I entered the busiest Delhi Railway station, with loads of luggage in both of my hands.
“Uff”, I sighed keeping my luggage down to attend the call.
I noticed that it was from home.
I attended the call with a frown, “Yes Maa”.
“Beta are you coming?”,Maa asked me still having the disbelief that I might not come.
I let out a deep sigh and replied,” Maa, presently I’m inside the Railway station, waiting for the train”
“Alone??You know beta, there is no safety for girls'”
I interrupted Maa’s words,” Maa, my class-mate Pinky and her brother, Adi are also accompanying me”
Maa said,” Beta, but be careful, don’t trust strangers. You cannot judge what they are up to.”
“Maa, don’t worry”, saying so, I cut the call.
I waited for some time, standing there and then walked towards the notice board, to check the allotment of my seat.
The journey,was planned in haste because of the call, I got from home to come urgently as some boy was coming to meet me, as planned by our both families.
Though I was reluctant, I had to agree due to the pressure of my family.
I ran my fingers over the chart in the notice board checking my name.
‘Geet Handa’..Geet Handa’..Geet Handa’Aah Yes Geet Handa F22 ..See..aa..t Num’ber ‘is..50’
When I was about to leave towards the place where I kept my luggage, somewhere in my mind, I felt curious to see whether the person, opposite to my seat is male or female.
But out of curiosity I saw the name, ‘Vicky’
I thought it would not at all be a problem to have a young male getting seated opposite to me, as Adi and Pinky were also there.
They voluntarily came forward hearing about my journey, as they knew no one was there to escort me.
My chain of thoughts was disturbed by the announcement which stated the arrival of the train.
I quickly took my luggage and boarded the train.
As the journey was not pre-planned, we got our seats reserved in a cabin of four berths.
I went inside the cabin and worryingly dialed Pinky’s number.
“Pinky, where are you? The train has arrived and it is announced that it will leave the station within 15 minutes. Are you near the station? Come fast”, I said without even taking a breath.
“Geet, the fly over here is blocked due to traffic. We got stuck up in the traffic. Don’t worry we’ll try to reach on time”
But as the time proceeded, my hands and legs started shivering.
And the final announcement for the departure of the train was made, and I felt a slight movement of the train.
Panicking, I made a call to Pinky.
“Geet, we are extremely sorry. Still struck up in the traffic.”
By the time I kept the mobile back in my hand-bag, I noticed that the train had already left the station.
A fear struck me, which made me shiver from head to toe.
What if that Vicky turns out to be Maa’s-untrustworthy-stranger?
I was single there. What if he takes advantage of that?I regretted for not listening to Maa’s advice of keeping a pepper-spray,or any other self-defensive items with me.
I noticed the wetness in my palms and soles.
When I was wiping off the tiny drops of sweat that formed on my forehead, I heard someone opening the cabin door.
I almost jumped because of that sound.
A dangerously handsome, young ‘Vicky’ stepped in.
He gave me a casual smile and put his luggage on the topmost berth, and got seated opposite to me.
I tried to cover up my fear, and behave normal.
But still my hands and legs were shivering.
To overcome that fear, and to prove him that I’m not travelling alone, I pretended to be waiting for someone to come from the door, looking at it now and then.
“Waiting for someone??”
I jumped again listening to his voice.
I slowly looked at him.
He was looking at me, smiling casually, waiting for my answer.
“Ye…ye…yes…Fr…friends'”, somehow I threw out my answer.
“But the train has already moved?”, he asked, still looking at me.
I cursed him in my mind, ‘Why do u ask? What if the train has moved or if it gets accident?’.
“Wa…washroom”, I somehow managed to smile.
“I see”, he turned his gaze away from me and started reading some magazine.
But within few seconds, the door got opened again, and the TTE, came in.
He checked the man’s ticket first and then turned towards me.
I handed over my ticket to him, after checking, he asked about Adi and Pinky, whose names were in the chart.
I didn’t dare to answer.
After sometime of silence, the TTE was about to leave murmuring, ‘So I can allot these seats to someone else ‘and smiling; then this Vicky shouted,” Wait”, addressing the TTE, who turned and made a questioning face.
