He smiles to himself as he takes a quick look in the rear-view mirror. Then pulls up next to a paan shop. Gets himself a packet of cigarettes, looks back at the Maruti van parked a discreet distance from his car, waves cheerfully in acknowledgement and speeds away.
This has been a ritual for 33-year-old Delhi businessman Rahul Verma for the past eight years. Over time, hes realised hes been under surveillance by a detective agency hired by his 45-year-old married girlfriend to keep tabs on his activities. Neurosis, insecurity? Vermas not bothered: hes in the clear.
"Exactly," says Taralika Lahiri of Delhi-based agency Spymasters. "The lady had hired us to discover if her lover was two-timing her. We tailed him for years till my investigators refused to continue with the job. We found nothing. Worse, by the end of it, Rahul knew all my men by face!"
A sweet and funny story? Hardly. The case is symptomatic of a growing paranoia gripping society. Suspicion. Its all around. Thanks to the pressures of racing to compete...