I was tired of listening to Yo Yo Honey Singh telling me to party all night. The radio at this time only plays ‘club songs’. I’m not exactly a loner, but this sort of music makes me feel really bad about life, and I sort of miss the days of Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and R.D.Burman. The smoke in the air had drowned the sweet scent of summer. I didn’t feel too good adding to the pollution in this city, but for what I was about to do, I really couldn’t have relied on a taxi. I switched the darn radio off.
Last week the house was filled with mirth, with sis coming back for the holidays from Delhi. I myself had a perpetual smile on my face at work, much to the amazement of my colleagues. But then, it happened.
The very next day after she landed here, sis went to meet her friends. A merry evening in the city. The next thing I remember is driving at full speed to the National Park only to find her lying by the side of the road in her frayed clothes, moaning like she was waiting for death to come and get her. I swore that very day to bring the man to justice who had made her go through that stygian incident. He had taken her deep into the bushes and threatened her with a knife, saying that he would cut her nipples off. Her screams were probably drowned by the resounding blasts from horns of vehicles passing by, should there be any on that night. He had still used force and then beaten her up brutally only to be left to die in the bushes, and by the time early morning joggers would have discovered her mangled body, she would have been long gone. Sis had mustered all the energy she had to make a call to me, and in an hour, I was on the other side of the glass while she was being attended to by the doctors of National Hospital.
Since then, every evening at this time I’ve been patrolling this area, with the blind hope that I should find that archfiend and give him hell. I was almost beginning to think that my efforts were nothing but guileless, hoping to find a criminal, in one of the biggest and most populous cities in the world, without knowing his face, name or anything about him, except that he is a taxi driver.
The night was getting darker, and once again, I was at the same spot that I had been casing for the last one week. That night wasn’t unlike the night that my sister was violated, and I think that is what helped me hear that woman’s wails so clearly, even from a distance. I quickly drove to the area where I thought I heard them, for they had died down as soon as they had emanated.
I couldn’t let this happen to another innocent woman. Was the man under some influence? How could he not stop while he was committing the heinous crime right in my car’s headlights? The woman seemed to have gone unconscious. In what seemed like less than two seconds, I grabbed my wrench from the bottom of the passenger’s seat in the car and took two long strides, only to knock the bastard down with it at the end of the second stride. He fell with a soft thud on the dried grass below, and the woman slowly regained consciousness. She covered her modesty and slid down to the ground. I dropped the wrench and held her, not taking my eyes off the taxi driver, and placed her on the passenger seat in my car. The criminal did not seem to have finished what he had started.
She kept repeating something, but her susurration was so inaudible I had to lean in closer to hear what she was trying to tell me. Her whisper sent a chill down my spine.
I couldn’t keep it together any more. I reached out for a chain in my back seat, but suddenly felt a searing pain in my back, and collapsed to the ground. I had been hit with my own wrench. The taxi driver stood bleeding, glaring at me as I turned. I barely managed to stand up and said coldly, “Where were you last Friday?”
The taxi driver was stunned, and began wiping his blood off the side of his head.
“WHERE WERE YOU LAST FRIDAY?” I yelled, and grabbed the chain from my back seat. I wound it around his neck, and rendered all his attempts to escape futile. While he did not stop quivering wildly, I yanked the chain and tied it around the steering wheel of his own taxi. I guess the suffocation had forced him to hold his breath, but it was only a matter of time until he passed out. His movement stopped, and he lay motionless while I started the engine. I then dragged a boulder and placed it on the accelerator, and watched the vehicle drag his still body along the rugged path into the bushes. Killing him just by strangulation would have been much easier, but I didn’t want it to be that quick.
The taxi didn’t go too far. It hit an electric pole and the crackling cables fell on the open bonnet. The vehicle burned. The heat from the vehicle slowly travelled from the chain to his neck, and by the time he woke up, he was already dying from the burns, if not the suffocation.
The drive back home was liberating. Not only had I avenged sis, I’d also saved another poor soul from being scarred for life. I couldn’t explain how I knew he was the one who had violated sis, but somehow I knew he was. The innocence and relief on the face of the woman sitting next to me, sis’ condition getting better, incidences of rape in the city going down, I don’t know if all of this was because of what I did that night, but at least one thing was for sure. All was well