- Life & Style
- Cars and Bikes
- Your Opinion
- Stories and Poems
It was 14th of May, 2004. The words of my Geography lecturer were indeed true. Places close to the desert are extremely cold during the night. I was in Dubai, the City of Gold. Tired and exhausted after the daylong city tour that included shopping and sight-seeing during morning hours and later in the evening, the Desert Safari, I was finally ensconced in my bed in my room. The heavy snoring from the neighbouring room made it very clear that the co-tourists were equally tired and fast asleep. But somehow I could not sleep. It was the face of this girl that I met in one of those shopping areas of the city’s famous Gold Souk region.
I was becoming restless. My mind kept on bringing her face repeatedly. I wished I could meet her once more. How??? After an hour of contemplation I finally decided to go back to the place where I had been in the morning and try and look out for that girl. I just could not understand what was driving a hyper anxious, easily worried, over cautious introvert and pessimist like me to dare to go out in a city, I should say country totally new to me. I have been there for only a couple of days and would be leaving for home in the morning. But still her face would not let me give up.
That’s it. I made up my mind to embark on the journey. It was like one of those instant childhood-teenage fascinations about to come true. I dressed up, picked up the dollars and the room key, went out of the hotel and finally got into a taxi. The moon was shining. I could hear the waves. I could see the Al-Burj from a distance. As the taxi drove me to the place, several questions sprung up in my mind. What if the shop is closed, it’s already late night? What if the entire area is closed? What if her shift was over and some other girl was present in her place? With a thumping heart full of doubts and excitements, I finally reached there. The area was as crowded as it was during the day. The shops were all open. But to my surprise, the last question of mine became true. She was not there. I did not dare to enquire any further. I simply walked out of the area. Trying to console myself that I had tried my level best, I was waiting for a taxi to get back to my hotel before anyone at the hotel notices that I am missing from my room.
Now here begins the dangerous part. A vehicle stops in front of me. Thinking it was a taxi, I moved forward to tell the driver the place I wished to go. Just then, I get a huge blow on my head. I don’t know what happened next. I wake up suddenly to find the glowing moon and the roaring waves. I wondered if I was dreaming. Slowly I realised that I was not in my room. I was out there. I was on the beach, in the darkness, lying on my back surrounded by some people. They were five of them. Three men and two women. Just when I was trying to figure out what could have happened with me, comes a new twist. She was among them.
I tried to stand up and talk to her. Another blow from the back. As I laid down there half unconscious, I heard them speaking to each other in high pitch voices in some language that I could not understand. It was probably Arabic. The girl then came to me and whispered something in English. Although I knew that she was saying it clearly, I just could not grasp it due to the blow on my head. Now it was clear that they wanted ransom. It was a city with zero crime rate and heavy punishments used to be given for small crimes too, so how could these people take such a risk, I wondered. Well, when a fool like me could decide to search for a girl I once met in a completely new city, then why can’t they dare to kidnap me.
I told her repeatedly that I knew no one there. I was with my family on a tour and was going back the next day and I had no number to call them. The only way to reach them was to go to the hotel or call up the hotel, I explained. Other people around were becoming increasingly irritated and restless as I was speaking. The girl patiently listened to me and explained the same to them. One guy, with a monster’s build marched towards me and punched me several time, asking something in Arabic. The girl tried to stop him. I don’t know what in the world had possessed me. My kidnappers were standing right in front of me and I was in love with one of them. Suddenly one guy starts off in the native language. The girl whom I liked was my translator. I could not understand why the hell she was translating their conversation to me. Was she trying to help me out? Was she indicating me danger? What else? She told that are planning to call the hotel and ask the hotel management to connect to my family’s room. While they were trying to make their own plan, it was the another women who pointed out to me and said that I was of no use, that they could find people like me any time and suggested that I should be killed. Her words scared the hell out of me. As I had nothing much in my pockets, I was of no use to them really. The kidnappers themselves did not make up their mind about me. Where they disposing me off or would they stick to me and call for a ransom? As they were fighting among themselves, I asked the girl from the shop, how they knew that I was there. I wanted to know whether it was a trap they set for young and foreign customers, whether they had been following me in the morning to know my address and later in the evening as I came out for her, how long they have been doing such things etc. As I pestered her with these questions, the other lady gave a kick on my back while the shop girl remained silent and uncomplaining. I knew something was wrong out there. She was not completely on their side. May be she would help me come out of the mess.
It was almost sunrise time. They could not have me anymore. They either had to kill me or make a call. It was all in their hands. My life was in their hands. The three men suddenly left. I thought they had certainly gone to either ring up my family in the hotel or get their tools to kill me and dispose me off without anyone knowing about it. Now it was me, the cruel lady and the shop one right in front of the beach. As I laid there bleeding a bit and moaning in pain, I saw something really crazy. The one, whom I still liked in spite of the deep trouble I was in, punched the other woman in her face multiple times. As she struggled to regain her footing, this girl from the shop untied me and asked me to leave. I just could not put the pieces together. What was happening? Won’t the men ever come back? Weren’t they supposed to kill me? Is she helping me? Stop questioning yourself and run for your life, she shouted. That’s it. No time for love, first have your life, my mind made me remember.
With a bizarre experience for my mind, heart and body, I raced back to the hotel. I took the lift and went straight into my room. Cleaned up myself. Discarded some clothes stained with beach sand and my blood. By this time, it was morning. I heard a knock on my room door. It was my sister. She just came to find out whether I woke up or not. I did not let her in. I said I was awake and made her go.
Five and a half hours later, sitting in the plane, sipping my favourite Gingerale, I was thinking, what a hell of an experience it had been. Few hours before, I was lying there, on the sands of Dubai, kidnapped, beaten, surrounded and threatened. See now, I am away from all that. I am flying over the Arabian Sea, all set to reach home after a seventeen day long Europe tour. What a change over, it has been. No one knows anything about what happened that night. Neither do I know what those five people could have done to me. Did the girl know that I liked her and would come for her or did they follow me and catch me? Whatever it could have been, I am finally home, safe and secure. By the way, girl…..thanks a lot.