Quietly they were driving back having paid last obeisance to Madhu’s mother who had left them a week ago. Madhu was still crying softly.
Suddenly Amit felt that they were going wrong way.. There was no sign of any locality for miles. The road was becoming narrower and he could see cacti and scrub on the sides. Perhaps he had taken a wrong turn. Madhu was so engrossed in her sorrow that she was oblivious of the surroundings.
“Madhu,” he asked softly,” Do you think we are on the right path?” Madhu looked up and exclaimed, “Oh, no” “What to do now?” Suddenly they saw a group of four or five people standing at the side of the road. Amit slowed down to ask them. As he was slowing down, they were shaken by a loud bang. Out of nowhere a speeding bike struck their car from behind..Bewildered and shaken, Three boys riding the bike were sprawled on the road. Two of them got up, but the third one had some difficulty in getting up .Amit immediately made him sit and felt his pulse.. As he was returning to his car to pick up First Aid Box, one of them grabbed him and the other started beating him badly.Madhu was too stunned and shocked to help him out . Blood was oozing from his head and sides of mouth. She tried to dissuade them but they were too strong for her. One of them pushed her away. The world was crumbling before her eyes. The third one had also recovered and was making frantic calls to someone. In the meantime , the group standing at the side of the road rushed towards them talking excitedly in their local dialect .
“What happened ?” they inquired.
Madhu could catch a few words —— these city folk, arrogant, must teach them a lesson——“that’s the end of us ” , she thought.
Suddenly out of nowhere people started pouring in. Men, Women, and Children. The crowd swelled ..Madhu and Amit stood there unsure, waiting for the crowd to attack them.why weren’t they already doing that? Madhu thought.
A man signaled them to move towards their car . Scared and unsure they obeyed .A man called out loudly to women standing there to go and bring milk and water for those boys . A village woman came slyly and warned , “Run away, These are the village Badmashs and we can’t defy them openly .Luckily for you they don’t have weapons .Entire village has come to save you,” She signalled and the people cleared the way. Madhu dragged Amit inside the car , ”We have to get out of here .” She took the driver’s seat ,sped the car, never knowing where they were going .She took whatever turn she could ,missed striking quite a few passerbys ,kept moving till she could stand no more .She stopped the car and fainted.