It was a cold rainy morning. Vidya was leaving for college along with her aunt. Vidya was doing her Bachelor’s in a college in Coimbatore. It so happened that her aunt had some official work at Palakkad. So they both decided to leave home together. The bus was over-crowded but the two were lucky to get a seat all to themselves.
The journey was uneventful for the first half hour or so. Shutters were down and most of the passengers were dozing off in their seats. Vidya and her aunt were deep in talk. Suddenly her aunt felt someone nudging her feet. She looked down but could not find anything amiss. She dismissed it as a figment of her imagination. The conversation continued till it was once again broken by the same nudge. She looked over her shoulder to find the passenger in the seat behind her ‘asleep.’ She kept quiet.
Vidya suddenly realized that her aunt was not concentrating on their conversation. She was uncomfortable. Something was troubling her. On enquiring, her aunt shared her doubts with Vidya. She believed the man in the seat behind her was feigning sleep. Both Vidya and her aunt swapped seats. The next half hour was uneventful.
The journey was taking a toll on their senses. Vidya started to droop. She must have hardly been fifteen minutes into sleep when suddenly she felt a pinch in her ankles. The sleep gone she sat up alert and looked back. The same man was sitting there deep in ‘sleep.’ Vidya decided to teach him a lesson. No point in creating a scene. He would go scot free under the excuse of having done it unknowingly in deep sleep. He had to learn his lesson the hard way. She pretended to doze. The leg under the seat stretched forward to caress Vidya’s ankle but what it did not know was that there was a surprise waiting for it. Vidya lifted her feet and sent it down with full force, the heels of her slippers pressing hard on all five toes. The pressure on the toes continued for full two to three minutes. All this time Vidya pretended to be deep in sleep. The man behind was taken on unawares. He could neither shout out of pain for fear of attracting attention and possibly embarrassment or a good beating, nor could he bear the pain. Finally when Vidya released the pressure from the toes, he pulled his leg, jumped up from his seat and made a quick escape through the rear exit as soon as the bus stopped at the next stop. But not before Vidya and her aunt had the satisfaction of seeing the pain on his face and the limp the heels had presented him.
Later when Vidya narrated the incident to me she also told me that her inspiration was her grandmother who in a similar situation in the prime of her youth had nearly crushed an eve teaser’s feet with her high heels in a running bus. Though I appreciate her grit and courage I still wish she had a The Smart Suraksha App with her. She was lucky. Who knows, the man could have waited to take his vengeance on her once she disembarked the bus at her destination. But if she had the Smart Suraksha she could have contacted someone in advance, at her destination and made sure they were there to receive her thereby foiling any thought of revenge by the miscreant.
This is a true incident. The name of the character has been changed to protect her identity.