It was well past mid night. The wind was howling and the rains were pouring down. Me and the village elder were guarding the fields. We were sitting in a small unfurnished shed with two chairs and a lamp. From far away we could see a dim source of light approaching us. Who could it be at this hour? Would it be a person in need of help? or Would it be someone with malicious intent?
A bullock cart halted in front of the shed. An old man walked up to the shed. I wanted to go to the city in a hurry, he said. But the rains had made his progress slow. He was looking for a place to rest until the rains stopped. We walked him to the village temple and asked the old man to take a nap until the rains relent.
The two of us were walking back towards the shed. The village elder seemed unsettled. He was in a deep thought. The old man looks like a decent person. Why do you look worried? I asked. He was still immersed in a deep thought. I asked the same question again. He seemed to shrug off his thoughts. Oh nothing he said. But I could still see some doubts creeping on his face. A thought of old man being a thief had crossed my mind.
We were back in the shed and siting quietly for a hour or so. The village elder was not looking himself. He seemed lost. Doesn't the old man look too old to be driving a bullock cart at this hour? I casually mentioned intending it to be a pun. Then it had struck him. Too old. Ah! he said. Why had I not thought about it?
We were running towards the temple. I didn't have any clue as to why. But there was no bullock cart in sight. The old man had vanished. Lying on the floor was a bundle of money. The village elder looked stunned. Who was the old man? I asked.
We were in the library. In a long lost book I could see the picture of a freedom fighter who would have greatly resembled the old man if he had lived to see this day.
The entire village was working to renovate his bust that had been destroyed last year during the rains. I was taken sick for a few days but enjoyed every bit of the holiday.