“I think those two are her friends”, and looked at me, “right Miss?”
I looked at him and then TTE and then down, thinking what should I say truth or lie??
If I lie that there are present in the train, I would end up travelling with Vicky ‘ALONE’
If I tell the truth, maybe I would have some company, thinking so I smiled.
But my smile soon faded away with the thought, ‘What if the two new comers turn to be boys and these three share me equally?’
“NOOO”, I shouted making the two men, who were waiting for my answer, jump from their respective places.
I looked at them both and smiled sheepishly.
“Are these two your friends? If so, where are they?”, the TTE who almost lost his patience asked sternly.
“Yes and they are in washroom”, I said after deciding that one is better than three.
The TTE, went away cursing me for wasting his time and shattering his dreams of extra income.
“Still in washroom??”Vicky asked with a frown.
I decided to not to show myself weak in front of him, gathered all my courage and answered with a serious face, “Why do you mind??”
He looked baffled and said, “Asked…umm…just casually.”
I took out a magazine from my bag and started reading.
I knew that he was suspecting my words.
So, I took out my mobile and pretended to be making a call.
And spoke, checking him now and then from the corner of my eyes, but he seemed to be least interested,
“Maa…umm…yes…I’m in train,…aah yes,….ok….aah Pinky and Adi…ooh they said that they will go to washroom, but didn’t return till now, don’t know where they went…Aah I too think the same,…may be they had gone to visit Meera ,who is in next compart…..”
Before, I could complete the sentence; my phone rang, bursting my eardrums.
I quickly attended the call, not even looking at the caller’s name.
It was Pinky, who called to apologize to me again for their inability to accompany me.
I dared not to look at him.
But before ending the call, I just looked at him once from the corner of my eyes.
He was having a tough time to suppress his smile, or might be laughter.
I, for the first time in my life thought to kill someone, and that was Pinky.
After an hour or so, he went out and I, being bored with my magazine, took the magazine he was reading and flipped its pages.
It seemed to be some business magazine, and I kept it on my berth beside me and stretched my hands and legs in opposite directions.
After stretching, I looked at the door unintentionally and was awestruck seeing Vicky there.
But he was looking somewhere down. I quickly adjusted my top, which was lifted in the action of stretching.
He proceeded towards me and I moved backwards. I looked at him with fear-filled eyes.
He kept the newly-puchased-water-bottle on his berth and extended his hands towards me.
I slowly prayed Babaji and extended my hand to get a hold of anything, so that I can attack him with that.
My hand reached towards my bag, and when I was about to attack him, he did something, that shocked me and made me speechless.
He extended his hand and took his magazine and sat on his berth.
Noticing my gaping at him, he smiled and said, “Err…I was half-way through one important article will give you once I finish it”
A smile crept across my lips, which was purely unintentional and unnoticed by me and said to him,” Aah, no problem .By the way, I’m not interested in business magazines. Just took it to see how they look.”
He too smiled at me and said,” Ooh OK, umm, if you are bored, then I have a novel, if you are interested, “he took a novel from his bag and handed over to me, “you can kill the time”.
“Aww Thank you”, I said smiling.
“My pleasure”, he too smiled back and resumed his reading.
‘He seems to be nice guy, everyone is not bad’, I smiled, and then noticed that I was smiling when talking to him.
‘When he is nice, what is the wrong in being nice to him?’
I had and have the habit of reading the views from sources, before reading the novels or stories.
So, without even reading the title of the book, I read the views which were printed on the back cover of the book.
One of the greatest news papers reviewed,
‘This book truly proves that ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. Though the title makes some impression in mind, the original story is totally different’
‘Aww, is that so? Let me read the title then’, thinking so, I turned the book.
I read, ‘Danger from the Stranger’
But suddenly, something struck my mind.
‘Never judge a book by its cover, danger from the stranger, book…Cover….stranger……..ooh’
I was profusely sweating.
I kept my left hand on my forehead and rested my left elbow on my lap.
My head was down and my eyes were closed.
‘Why did I talk with him? What if he takes advantage of me, misusing that?’
