As I was going about my work today, I was suddenly washed over by a wave of abject fear when I remembered a faint childhood memory of nearly being kidnapped.
Not only have I never related it in detail to my family, but it happened so fast and my instincts so sound that I passed it off as a phantasmal imagination. Until of course, I played back that memory scene for scene in my head not 10 minutes ago.
I remember walking back from my extra tuition class, which was opposite to my home. And as I was rounding the corner to the main gate, a Maruti Omni van stopped next to me. The right sliding door opened and a man extended his upper torso out of the van with a worn piece of paper in his hand.
His expression wasn't menacing, in fact, it was quite friendly. He was sitting with his back to the driver and interestingly another elongated seat installation faced him; I knew this, because another passenger was seated opposite to him, I could see his legs.
He asked me for directions to a place, which parallel to the lane I lived on. That was the first sign. This is when I started to take in everything about the van and how the driver wasn't even idling his engine. He kept revving it for some reason, which I assumed was to keep the battered vehicle alive.
I pointed the man in the direction he was supposed to take. The second sign, was that he wouldn't get out of the car completely, willing an unsuspecting child or teenager to inch closer to him to look at the 'address' he was looking for.
When I noticed how dingy and dark the interiors of the car was, I immediately looked the guy straight in the eye and a very deep rage began to boil inside of me. I know this now, because I was confused by the amount of adrenaline that was suddenly coursing through my veins.
I tentatively took a small step back and kept staring at the man. He didn't notice and then proceeded to ask if I would step into the van to show them the way. Dead give away. I firmly said no and took a bigger step back and instinctively looked over to the balcony and pretended that someone was there and waved.
Before I knew it, the van door slammed shut and the van disappeared out of sight in the exact opposite direction of where it was 'supposed' to have gone. I breathed hard for exactly 2 minutes as I literally strode to the gate. By the time I was upstairs, my mother was too busy screaming orders for chores to even notice my story, which she heard in bits between the piercing whistle of the pressure cooker and the shrill sizzle from the pan.
I remember playing the incident back in my head for exactly 2 minutes again, before my teenage angst kicked in and I was busy defending my 'independence and individuality' that was brought up for questioning with said requests for household responsibility.
With all that behind me now; the sheer force of fortuitousness hit me smack in the face.
Wow. What a rush, knowing that sometimes, when you least expect it, the force remains strong with you. And for that I am eternally thankful.