Ram did has daily beat around the housing society. Ageing yet respectable, Rama was like the society he guarded. People knew that if a thief entered, Ram could not give him a chase, neither could he lift the heavy bags the women carried after they came home after shopping, nor could he do sixteen hour duties like the other young guards did, but the society held on to him. His grey moustache had stopped growing, it seemed, like his role in the security of the society.
During the regular nightly rounds he made, he would while the time away by whistling away his favourite tunes, watching the stars and walking briskly around the society’s perimeter. He sometimes also fell asleep in his chair at his duty post, but to be honest, every guard did that. Even if they were hailed as the saviours of the night, they also loved savouring the night. Life had been the same for Ram for the past ten years. He had seen the society grow old, the children grow old and go away. Yet, Ram was constant, always on for his night duty, whistling away some golden retro tunes.
Everybody always has an escape from the ordinary, though, and Ram had it coming anyway. Ten years is a big time. On that fateful night, though he saw a light. Literally, a source of light shaped like a little child, at best. He could not figure out if it was a boy or a girl, though. Any ordinary man would dismiss it as a dream, after all, the fatigue of the night makes people see things that do not exist. Ram could not. He could not put away the possibility that it was thief, or any person who should not have been there, at least.
He chose to investigate. Walking towards where he saw the figure moments ago, he caught a glance of the figure once again a little afar. Every time Ram reached the figure, the figure would move away fifty metres or so and Ram followed. The figurine led Ram into a residential building, nothing out of the ordinary, just like many of the buildings that made up the housing society. The night gave the building an eerie look though. Almost all the lights turned off, the occasional night lamp would cast a deformed shadow across the floor. The building had no elevator though, the builders might not have thought of needing one as the building had only four floors atop a ground floor. Ram climbed up, following the figure. All his patience and courage was being tested simultaneously. Somehow he gathered his guts and climbed.
The figure took Ram up to the roof and it disappeared. Ram was not sure as to how to react. He moved forward, looked about, saw nothing out of the ordinary, or he thought so. Standing about fifty feet from him was a boy, standing on the roof, probably about to jump off. Ram gathered all his wits about him, rushed at the boy and saved the boy just as he was going to jump off. Maybe the figurine had appeared just for Ram to fulfill his purpose, to get a meaningful achievement to his long drawn, almost unnoticeable career.
The next day Ram woke up as if nothing had ever happened.
By Neeraj Meghani (Head Editor, Fiction)