My thoughts were disturbed when I heard him asking me, “Are you fine?”
I looked at him, who seemed to be more concerned about me.
“Yes…I’m fine”, I said and adjusted my position.
He took out his water-bottle and offered me, which I denied saying that I had one.
But when I took out my water bottle, I noticed that it was empty.
Noticing this, he again offered me.
“Nooo”, I almost shouted and then adjusted myself and said looking at him, who was shocked at my shout, “I..I mean no thank you, I’ll purchase at the next station”
But I didn’t allow him to complete and again shouted,” ooh..please..”
I didn’t apologize again; as I felt no need to do so. He seemed to be least bothered about my rude behavior and went back to his magazine.
There was a knock on the door and we both at once said,” Yes”, and then looked at each other.
While we both were looking at each other, someone came and introduced himself to be the one taking orders for night meals, which would be supplied by pantry.
I gave order for myself and he didn’t and the boy went away.
“Won’t you give the order?” I asked him not even noticing that I’ve asked him, till he answered.
“Aah actually, my supper, will be handed over to me by my relative around 9.”, he said.
“Ooh okay”, I forced a smile.
After sometime, the train reached next station, and Vicky went somewhere.
Being very thirsty, I got down with some money, and was scared to see the deserted station, in that night.
But I gathered some courage and walked towards the shop and bought the bottle .
While returning ,I felt some force dragging me to the dark corner,then I noticed three men trying to take off my top .
I didn’t listen to their filthy talks ,as I was busy in struggling to free my top from their grip.
I then noticed a fourth pair of hands,which were busy in smacking the owners of those three pairs of hands.
I then noticed Vicky beating them.
My mouth made a round cave out of shock.
I never saw a live fight.
It was amazing.
Then I felt like someone shaking me and I came to my senses.
It was Vicky.
He was saying… no…. shouting something
,”Train is leaving, come”
But before I could react,I felt myself getting dragged.
So,I too ran behind him,in order to help him.
Finally we boarded the train.
We both were panting,and after sometime broke into laughter.
We entered the cabin,and I said,“Tha..thank you Vicky”,still panting.
“Ma..Maan”,he said ,who was like me,struggling to breathe normally
“Pardon”,I asked not understanding what he just said.
“Aah..I’m Maan”,he said with his casual smile.
I was really shocked hearing this.
“WHAT?”,I shouted at such a pitch that he had to close his ears in reflex.
Then I apologized him and asked,“Maan??If you are Maan,then Vicky?”
He chuckled and said,“He is my friend.But how do know him ?”
“I …I saw in the chart“,I said,recomposing all the thoughts by replacing Vicky with Maan.
“Ooh that one? He booked the ticket for me and gave his name instead of mine, by mistake. I too noticed it today.”It seemed to me like, he was struggling to sound normal.
“Then how did you manage the TTE”,I asked out of curiosity.
He said with an attitude,“In big-big countries,small small things like this always happen.”,coping the famous dialogue.
I raised my eyebrow and asked,”Thinking yourself to be SRK,huh?”
“No,MSK”,he said confusing me again.
“Anyways,I’m Geet”,I introduced myself,ignoring his previous sentence and stretched my hand.
He blurted out taking my hand in a hand shake,“I know”.
“saw in the chart?”,I completed his sentence.
“Aah yes ..yes.I saw in the chart”,he smiled but not in his casual way.
He assigned himself with some files or something and,I myself with thoughts.
This journey seemed to be like those that are potrayed in films and stories, where the girl gets ill-treated by goons and rowdies, and a stranger rescues her and they catch a running train.
WOW,I never thought that such incidents take place in anyone’s life.But the irony is it all happened with me.The man who I thought to be my destructer,turned out to be my savior.
Then suddenly a thought struck my mind.
‘What if he is possessive about me?
What if he wants me wholly to himself?
Yes,that’s why he smacked them and dragged me into the train.
If he is not Vicky,then what happened to Vicky?
From the way, he explained about Vicky, I guessed that he was lying. So, he must have assaulted Vicky too.’
My body began to shiver again.
I rushed to the washroom,immediately.
