“You can’t park inside the compound!”

Priya stopped backing her car into the vacant space, next to her building and looked at the angry old man who was standing behind, blocking her way, “Who are you?” she asked.

 “I am the secretary of this society and you are not a flat owner; you cannot park inside the compound!”

 “I am a tenant here! And my landlady has got me permission to park inside!” said Priya.

 “You dare speak back to me!” shouted the old man, “I will have the watchman take the air out of your tires!”

 “Secretary sahib,” said Priya as she leaned out of the window, “I am going to reverse my car and if you do not move out, I will reverse onto you. And if my car tires are ever deflated you will be taken directly to the police station! Now move!!”

She grinned as the old man jumped out of her way and was nowhere in sight as she got out and made her way to the flat, she shared with Archana and Geeta and which was owned by Mrs D’Souza who lived alone in the third bedroom.

 “Your chairman was at it again!” grinned Priya, “he’s got something against us single women!”

 “Told me yesterday I should not use society premises to talk with my boyfriend on the phone, I told him I was talking to my boss!” said Archana

The girls laughed and waited as Geeta struggled to say something, “I don’t like the city!” said Geeta, “I always thought I’d feel independent and liberated here, but all people make us feel are like we’re a bunch of whores!”

 “Girls!” said Mrs D’Souza, “welcome to the single woman’s club. When John died ten years ago, I thought everyone at the funeral was going to give me a helping hand, but dears the only hands that gave me help were these. I was treated like an outcaste, suspected by every wife and thought easy prey by their leering spouses!”

 “But isn’t this a city?” asked Geeta, “aren’t people more cultured, more exposed?”

 “Ha,ha,ha!” laughed Mrs D’Souza heartily, “our cities are still filled with village bumpkins!”

 “That secretary….,” said Priya.

 “Wasn’t used to seeing a successful independent girl behind the wheel of her own car. He felt awfully insecure and had to assert himself…”

 “No parking in the compound!” screamed Priya, and the girls screamed with her.

 “But.” said their landlady, “you handled him well, and that’s how it’s got to be. So, cheers to us city gals!”

 “Would you have run over the Secretary’s legs?” asked Geeta that night when the girls were falling asleep.

 “What? And have my fender scratched?” yawned Priya and the girls giggled as they fell asleep. From a window above the secretary looked out fearfully at the girl’s car parked below and hoped it didn’t have a puncture.

He hated police stations..!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.