“I have a job,” his alcohol infused breath slurs in my ear.
“Please, leave me alone. I’m not interested,” I shout. Serial Killers can have jobs.
“You’re angry at me, let me buy you supper to say sorry,” he responds, putting his leg on the ground to balance his motorbike.
“Leave me alone,” I scream, “Leave me alone!” It’s dark, so dark. He’s sent us down the wrong street, we stand in a backstreet and panic sets in. A dead-end. How do we get out of here?
I run past him. My brain is whirring. The lights flash. I’m in the middle of the road. Bus. Horn bellows. Brakes screech.
We’d been planning to go to Casa Del Sol, a restaurant highly recommended in the lonely planet and had set off from the Intercontinental in high spirits. Wednesday was live music night and 2 for 1 cocktails. We would get pleasantly pissed on the large balcony and dance the night away. Well, that’s what we thought when we set off in the tuk-tuk.
“Here you are,” the driver said.
In retrospect, we should have checked, but for some reason we were being naively trusting. Needless to say, we had been left on the roadside in completely the wrong part of town. Dusk was slipping over the city and to make matters worse no other tuk-tuks would pick us up (normally we were bombarded with them). One takes for granted, when you get into a taxi in London, that your driver will actually always know where you are going. Thrust abroad, ‘the knowledge’ does not exist. That’s why you have to stay in the main areas – god knows we’d have never found our way back the first hotel which wasn’t on the MG road. It may be more expensive being in the thick of it, but at least you’ll find your way back.
Slightly agitated, we carried on walking and tried to dissect the lonely planet map, when came our saviour (again naive) – a young man on a motorbike, who after looking at the guide-book told us that he knew the way to Casa Del Sol.
“The thing is, it quite far away. I know, I take you on my bike and then come back and collect other.”
Sophie and I looked at each other, a ‘yeah, there’s no way that, that’s happening’ look.
“No, no. We’ll follow you,” I replied.
He tried to persuade us, but to no avail and eventually succumbed to the reality that he wouldn’t have a young western girl on the back of his bike.
Thus began our traipse around Bangalore. Soon dusk was succeeded by darkness and we realised that the man wasn’t interested helping us navigate the capital, but was simply interested in us. We tried to shake him, but he was persistent. We changed directions, he followed, we went into a bar, he waited…
As we left the bar and saw the silhouette of him and his bike still waiting I started to get frightened. This wasn’t fair. All we wanted was a nice meal out together and now we were being stalked, why couldn’t people just leave us alone? Why did this always have to happen? Why couldn’t anything just be simple? I felt both angry and vulnerable.
“Look, thank you for your help but we’re going to go by ourselves now, ok. We’re going to find it by ourselves.”
“I know where it is, I will help you.”
“No. We’re going ok. Just leave us alone now.”
“I have made you angry. I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok, we’re just going to go by ourselves now though.”
He zoomed off down the road.
“Thank fuck for that,” I said to Sophie.
“I know, what a weirdo.”
“Right, I think we need to go over this crossing and then it should be just on the left.”
The crossing, that was a story in itself. There were five main roads that intersected eachother – Fort Road, Lavelle Road, Hayes Road, Richmond Road and Mission Road. The volume of traffic hurtling along towards traffic lights was deeply unnerving. Lorries bellowed their horns at the last-minute before undertaking mo-peds – who darted stealthily out-of-the-way before becoming road-kill.
“We need to cross this road?” Sophie questioned.
“I know, how the hell are we going to manage this?”
We stood watching the mass of metal stream past us and started to weigh up our timings – when would be the best time to cross, where would the best place to cross. Then came the familiar, tinny sound of a motorbike. He was back.
“I’ve upset you. I’m sorry. Let me take you for supper and make up,” he drawled.
“No, look I’ve been polite. Just go away. We don’t want your help, just leave us alone,” I shouted.
He persisted. Sophie and I interlinked arms, kept our heads down and walked away. Still he persisted. I was angry, frightened, annoyed and at the end of my tether.
“This is the way,” he slurred following us down a side-street.
Shit. I’d gone the wrong way, this was a dead-end, oh god we were alone with this maniac. He came up behind me.
“Calm, calm. I have a job you know, I have a job,” he leant over, balancing one foot on the ground and tried to stroke my arm.
“Enough!” I screamed. “Just leave me alone.”
Then all went black. I don’t remember running into the road – just being in it and the piercing cry of the lorry. I looked up. This was it, I was going to be hit. I dropped my lonely planet and screamed.