I took some time to compose myself and when I returned to the cabin,I saw him arranging the meals.
Seeing me,he said,“That boy came gave this”
I slowly went near my berth and was about to keep a spoonful of food in my mouth,when a thought struck my mind ,
‘What if he drugged my food and planned to …’,I couldn’t think further and just got up and went away from that cabin,with that food.
I could hear his voice calling me.
I paid a deaf-ear and went away.
I was born and brought up in the family,which taught me to respect food as God.
I used to thank Him for making me fortunate enough to eat as I know many children strive for a bread crumb.
I even couldn’t donate this food to anyone, risking their lives.
I slowly discarded the food and turned around, wiping my tears.
A shocked Maan was standing there,with a ‘can you explain your act’expression.
I went inside the cabin with Maan following me.
I said,“That..I mean ,I didn’t feel like eating today.”
But he didn’t say anything and sat on his berth.
I felt tired and retired to sleep,keeping my bag within reach,so that I could attack,if needed.
I felt some one patting my shoulder and calling my name.
I slowly opened my eyes and found Maan very close to me.I jumped and sat on the berth,shocking him.
“Err Geet,my relative gave the supper,which is enough for both of us.So..”
I interrupted him,“I’m not hungry.”
“Yeah,I know but your poor body doesn’t”,in a mocking way and continued normally ,sounding concerned,“Geet,you were not sleeping peacefully.
You were moving and your hunger is visible on your face.”
Saying so, he kept the food in front of me.
“Maan, why don’t you understand? I don’t'”
He didn’t let finish my s ntence,saying,” Geet you know? I can force you to'”
“WHAAATTT??Will you force me??”, I took the bag and threw at him, but he cleverly missed that.
“Geet what are you…”
I didn’t give him time to even open his mouth.
I took the pillow from the berth, which was the only thing in my reach and began hitting him with that.
“YOU MORON, YOU IMPUDENT, YOU SHAMELESS FELLOW DUSTH DAANAV, YOU’..”
I was cursing him but didn’t realize that he took the pillow and threw it away until he closed my mouth with his hand and pinning me to the berth.
He was above me,which increased my fear.
“Geet,I..”,he removed his hand from my mouth.
“HEEELLP, SOMEONE HEEELP, THIS IDIOT IS SHOWING ME HELL, HEEELLLP, ummm…”
I again felt his hand over my mouth.
“GEEET SHUT UP,JUST SHUT UP.If I find you shout again,you will face
the worst side of me.DID YOU GET IT?”
I,who was just shivering just because of his presence,became dead cold listening this warning.
He slowly removed his hand,and sat only after confirming that I would not shout or attack him again.
“Geet what is your problem?”,he asked sternly.
I unnoticingly blurted out, “you.”
I came to my senses and noticed what I said only after listening him shouting, “WHAT?”
I feared much more and started patching-up methods,” That, I mean you ‘”
“Geet, you need not fear me. I was just asking you to eat as I saw you suffering from hunger”, he said in a concerned-tone.
“I know this concern has ulterior motive.”I said.
“WHAT??Can you take the pain to explain?”He said mockingly.
I lost all my patience and moreover, I was hungry and tired so I pounced on him with words.
“What explanation do you want? Haa??How can I expect you to be the Mr. Flawless perfect?
Aren’t you the one who was more interested to know whether I was travelling alone or not?
Aren’t you the one who insisted me to drink the water from your bottle?
Aren’t you the one who followed me down the train and rescued from those rowdies?
Aren’t you the one who took my order and arranged my food?
Aren’t you the one who woke me up to eat this food?”
He, who was gaping at me while I was asking, spoke in a shocked voice, “Geet,what is there in these, I had done all these for just….”
I again interrupted him, “What is there in these? Huh?
Your ulterior motive.
You were interested to know whether I was single or not, so that you can use me later.
You were insisting me to drink your water and eat this food, which you had drugged earlier.
You fought with those goons, so that you can enjoy me wholly to yourself, weren’t you?”
Though I was not looking at him, while saying the above words, I could easily say what was going through him ,after listening his shaking voice,” Ge..Geet, Don’t you trust me?”
