It was a sunny morning and there was a holiday for some reason. I rang the doorbell…ting tong…
Sou, my dear friend opened the door. Her smile widened looking at me.
‘You so early today? ‘She was braiding her beautiful long hair.
‘ Finished my assignment early…so decided to visit you. How’s college going? Did you bunk classes this week?’ I asked her.
Sou(short for Soujanya) had chosen commerce and me science and so we were now in different colleges and only got to meet each other on Sundays or holidays.
‘No, I have been a sincere student this week.’ She made a face.
‘Shall we go cycling today?’
‘That’s a great idea! ‘ She was enthusiastic.
‘Where do we go?’
‘Let’s venture out of our society premises…and do long cycling.’ 
‘Why don’t you girls take some snacks with you?’ Sous mom suggested. She had heard our conversation. She was a beautiful  south-indian lady with striking features. I loved gorging on her tasty snacks. 
‘Great! Let’s have an impromptu picnic.’ Sou suggested.
‘Well, there’s no one at my place today and I am free so I am all in.’ I was only too happy spend the day with my friend.
‘ I will pack you girls some upma too!!’ Aunty was always jovial and encouraging.
‘Thank you Amma! Thank you Aunty!’
 We both were happy and set out a little while later with our belongings. Back then there were no mobiles and Pune was not a crowded city. 
‘Let’s go up the quarry again.’ Sou suggested  as our society area was left behind.  There was an abandoned quarry that we had discovered further up that was filled with water and made an ideal place to relax.
‘What’s that inside?’ I was pointing to a beautiful green meadow and nestled amongst it far away was a pretty short lake. The water sparkled and beckoned us. We stopped cycling.

‘Looks so beautiful….lets explore…’

‘Hmm…but how do we get inside?’
The whole area was fenced with thick barbed wires. Just then we saw a buffalo getting out through an opening. It was large enough for us to pass. But not our cycles.
‘Let’s leave our cycles here. They will be safe.’
I looked around. No one seemed to be around for miles. 
‘Fine.’ We left our cycles there and sneaked inside. Our aim was just to get to the lake.
As we neared we saw that the lake was a very short one and surrounded by huge rocks that made lovely sitting spots. It’s water source was probably rain water. 
We placed our things on the rocks choosing a good spot. We took a walk along the edges and ventured a bit inside getting ourselves wet.
We then settled for a good chat and had our tiffin as we got hungry a while later with all our gossiping.
We had spent some lovely couple of hours. ..the weather had been perfect.
As we were giggling over some joke. We suddenly heard some footsteps behind us. As we turned we saw a burly, stern faced Khaki dressed guy. He looked like an Inspector…what did he want?
‘What are you girls doing over here? Don’t you know this is an restricted area?’
‘Restricted?’ I gulped as I thought about the word.

‘No idea Sir!’ Sou had found her tongue before me.
‘How did you get inside?’ He wanted to know.

We explained about the fence opening which now seemed far away.
‘Do you understand the risk that you are taking? Two young girls!!! We have jail inmates who are serving   sentences of 20 years or more. You can be punished for this offence.’
My wild imagination started running. I could just imagine my parents visiting us in a police station to bail us out. My Dad livid and angry.,. that was  enough to make me sweat.
‘No …please don’t do that…we didn’t know about this. We just saw this lake and came here.’ I pleaded.
‘Yess. ..God promise we didn’t know…otherwise we wouldn’t have done this.’ Sou enjoined.
The inspector saw the honesty in our eyes. His stance relented. 
‘Okay…but now you will have to go the other way around. ..not the way you came in. Understood?’
‘Yes Sir!’ We both sagged with relief just at the thought of getting away.
We gathered our things with super fast speed and began walking.
As we were out of sight. We thought…How are we going to get home? This is such a long way. Cycles are on the other side.

‘Do you have any money? We can take the bus then.’ Sou asked me.
‘No… no money. ..had no idea.’ I replied.
We trudged on  the long walk.
I was just happy that we had escaped the jail…we both were relieved.

Well, this incident happened years ago when I was a teenager residing near the Pune Yerwada jail area. The Yerwada jail is well known for its many famous inmates.  It was really reckless of me and my friend to not see that we were entering a restricted area. We were just enamored with the lake and the beauty. Beautiful places can be dangerous…this was a lesson. But did this incident stop us from adventuring? No ways!!!


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