Bani, 28, works in Delhi.
‘Would you like to kiss me?’
We are both in our late twenties and had met off a dating app and had been talking over the phone for two months as our jobs kept us in different cities. Aryan had a home and family in my city, so the prospect of us meeting in real life was viable and one that we were eagerly looking forward to.
When Aryan got a week’s leave to visit home, we met in person for the first time.
After a long evening, of talking about everything and nothing, the attraction was unmissable. I was to drive Aryan to a main road nearby from where he’d board a taxi. As we approached the spot, my heart jumped and I blurted, ‘Would you like to kiss me?’
Aryan was surprised but readily agreed because he dearly wanted it too. But where would we go? Our homes had families who would disapprove. My brother’s car, that I had brought along, was the only private space we had. We decided to steer the car towards a nearby road running through a patch of the city forest.
Kiss was thrilling but..
We parked in a spot that seemed reasonably private. Seated in our places, we reached for each other. The kiss was thrilling and we kept on with it while our hands and bodies reached out for more. Unmindful of our location, we were getting ahead of just the kiss we had come here for.
I pulled away for an instant to readjust my position when I spotted in the rear-view mirror a car with a blue beacon halting a few metres behind them. It was a police patrol van. We both did organic, lightning-fast consultations on what to do.
I hit the emergency lights and shot on my car’s engine to zip away from this dreadful situation when the police put on their siren and started following.
We kept words to the minimum, but our thoughts were shouting. So many young lovers in India are being assaulted and harassed by self-appointed vigilantes and by police these days. We both knew what could follow.
I remembered the film Masaan (which I had watched twice in a cinema hall) that opens with police harassing a young, unmarried couple who’d gone to sexually explore each other in a hotel room. I knew my family would be alerted right away. I would have to explain what we were doing in the car.
At 28, my sexual needs were an unacknowledged conversation in my family. All this thinking happened as the forest around was sprinting past and our car was piercing the darkness of the road ahead.
The police chase
The police kept up and let out their van’s siren twice in this chase that seemed endless to us. I missed when a divider appeared on the road and accidentally ended up on the wrong side of the road, almost ramming into a motorcyclist.
The PCR van caught up with us, signalling us to stop by playing the siren yet again – the fourth time now. There was no point in running. It was absurd, but we felt like criminals while we were perfectly law-abiding citizens (if we discount the over-speed driving that evening).
The police pulled up about 15 feet behind our car. We decided to remain seated in the car with the windows rolled down. A policeman from the PCR’s driver’s seat stepped out and knocked on the window behind Aryan’s and went back to his spot beside his van.
We gave each other strength to keep holding on and not step out, lest we will be dragged into something even worse. I let out my hand from the open window to gesture ‘what’s the matter?’ while waiting for hell to break loose.
It might have been two long minutes we both waited for the other to make a move. But the policemen did a quick scan of our car and spoke to each other. They did not make any move. Perhaps they were searching for someone else. We decided that this was our moment to try and wriggle away. I put on the ignition and slightly moved the car. The cops stayed in their position. I pushed up the speed slightly more.
Dreadful suspense and silence
After about 100 metres, I hit hard at the pedal and drove straight for five minutes in dreadful suspense and silence. Aryan tried to look up the way out of this forest stretch but the mobile data signal was lost.
We kept on the same road and after another five minutes, the forest road and the police seemed to be left behind. We were out of immediate danger even though we might be tracked down later through the car number. We decided to go a little further for safety while breathing easier.
When I finally stopped the car, I was shivering. I couldn’t stop picturing what might have happened to us. Aryan took my hand in his and stroked it softly to comfort me. ‘We’re out of it and safe,’ he said.
In our hearts, we knew that this evening and the bond we had come to share were unforgettable. It was a defining moment for us.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.
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