It was so dark that it felt like someone had thrown an old blanket over the earth, and the stars were like the little holes that had been eaten away by the rodents.

“What has happened to the street lights?’’ I wondered. Checked my watch. It was 10:30 pm and it was a Monday. In residential colonies in the Silicon Valley, late evenings on the weekdays are quiet. Every single human sleeps early, to rise early for work. The only sounds I heard were of some stray dogs barking and of the night-noisemakers, the crickets and cicadas.

I was told Bangalore is safer than Delhi. Still, suddenly, some strange fear cautioned me from within. Dead tired even for a leisurely stroll, I speeded up, analyzing in my mind, each and every scene since evening. That awful auto rickshaw driver didn’t agree to go only a little further even after begging him. Why can’t people be a little kinder at times? I couldn’t order an Uber. I had lost my phone in the mall. I started cursing myself. How could I possibly be so irresponsible? Why did I not wait until my roommate was back from vacation? Greed, I tell you! The shopaholic me and the ‘flat 40% off discount sale’ that ended that very day. Saved few hundreds and lost a phone worth thousands. Wow! I was rolling my eyes at myself.

After the next turn, I saw a faint figure of a man walking slowly towards me. Potbellied, probably middle-aged. A stray dog followed him. My sixth sense warned me that something wasn’t right.  He paced up. I could now hear my rapid heartbeats against my ringing ears. My feet turned icy and my palms sweaty.

In the next few minutes, he sprung over me. Violently groped me and ran.

I fell down. Blacked out for a few seconds, not able to realize what just happened.

But then, I got up and chased him.

“Hey, hey…stop …let me show you who has more balls, you stinky old bastard”…I raced behind him, crying out loud all the swear words I knew. To my surprise, I had the company of a four-legged being who ran past me and pounced on the buttock of that coward. He screamed with pain. The noises were loud enough to wake up some people who came out of the houses to catch hold of that pervert. He was later handed over to the police.

But the four-legged being wasn’t any stranger. He was the same stray dog I had been feeding since a month, every morning before I went to work. I met that adorable guy on my second day in the new city. He looked lean and weak and immediately caught my attention. But little did I know that only for a few left over chapattis, I would get such a huge favor in return.

Soon we became best friends. I named him “Salvatore”, which in Spanish, means ‘savior’.