About three years back, a friend of mine was carjacked at gunpoint! He was coming back from office with one of his colleagues. The Delhi suburb area we were living in was not fully developed yet. The road connectivity was good but it used get lonely late in the evening.

My friend was driving his brand new sedan, bought a few weeks back.  It was about eight in the evening. He suddenly saw a bike next to his car. The biker was indicating towards the tyres of my friend’s car. Although he did feel anything while driving, my friend thought the tyres might be running low in air pressure. He pulled off to the side of the road and came out of the car to inspect the tyres.

The biker came along, followed by an SUV, appeared from nowhere. Four people got down from the SUV and in the blink of an eye two of them whipped out country made revolvers. The other two were carrying sharp butcher knives. They stashed my friend and his colleague to the back seat. One of them took to the steering wheel. The gang drove non-stop for the rest of the night and thrashed my friend and his colleague badly, sometimes discussing whether to kill them or leave them alive. Fortunately, my friend and his colleague were let go in the wee hours, stripped to their undergarments, in a deserted place about 150 kilometer away from Delhi. They managed to hire a taxi and reach home safely.

Last week, I was driving home back late in the evening. It was a hectic week and I was dead tired. I pulled up the glasses, switched on the AC, and played some old Hindi movie songs. The roads were empty and the ride was refreshingly smooth.

Suddenly I saw the bike on my side mirror. Two guys on the bike and they were trying to say something to me. I was about to pull down the glass when the incident with my friend suddenly flashed my mind. I had taken a short cut, which I usually avoid if I am driving late. This stretch of about a kilometer remains quite dark.

While Bangalore is definitely safer to Delhi, one never knows. I heard the story of two laptops getting stolen from a colleague’s car a few weeks back. I pressed the accelerator and reached the main road shortly, heaving a mighty sigh of relief. I had to stop as the traffic light was red. It was a busy road. A bike came and stood next to me. The guy in the pillion got down and the next thing I heard was the thud of my car’s fuel cap getting shut.

He was swiftly back on his bike. They were trying to tell me that the fuel cap was open but I had rushed. I had refueled the car on my way back and the guys at the petrol pump must not have shut the flap properly.

I pulled down the glass and thanked the bikers. They didn’t say anything, just smiled – a broad, warm smile – and kick-started the bike.  The traffic light had turned green!

— Supriyo Kar