It was raining hard that night. In my hurry to get into the house, I didn’t notice the black car parked across the road. I realised something was wrong when I could see someone hovering around the car. I wasn’t sure if it was safe to go to the car to investigate but my instincts dragged me from the gate of my building to across the road and next to the car. What happened in that half an hour is what I call my most unforgettable memory.

I could see a woman pacing up and down, drenched and injured. At first when I saw her, she looked drunk as she was losing her balance now and then. But as I went near her, I was sure it was the injury and not any substance that was causing her to tip.

Excuse me Mam! Can I help you? I asked her. She seemed to be in a state of shock. I tried calling out to her but she continued going round and round in her car. I was not comfortable reaching out to her physically and I thought she might attack me in her condition. But there was no one I could call as my phone had switched off after getting wet in the rain. Also, if I went home, which was just across the street, my over-protective mother would panic and wouldn’t let me help her. So there I was, feeling helpless and angry, because I decided to help someone without knowing what to do.

I remember standing in the rain for quite some time, staring at the woman hovering around her car, feeling absolutely worthless. Then in a flash of a moment, I found myself walking towards her and reaching out to her shoulder. I must have been really stupid to do that!

Mam! I shouted as I grabbed her shoulder, Can you tell me your name? Do you live around here? The woman seemed to have lost her ability to hear or see or feel as she continued to walk around her car, only that now she was crying and shivering because of the rain.

I grabbed both her shoulders and tried to talk again.

I will help you! Tell me what I want! Is this your car?

I repeatedly asked her the above questions for at least five minutes before she finally looked at me and broke down. At that point, to be honest, I was scared to death, because she wouldn’t stop screaming and trembling. After a while, she began to come back to her senses and began to calm down. Finally, when she stopped crying, she looked at me and told me that she was a second-year BA student in IIT who was out for a school reunion party at one of the schoolmate’s farmhouses on the outskirts of the city. She had happily agreed to go for the party because obviously we are always excited to meet our school buddies and relive the happy school memories. When she entered the farmhouse, she told me that everything was fine for a couple of hours. She then said that they began playing a game which turned into an unpleasant episode of bullying her. She was majorly bullied by a school group when in school and at the party too, the group started bullying her. When she retaliated, they faked an apology and offered her a drink.

I was foolish to assume that they were truly sorry and that they had grown up, she told me, now smiling as if recollecting what happened at the party. She told me that she doesn’t remember what happened after she took that drink. She only remembers me screaming at her.

When I regained consciousness, my head hurt and I was lying on the street, drenched, outside my car. I don’t even know what part of the city I am in. They must have put me in the car and brought me here. And they must have thrown me out of my own car and thrown away the keys after locking it so that I can’t go home.

The woman, whose name was Ankita, thanked me for being there. She asked me which place she had been abandoned, and asked the way to the nearest police station. I took her with me and told my house watchman to guard her car for the night. My mother calmed down as she heard the whole story and allowed me to take her to the hospital to nurse her wounds. Ankita slept at my place that night. The next morning, mom and I accompanied her to the police station and lodged an FIR. Ankita said she wanted to get a blood test done as she thought she had been made to take drugs through the drink. She was right. She gave the details of the farmhouse and of her friends. The police sealed the farmhouse and arrested the friends.

Ankita and I became good friends forever after the incident. She taught me to be cautious of people, because some people can never be trusted no matter how much time has passed. She also taught me that it is okay to have a moment of fear. If you have a helping hand around, you can overcome fear and get back on your feet again. At that moment I’m so glad that I helped her by overcoming my fear.