I asked,” Why should I? And how can I? You are a complete stranger and moreover, you threatened me that you’ll force me”, I asked, wiping the tears, which were replacing one after the other.
“When did I say that I’ll force you?”He asked with a frown.
“Don’t act smart. Didn’t you say that if I don’t eat you’ll force me?”
He looked up and muttered, “Why did you end me up today with this girl?”, and turned towards me,” Geet,I understand that it’ll be difficult to believe a stranger, but just for once believe me.
Yes, I did all those things, but only with concern for you and not the other way.
And I’m a man of few words and I was saying that I’ll force you to EAT.Clear?”
He sat still for some time. There was a silence except for the sound of the heavy breaths, which I was taking due to non-stop crying and his fuming.
He looked at me after sometime, and held my wrist and said, “Come with me”, and began dragging me.
He turned towards me and said with anger, “Definitely not to use you, now just shut up and come.”
He and I got down the train and he took me to the near-by biscuit shop.
“Geet take the biscuit packets of your choice and Please for heaven’s sake, trust me, I didn’t drug these,nor did I bribed the shop-keeper to do so.”
I took some packets and he paid for them.
We boarded the train again and there were no talks.
He, after sometime, got up and took his bags and was about to leave. I stopped him,” Ma..Maan.”
I didn’t have the courage to ask him further.
He didn’t turn towards me and said, “I thought it is better to go away from here and save my self-respect, rather than staying here and getting accused.”
“But Maan, I trust you”, I said in a low voice, looking down ,as I didn’t have the courage to look at him.
“Ooh at last. I’m so grateful to you”, in a mocking tone.”But Geet, now I lost my trust in you that you’ll not again find an ulterior motive for my actions.”
“Maan, I swear, I don’t. Please stay. What if some other goon finds this out and burglarize in?”I asked now fearing the consequences, of Maan’s absence.
“Ooh “, Maan threw his bag on his berth and folded his hands, “So Madam Geet wants a mere body-guard Maan, but not a friend.”
I knew I had hurt him with my words. Tears ran down my cheeks. I broke down, “I..I’m sorry Maan”
He rushed towards me and took me in his embrace, “Its okay”
“I’m really sorry Maan, I didn’t know that my words would hurt you that much. I’m so..sorry”
He was caressing my back,” Ssshhh Geet..calm down”, he said in a low caring voice.
“You know, I was being selfish only thinking about me, not even noticed that I was hurting you in the process.”
He now took me out of the embrace and lifted my head by placing his hands on my cheeks,” Geet, who said that I was hurt?”
I looked at him questioningly.
He wiped my tears and said,” Yes of course, I was indeed hurt a bit, but you were just being perfect.
Yes Geet, I mean it. That is what the distance to be maintained from a stranger, by girls to protect themselves in this world filled with werewolves.
I’m proud of you Geet.
I smiled weakly.
“Now just go to sleep”, saying so, he arranged my pillow and laid me back.
“Good night. Now no more fears, okay?”,he covered me with the blanket.
I slowly opened my eyes and smiled.
“Good Morning Maan”, I whispered.
I looked around the cabin, but Maan was not there.
There was a middle-aged lady sitting in his place.
I sat up. She looked at me and smiled.
She gave me a letter saying,” The man gave me to hand-over it to you.”
I opened and read it-
Hope you have slept nicely.
Don’t fear I was with you in the same cabin (of course didn’t even touch you except for covering you again in the mid-night).
No goon entered.
Geet as the famous saying says-
Do not trust all men, but trust the men of worth; the former course is silly, the latter a mark of prudence.
But Geet be the way you are.
Safety is more important than trust Geet.
So be safe, be happy.
Now I hope- trustworthy Maan.’
As I had finished reading, I found a smile on my lips and wetness on my cheeks.
I was happy for getting such a nice friend, but at the same time I’ve lost him too.
I doubted,’Are all men nice like him?’
The train reached the station within an hour, so I didn’t have the time to adjust my hair.
I got down the train with the same messy hair and as the train reached the destination 3 hrs before the expected time, I thought of going home directly and surprise them.
