  While getting off the Bus she paid the conductor her monthly fare as it was the start of new month. She put earphones in her ears; listening to her favourite music she started her peaceful walk back home. While walking she felt someone behind her, she peeked a little and found the same stranger following her. She quickened her pace trying to feign normalcy, kept walking. Her home was not that far, so she pushed away her fears and kept going on.

Few minutes later she saw that stranger had also quickened his pace he was much closer now, cursing how her peaceful walk suddenly got scary, she started running, she kept running till she reached the gate of her home. Once there she quickly unlocked the gate and got inside. She shut the door locked behind her, and took a sigh of relief. She is finally home where no random stranger can hurt her. She had just taken off her ear phones, when the doorbell rang!

This was unusual, for her friends don’t show up this time of the day on weekdays without a call first. She took her phone in one hand and went to the door, what she saw through peep hole made her heart sped up in fear. It was the same stalking stranger. She dialled the police number, ready to hit call and asked, “who are you and why did you follow me home?” Of all the responses she expected, one that came shocked her to the core. The stranger replied in a gentle tone. “Madam, I am Jatin, I have been watching you walking back alone in unsafe city every day, and you dropped your Rs.1000 /- note. I came-by to return it to you.”

Rita was shocked but still no fool, she checked her purse and sure enough her cash was short of Rs. 1000/-. However she then asked, “Why didn’t you just give it back there, why follow me home?” Jatin then told her, “I tried to call you several times, but you didn’t hear me, and then you started running and I lost you”.

Feeling a little guilty and on high alert she opened her door. Jatin was smiling genuinely and gave her the cash. Rita asked him, she noticed him checking her out few times over. He then confided that he found her rather intriguing and that he was looking out for her as it’s unsafe to walk alone that late in the night. Rita was filled with guilt and she felt stupid for having doubted a genuinely nice person who went this far to return her cash to her.

But, were her fears really unfounded and unjustified. It is because of so many incidents happening around us that we girls doubt every other person from the other gender without giving them benefit of doubt. Society has to change; these incidents have to be stopped. We girls also need to stop generalizing so much. If we do that next time some other Rita won’t start running at the sight of some other Jatin simply following her!!

P.S.: All characters in the above post are purely a work of fiction having no resemblance to any person living or dead, 🙂

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