Monday, 6 February 2012

The Security Guard




DISCLAIMER:


"I cannot confirm or deny that anything the following prose says,  has any connection to any matter true or false or any event that has, is, or will occur in the history of the universe. Any similarity to an event or  with an actual existing person(s) is purely coincidental."




It is half past 10:00 in night. A few voices come from the basement. Ibn Batuta is bored of noises, but this one seems to be a curious case. Is someone quarrelling out there? Is it an altercation? Ibn Batuta locks the door of his flat and walks down the stairs. There he finds, standing in a circle, a bunch of people.

The man who is speaking most loudly is drunk. The pungent alcohol smell coming with every utterance of this man tells Ibn Batuta that this man is drunk. He has lost most of his hair on front side of his head owing to male pattern baldness. He is bespectacled and dark complexioned and occasionally utters a few words in a regional language to the lady with curly hair. This lady is standing beside this gentleman, with a red-colour cell phone in her hand and she has design of flowers of blue and white colours on her dress.



The Young Man: Let police verification complete, then only we would appoint this new man on job.


The Old Man: That's what I have been saying since so long. My left foot is swollen and I am not able to bear this severe pain and I have been standing here since last one hour but it all seems so futile to me.


The old man has grey hairs. Only patches of hair are left on his head. He has a graceful appearance and he is rather short in stature.



The Drunkard: [Very loudly]: Let all the owners assemble and decide what they want to do and only then we are going to appoint a new guard. I don't think that we need another guard. The man who is already doing the job is a good man.



The Young Man: But who is the man doing the job? Is he the man ( Points finger to a man who is carelessly sitting next to a TV, in which an action movie is shortly going to be played and TV channel is showing plethora of pre-start advertisements.)?


The Drunkard: Indeed.


The Young Man: Are you joking? I come at around 1:00 AM every day and I have to jump over the main gate as a rule because no matter how much you call his name, he is never there to open it for you. How do you suppose that he even cares about watching your vehicles in night, here in the parking lot? I mean, come on, he is not a watchman!



The Old Man: Indeed, that is what I am talking about. Let us get that police verification done and then we would appoint that new guy.


The Drunkard: But this guy here is the 24 hours security guard.

The Young Man: How can you ever expect a man to do a job of a security guard for 24*7? That's plain ridiculous.


The Drunkard: But I have been here since last many decades and I know that policies over here are decided by owners only.


The Young Man: What are we talking about? I do not see a discussion.

The Old Man: That is what; we would appoint this new man for only the night shift.


The Drunkard: But owners! My grandparents have lived in this house. This house. [Incoherent mumbling.]



The Young Man: You ought to care about your tenants as well. All you ever care about is "The Rights of the Owners"


The Drunkard: [Loudly and incoherently pointing to a direction]: You see, from that main road, uphill there I manage everything! You don't teach me Mathematics kiddo, John is my uncle and so is Bob!


The Young Man: Well, I feel that I am wasting my time over here.


The Old Man: Ok, you are talking about owners. How many owners do you represent?


The Drunkard: I have four flats in this building!


The Old Man: Ok, I have three. It makes seven. How many flats do you represent gentleman?


The Young Man: Only one!


The Old Man: That makes it eight. We would get some other owners, as well as tenants and we have already scheduled a bi-monthly meeting, therefore there is no need to worry about the consensus.



The Old lady who was silently standing there, but called many witnesses for the discussion by knocking their doors, one by one, whispers in the ear of Ibn Batuta: “You know, he is drunk!" Ibn Batuta nods.


The Old Man wants to dismiss the meeting but then again The Drunk Man starts mumbling:


“My forefathers used to be your owners. She used to stay here and then she became a tenant of mine and later she became owner and hence ownership. Owners lead to ownership because ownership comes with owners. Yes, owners."


The Lady interrupts: But since tenants live here and pay, they are entitled to raise their voices against what they find out of order.


The Drunkard: I am the owner and let us do one thing: Let us go for an agency which would be here 24*7.


The Old Man: That would be too costly to bear.

The Lady: Earlier you were against a two-guard policy, saying that it would be too costly, now, it seems you're changing your opinion!


The Young Man leaves the assembly and walks away saying that he saw very little of discussion and a lot of shouting. Ibn Batuta laughs to himself.


The Old Man: Good bye then, we shall see it tomorrow.


The Old Man moves towards elevator and his wife says loudly to other witnesses: “This man watches TV until twelve o' clock in the night. The TV was provided by the association. His family comes over here and they waste a lot of water. This man does not even have courtesy to say a good bye to me. The last month, his wife came over here and said to me “Please send my husband to the village, it seems that he has totally abandoned us!" This man sleeps so sound in night that even if you knock the hell out of the main gate, he would not care."


The Old Man: Hush! Don't drag it to personal affairs now.


They all move towards elevator. Ibn Batuta moves surreptitiously towards stairs. The chapter closes.