A sinister night out!

From the pitch-darkness emerged a skinny tall mysterious man - Mr. Myst.

Our otherwise loosey-goosey night stroll paused for a minute when Mr. Husband (K) and I saw a stranger sharing the lonely dark street with us. Mr. Myst quite suspiciously strided towards us; casually whistling a strange tune which somehow sounded deceiving to me. Nevertheless, K found everything absolutely fine and hence we resumed.

The silent street was bordered on both sides by houses fast asleep already. At almost a 50-feet distance from Mr. Myst, I was only growing skeptical, wondering if we should walk further or take an alternate route. Unfortunately, we did not have a choice as I saw the other route creepier with all the lights off and the damp muddy path leading to even more darkness; making me unwillingly step forward with the sweet memories of our delightful evening flashing back in my mind - in a way reminding me of how precious time and life are.

It was a long awaited get away to the calm, serene, nature-kissed landscape carrying charismatic sky high mountains - Queen of hills, also called as Udhagamandalam!

1. A catnap wrapped under the warmth of my quilt
2. A cup of smokey hot filter coffee
3. Lazy drowsy talks with K

- were all that the majestic city left me craving for.

But yes, with the onset of hunger, our minds were washed out of every thought other than that of food. K put on his jacket in a minute when I was carefully peeping out of the glass window to check if the cool breeze would spare us that evening.

Soon after stepping out of the room, undeterred by the spine-chilling weather, we reveled in a lonely-lovely walk on a beautiful road surrounded by greenery and vibrant flowers. The soul-stirring aura instantly animated us despite K and I being majorly hunger stricken. Our tired strolls turned into crazy running and chasing on the pavement which continued until we made funny faces at each other on reaching A2B (Adyar Anandha Bhavan).

Without uttering a word, we kept eating until our stomachs ached. Later did we realize that it was already 11 PM & most part of A2B was already shut down. It was only then we heeded the dead silence of the chilly deserted roads outside.

Deciding not to go back via the beautiful lonely path we took earlier as it was unsafe that late, we took the road less traveled by with an exaggerated swagger as K was all proud about his GPS. No later than an hour we understood that utmost reliance on GPS can make one a hapless victim any day. Yes. Our mobile GPS failed miserably in guiding us and we ended up in a daunting human-less(at least at that moment) alien street.

My fears were growing for K's safety and mine as I heard the fast treads of Mr. Myst approaching us. To my shock, I had a faint yet certain view of Mr. Myst carrying some kind of a weapon tucked behind him - hidden visibly on purpose. Chilling me to the marrow, I heard my own pounding heart beats and at once clenched K's arm tight. K, who was equally puzzled, without losing his cool reassured me that there was nothing to worry; but I was not convinced this time.

In the blink of an eye, Mr. Myst walked up close to us, still maintaining his fishy whistles. I failed to cope with my unexpected adrenaline rush as we saw his half-hidden weapon unveiling into a terribly huge killer hammer. Gasping in horror at the very sight, I almost suffered a panic attack; tears tripped down my eyes and I involuntarily hurried K to move away from the danger we caused ourselves. There was no more reassurance from K as he was even more horrified than I was and fretted about not being equipped to save me/us. All the saneness we thought we possessed made us stand helpless in front of a terrifying stranger, proving us to be unwise in every aspect.

Next few crucial seconds:

Before we could reflex act, Mr. Myst(a psychopath) pulled out his hammer and stabbed us hard right across our faces. He robbed us of everything we had the moment we fell unconscious. Neither was there any one to help nor was there hope; A single minute of negligence in scrutinizing the place and the situation we were into, resulted in an irreversible damage costing us our lives, leaving behind only silence of the souls repenting

- if only we knew self-defense techniques and had safety essentials in our bag
- if only we were prepared to confront a stranger in a new place, at least by screaming for help
- if only we learnt about the city we planned to travel to, before-hand
- if only we were not over-confident
- if only we saved ourselves

Yes, the next few crucial seconds could have been a bizarre nightmare as stated above or may be even worse, had Mr. Myst attacked us in real.

As luck would have it, Mr. Myst was in deed a good man who hid his hammer from us as he did not want to scare his fellow companions on the lone street. He was apparently whistling in order to comfort me & my frightened senses.

Oh yes, Mr. Husband was/is always right. Everything was actually fine. Mr. Myst simply walked past us in a split second, not even acknowledging us.

We then literally ran out of the street and by god's grace met an autowala who dropped us back safe. While in the auto, we sensed a much needed comforting pin-drop silence as we were limping back to normalcy - regaining our senses - lost in our thoughts. K and I exchanged a weak smile thanking all the goodness we came across that night.

In an hour, my perception of the supposedly romantic empty road in an unfamiliar place totally changed with my thoughts grown more mature and rational. Before I slept that night, I sincerely thanked god for his abundant blessings on us and jotted down all the indispensable life-lessons from that scary night.

1. Thumb rule: Safety first. "You are your prime responsibility", unquestionably.
Be totally aware of the situation and always be on high alert.
2. Take complete care of yourself and don't ever put yourself at risk unnecessarily.
3. Do not stay out late at any cost. Prepare your trip schedule well ahead of time.
4. Always carry things to protect yourself at any point of time. Eg: Pepper spray, small knife etc.
5. Do not completely rely on anything. Especially your GPS, at an unknown place; it can be misleading.
6. Force yourself to be discreet.
7. Do not hesitate to ask for help when required.
8. Make it a point to learn a new life-skill whenever possible.
9. Be prepared to face anything that might come your way.

10. Do not ignore your instincts.
11. Be bold.