It wasn’t long past midnight when we left Someplace Else on Saturday. A colleague of mine, Debashree Majumdar, a common friend of ours and I had met at The Park hotel pub to listen to professor Bertram Da Silva jamming with Pink Noise.
We three young women left around 12.15am and hailed a cab on Park Street. Our first stop was to be Bijoygarh, where Debashree lives.
On the Lake Gardens bridge, we noticed two men on a motorcycle tailing us. The taxi driver tried to shake them off but they were persistent. They slowed down when our taxi slowed down and picked up speed when we accelerated.
Near Golf Green, the motorcycle came close to the taxi and the riders shouted out that one of the doors was open. We had rolled up our windows in fear. None of the doors was open. The motorcycle kept pace with us throughout, with the man riding pillion constantly turning and staring at us.
When we reached the Golf Green TV centre, they cut into our path and waved at us to stop. We screamed and told the taxi driver not to slow down.
We lost them for a while but as we turned into the Bijoygarh area and approached Debashree’s house, we heard the dreaded sound of the motorcycle again. It was right behind us.
As we stopped in front of her house, the motorcycle came right up to the taxi driver’s window. “Kahan ka gari hai'” demanded one. “Park Circus,” replied the taxi driver.
The other man — big-built and bearded — got off the motorcycle and tried to open our door. When he found it locked, he put his hand in through the driver’s open window and tried to unlock the door.
I was clutching on to the lock but the man grabbed my hand, managed to unlock the door, and tried to drag me out.
By then, Debashree had started screaming for help. Luckily, a cousin of hers was at the gate and he came running towards the taxi. When confronted, the men on the motorcycle — who appeared to be drunk — claimed they thought there was something suspicious about the taxi and so were “enquiring” about it.
It was when we identified ourselves as journalists and threatened to hand them over to the cops did they make a run for it on their motorcycle, bearing the number plate WMI 454.
I have never felt so scared in Calcutta before.
(Malini Banerjee, 22, joined The Telegraph in April after graduating from Presidency College. She and Debashree filed an FIR in Jadavpur police station on Sunday.)