Raat Akeli Hai...

Bhaiya, der ho jayegi to mujhe rickshaw nhi milega," said Pooja timidly. "After arranging these books on the shelves you can go, " instructed the man without even looking at Pooja and continued working on the laptop.

Raat Akeli Hai...

"Bhaiya, der ho jayegi to mujhe rickshaw nhi milega," said Pooja timidly.

"After arranging these books on the shelves you can go, " instructed the man without even looking at Pooja and continued working on the laptop.

Pooja worked as a househelp in a society at a distance of 2-3 km from her basti. Her husband who was a construction worker was jobless nowadays because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pooja hurriedly finished the task and left for home.

As she had anticipated there was not a single rickshawala available. So she decided to walk back home. Nowadays because of the lockdown, the roads got deserted early. She could see only 2-3 people on the road.

She increased her pace of walking as it was getting dark and she had to cross a deserted stretch on her way.

Pooja had heard many stories about that lonely stretch. Some of them were ghost stories too. People claimed that they had seen a ghost of a man drenched in blood who was killed in an accident there. Recently, a biker gang was also active in the area. Incidents of eve-teasing and chain-snatching had been reported there.

Fireflies were glowing on the roadside bushes. The road was so silent that she could hear the buzzing of insects.

"Raat akeli hai...bujh gaye diye...."

Pooja heard a male voice humming along with some clinking sound. She could feel someone was following her.

Thoughts of being killed by a ghost or getting assaulted scared her.

Pooja kept walking praying to see someone else on the road. Vroom! Pooja was shaken by a full-speed motorbike.

She could see a dark silhouette getting bigger in size from the corner of her eye. Her heart started pounding with fear. Pooja was almost running.

"Madam! time kya hua hai?" Pooja could sense that the man was exactly behind her. A shiver went down her spine. And she felt goosebumps rising on her skin.

Pooja decided not to look back and started running in the direction of her house. She was chanting Hanuman Chalisa.

Thud!! she bumped into someone. Since it was dark she couldn't see the face of the person clearly.

"Pooja! Kya hua? Tum aise bhag kyun rhi ho?"

Pooja got hold of her breath after hearing the familiar voice. It was her husband Mahesh in front of her. Even before she could say anything.

"Bhai sahab! time kya hua hai?" They heard the voice.

Both of them turned around and they saw a man. He was dragging his punctured bicycle. There were some small bells tied to the handle and the clinking sound was coming from them.

The man told them that his bicycle got punctured and he could not find any repair shop open because of the lockdown. And he had to still cover a long distance to reach his home.

"Behanji! maaf krna agar maine aapko dara diya ho, "said the man apologetically. The man had perceived Pooja's fear.

"Main bhi kitni pagal hun," thought Pooja and chuckled.

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