This happened whilst I was in my first year of college.I was studying at Pune & had come home to Narora,as it was Deepavali vacation.Narora is a small village in Uttar Pradesh.My dad was posted there at the Atomic Energy power plant.
All my school friends were also in college but they were not yet home for Deepavali. I was getting bored with no friends around.One day ,my dad announced, that, a vehicle was leaving for Delhi on some official work on the next day.One of school friend's dad would also be going in the vehicle,he said.I was delighted.I thought,why not travel with my friend's dad & go & meet her at Delhi.She was studying in a women's college in Delhi.So all was set.
We left the next day - it was a Matador.I was seated in the row behind the driver with Uncle,my friend's dad.There were one more person seated in the front besides the driver.He was travelling to make some purchases for the Grocery stores.We were all from the colony, set up, to house the people, who were working at the Atomic Energy unit.So,we were all known to each other.
We reached Delhi.The vehicle dropped me & Uncle at the college campus.I was thrilled to meet my ex-classmate & we gossiped non-stop.Uncle meanwhile, attended to his errands.He returned in the evening by about five.The vehicle had also come back with the driver & the other occupant.We were told that we have to pick up an executive from the airport at around ten.My uncle suggested that we all should stay back in Delhi & proceed home early next morning.We requested the College authorities to let me stay for that night but they refused.So,it was decided, that we will depart after the executive joins us at the airport.
After the arrival of the executive,we started on our home journey.It was quite late in the night & not recommended as there had been reports of looting en route.We kept praying as we travelled.Most of us had dozed off.Suddenly,the vehicle came to a halt.I woke up & tried to make sense of what had caused the driver to hit such a strong brake.I saw that we were on a road & just parked ahead was a small goods carrier -a tempo.It was standing in such a way that our vehicle could not get a way.The road was too narrow.On one side,was a valley not too deep but quite wide & another side was a tree .So our vehicle was struck.The driver got down .At that moment ,four to five persons sprang up from the shadows.We were aghast ! They had pistols & choppers.They prevented the driver from getting into the vehicle.They surrounded the vehicle & demanded that we hand over all the valuables.
We hardly had any money with us.We told them so, but, they refused to listen.We pleaded with them to let us go .We informed them that this was a sarkari gaadi( government vehicle ).This was because it was Friday midnight then. On Fridays,it is customary in that area for businessmen & traders to travel on business. But our pleas fell on deaf ears.The executive was carrying a suitcase & the robbers had seen it.They demanded that he hand it over.He refused ,"I can't give-all documents are there,"he screamed.They got angry & started firing.I was just staring & my Uncle just shoved my head down on the seat before ducking himself.I could hear some more shots.Uncle saved me from the pellets which were being fired. We now pleaded with the executive to hand over the suitcase.This was when the robbers were reloading their country made pistols. The executive had got hurt & blood was oozing from his injury.He was unable to protest as we handed over the suitcase.The robbers broke open the suitcase & finding the contents useless threw it back at us exclaiming,"When nothing was there,why so much fuss !?"Next,one of them demanded, that, I hand over my earrings-Uncle replied,"She is studying in college away from home .So she wears fake gold earrings."They seemed satisfied.The executive was crying as he was in great pain.We requested the robbers to let us proceed.They agreed but said that we turn back & go.We had no choice .The driver got into the vehicle & drove it at breaking speed.
All were talking at once as we were too excited by shock.The Grocery store assistant was thanking his stars that the money he had carried for the purchases was safe.He had not been able to buy all things & hence a balance was still there.I informed Uncle that I was wearing real gold earrings- though they were a tiny pair.We were thanking God that we escaped without any major mishap.We concluded that the robbers were small time thieves out to earn a small amount of pocket money.
Actually,we had the encounter very near to our colony & so the robbers wanted us to turn & go back.They were sure that if we were to go ahead ,then very soon,they would be behind bars as they won't get time to escape. We reached the district headquarters after an hour.We landed at the Government hospital.The executive was taken in & attended.The police arrived.They said that we should not have travelled so late in the night.All formalities were over .It was early morning now.The news about the encounter had reached the colony.But my dad was kept in the dark.A vehicle had started from there to pick us up.The executive was to stay in the Government hospital for a day because of his injuries.He had escaped almost unhurt.
The vehicle came & we all started homewards.I asked for my parents & was told that they had not been informed .Maybe,nobody wanted my parents to be alarmed.Or it was not known that I had also travelled in the said vehicle. We all reached home.My parents were anxious as they had also heard about the incident by then. We had to keep repeating the saga umpteen times to avid listeners.All were of the opinion that the executive had asked for trouble by refusing to hand over his suitcase.Anyway,we were all glad that we were all safe & sound.The executive was discharged the next day & he went around the colony telling that he had saved the day for all of us !