There were so many limousines in front of my house. Wondering who won the lottery amount in my house, I stepped in.
As the luggage was heavy, I was struggling hard to get them inside. I was about to trip and fall down; I noticed a strong hold across my waist.
I straightened myself and looked at the owner of that rod-like hand, only to get a shock of my life.
It was Maan, smiling warmly at me.
Seeing him, I dropped the remaining luggage on his feet.
He yelled in pain.
Papa and Maa rushed towards me and said,” Geet you came so early?”, I felt that they were feeling nervous because of my messy attire.
They took me inside and Maan followed us.
I asked,” Maa,why are all these cars here? Who got lottery in our house?”
Papa replied, “You only beta”, grinning largely.
I was confused seeing their expressions.
Papa introduced me to Maan,” Maan beta she is Geet. Please don’t mind her attire as she just came from the journey”
“Geet beta, he is Maan Singh Khurana…”
I interrupted Papa, not breaking eye-contact with Maan, asking, “the MD of the Khurana industries, who topped all the industrialists?”
Maan asked,“How did you know Geet, I mean you were least interested in these things, right? As far as I know you are only bothered about your studies.”
“Yes, while I was flipping the pages of your business magazine yesterday, found the article with the heading,’ Maan Singh Khurana, the MD of Khurana Industries has topped all the industrialists.’ I didn’t look at your picture”, I turned towards Papa and asked,” Papa,why is he here? Did we have a loss and sold our properties to them?”
All laughed ,leaving me confused.
Maa said,“Beta,we are handing our precious treasure to him.It is you only Geet “
We both were left to discuss ,after I got freshened up.
I didn’t get out of the shock till then.
He cleared his throat,to gain my attention.
“Were you checking my character yourself yesterday ?”,a purely unexpected question,escaped from my mouth,unintentionally.
He got dumbstruck,and said,“No no sweetheart,you got me wrong.I always travel with fake names,hiding my true identity only to experience real life and it was a coincidence”,in one breath.
“So you know it was me ,you were going to look today.Then why didn’t you tell me?”,I asked .
“Geet,I didn’t want to make our cute and sweet moments embarrassing.”
“Then why did you leave me all of a sudden ,this morning?What if some one…”
He interrupted my fake angry talks.
He came forward towards me,said pulling my cheeks,“How can I leave my life,my heart unprotected?I appointed two guards there…”
I interrupted him,“Wait,what ?Guards?
The two tall ones,with black suits and black goggles?”
“I…actually…that, saw them following me and I hit them with stones, sorry Maan”
Maan burst out laughing.
I felt someone’s hands around my waist,and I know whose are those.
Maan is hugging me from back and placed a small kiss on my cheek.
“Remembering our fisrt meet Mrs.Geet Singh Khurana?”
Before I can answer him back,my mobile rang,it is Pinky.
Maan answered the call,in speaker mode, still holding me in his hug,“Hey Pinky”.
Maan, Pinky and Adi became best buddies after our marriage.
“Celebrating your third anniversary in the same cabin?”,Pinky asked,though she knows the answer.
“Yep,where is your brother?”Maan asked kissing my nape.
“Still?”Maan asked, and we both burst into laughter, leaving Pinky confused.
My co-passenger in train journey became my partner in life journey.
My dangerous stranger became my destined savior.
This is me-Geet Maan Singh Khurana and this is my life journey with my stranger.
[Writer’s note 1:
We all know that Maan is very good and cannot do such things to girls.But this world is not full of Maans .Geet’s plight here may seem to you as stupidity,as you know Maan’s character.But this world is full of werewolves,who even don’t know the pronunciation of ‘humanity’.
Be careful di s and girls.
This os is dedicated to all those who became prey s for those lustful eyes.
Lets all pray for a world, free of werewolves, untrustworthy strangers and girls’ helpless screams.
All that I do, once I enter railway station is wait for the train, after its arrival, boarding and sitting in a corner, reading some books; hardly noticing the surroundings.
So, if any of you find the information given in the os, totally different, please don’t throw anything on me. Please I’m the only 2nd child of my parents]