There are moments that leave us wondering, “What if?” The following incident had me addressing this question to myself.
A few friends and I had planned a long weekend trip to the beach town of Alibagh last year to celebrate the fact that a friend was finally quitting her job. The fact that we were still working at the same office was irrelevant.
She was out. And as her dear colleagues-turned-best friends, we felt it was our moral duty to give her an appropriate farewell.So what if we had to lie and bunk work?
Hic hic hurray
The journey to Alibagh bordered on the torturous. The driver was a novice when it came to driving on the highway. A two-and-a-half hour journey extended to nearly six hours.
Our plan was to crash at a friend’s grandmother’s bungalow. By the time we reached her place it was 11p m. Introductions and dinner over, she packed us off to sleep.
But we had other plans. Unknown to her, we had stopped at a local joint and picked up enough vodka and beer to last us for days. Then our celebration began. Two bottles of vodka later, many of us were in an inebriated state.
Walk on the beach
Some of us decided to go for a walk on the beach although the majority of us wanted to crash for the night. I was adamant.
I would have been voted out if a friend hadn’t reminded everyone that the beach was just a five-minute walk from where we were. So we set off.
Half an hour later, we were still searching for the beach. There was no one in sight. Four am was the perfect setting for telling ghost stories. Or so we thought, till someone started crying. To calm her, a friend pointed at another party going on nearby: “See even they are out to have fun. Just like us.”
The next thing, a car was stalking us. Driving back and forth down the small kacha road, gradually getting closer. The inhabitants appeared sloshed.
Making matters worse
We hurried down the narrow path, desperately looking for an exit route. There was none. The closest house was miles away and calls for help went unanswered.
To make matters worse, the guys in the group were too drunk to notice these developments. They still wanted to head to the beach. All attempts to convince them otherwise were in vain.
Finally, we reached the beach. And the boys from the car got out and started following us. There were more than 10 of them while we were just six. They launched a volley of abuses.
The boys finally realised that something was amiss. We headed back. They got into the car and followed us.
Terrified, I clung to one of my friends for dear life. I could see the headlines in the papers the next day— ‘Six Mumbaikars found dead on a beach.’ I also realised how I could end up as a rape victim — the kind you read about every day in newspapers and ignore.
After 30 minutes of pure agony, we finally reached the main road. Only then did my friend let go of my hand. I thanked god and called my best friend to narrate the tale. He was aghast and surprised at our carefree attitude.
To date, I keep thinking, “What if they had dragged us into the car?” Now for the worse part — what if my parents had found out about my misdemeanour?