The Nightwalker is the code name of a self proclaimed private detective. A young man of decent height and health, talented, college dropout, suspicious in his behavior, abandoned from normal society. He has decided to leave this world the way it is to design one of his own. He has simulated a world for himself where everything happens the way he wants (for at least till now). He remains jobless for most of the time because not many people hire Detectives and if few hires, they opt for the famous credible agencies. These agencies are audited and supervised. Nightwalker refused to work with any such agencies because he had only one thrilling reason to opt this profession i.e. live unidentified. Many agencies hire him but on his terms i.e. don’t try to find who he is. His commitment to his professions helps him make decent money. It is an achievement of his detective attributes that while he is remarkably famous as 'The Nightwalker' in secret world, no one knows who he is. He served too many big and small people or group of people and government agencies including city police but no one knows who he is. His clients have never met him. His voice on phone is tempered by some metallic vibrations and ascent is never the same every time he calls. His phone call details are often traced to any government hospital, public booth of Airports, mobile number of dead people etc. His GPRS Locations are not sufficient to find who he might be because such locations are densely crowded. His terms of taking payments are weird and beyond the logic for even to the people of spy credentials. One of many ways, as told by one of his client, is slipping two sets of diamond ring in torn shoes and leave them at the temple gateway. Needless to say that keeping a watch on those shoes is waste of time because even experts failed to figure out how those pair of rings gone missing and when? while those shoes are still there. Client tried to have contact with Nightwalker to check what happened or if he has got his due but he couldn't. That client simply assumed that rings have reached to the detective and payment has been made.
The Nightwalker is not a hero. He has nothing heroic in his act. He simply have opted a not-normal life to escape from his social failures. He likes reading and roaming. He talks a lot with innocents but if working, he only observes silence. He doesn't look like any detective. No big hat, no cigar, no costly leather jacket or Ray-Ban Goggle. A man, who otherwise would have been a poet or a singer in Bollywood, is a professional detective. Little difference is that he's an expert shooter, keeps a 92F Berretta Pistol wrapped under his waist coat. He is an honest detective who keeps no record of the client once the job is over. His confidence on his profession reveals his fearlessness and excellence.
Tonight is like his most of the nights i.e. he has nothing to do. So, as per his nature, he's on streets for walking. He loves to go missing in the crowed. He reflects no different behavior, no unusual appearance because many experts are after the real identity of The Nightwalker. He only comes out of his hotel room when either he has a project or he wants to enjoy the night simply by wandering around the city. He's not a banker, doctor, engineer or employee anywhere in the known world. He has no answers for any questions that people ask in public life. That’s why, he simply does not exists in real world. His banks and related identities are illusive but legally unquestionable. In his hotel room, waiters’ find incomplete paintings, stacks of rough papers lying on floor, few cameras, mp3 player and computer often at unusual places. His room reflects as if he’s some artist in exile.
Walking at the Race-Course Road in mid night of Monday has very-very less traffic. It should rather not be called traffic, hardly any vehicle is visible. A few drunken fellow are singing (No! killing) the song far away at a dark corner. While walking towards the railway station, he picked that song from those drunken men to whistle. Night is largely silent, flooded with starts, moonless and freezing. Flood lights coming from roadside masts are brutally raping the virginity of its darkness. Whistling in such a silence is glorifying the song even more than the night (perhaps less). If at all any vehicle appears, it passes swiftly with a fearless speed leaving the trail of swirling wind behind.
Corner ways which are adjoining the Grand Race Course Road are dark because of the poor road light maintenance nonetheless it's a civic necessity of poor people. There lives different species of mankind who mistakenly are called poor or hungry or homeless. They appear dirty, untouchable, weak, ill and like animals. They don’t feel like other species of human feel. They don’t behave like others normally do. They are simply different lest if they are called humans. They don’t hide their body parts fairly perhaps because they are insensitive to this cold night… or perhaps they have just been made of some other flesh, blood or bone. Yes different species they are! They don’t see towards the luxurious car passing by. They are deaf to the high bass music being played inside those cars. They don’t react to the stray dogs or cows or buffaloes wandering around or perhaps these stray animals are not bothered by their presence. The Nightwalker took a seat made of cement under a lamp post (not working) near these differently humans. These hungry, ugly, ill human likes raised their eyebrows to stare him as if they are questioning the unauthorized access of their turf. This detective countered them by gazing in return. Soon they returned to their cores of curbing the fire of hunger. They are digging a smelling garbage bag brutally to find anything eatable. It appears that they’ve brought it from some party garden’s garbage output. What we will never touch or may vomit if touched by chance, is the food they are relishing upon like a fortunate diner. Their urge to investigate every nukes and bits of that garbage bag is reflecting the fire of hunger they are burning through. By looking at them, it is evident that ‘Hunger’ is the closest word to define what ‘absolute truth’ could be.
"Bhookh behosh bhi hone nahi deti
ye murdon ko bhi sone nahi deti
Bhookh hoti hai mohtaj ek nivaale ki
isko nahi hoti parvaah jamane ki"
However, one teenage boy among them is not participating in the gala. He was staring at the cigarette that Nightwalker is sucking. His eyes are repeatedly following the smoke coming out from his mouth and getting dispersed slowly. Boy’s face had mixed expression of fear, amusement and anger with several questions. In the quest of figuring out who this man is, he followed the smoke rising up. His eyes are questioning whether darkness or the freezing wind is eating that loath of smoke.
The Nightwalker looked at the boy. His facial features are as beautiful as any brand laden kid’s face could be. Any teenage boy from anywhere of this world would appear like this guy if have been thrown out like an orphan. Children are all alike they just grow up surprisingly different. As this boy will grow up, he will look similar to the man eating that garbage food... ugly, cruel and ill. This is the beauty of night, it often shows you the scenes of behind the camera where lights are dim and interests are dimmer.
The Nightwalker returned to the present. He is seeing that the boy coming closer. They both are gazing each other for no reason. Finally boy broke silence
“Are you a cop?” He asked. His voice is as same as of any rich kid’s voice could be but his ascent is stray and evidently ugly.
“No” Nightwalker barely voiced it but nodded firmly
“….” Nodded to refuse
“Must be the owner of this place?” in more surety he expected for an affirmative nod.
“Not either…” Nightwalker is realizing how cops and journalists are playing villain over homeless homo-sapiens.
“Ah… than I’ve a piece of advice for you” Chuckled the boy, after realizing that Nightwalker is no danger to him.
“Oh! Thanks please go ahead!” He smiled on him as got impressed with his attitude.
“Go home as soon as you can!” the boy is looking firmly in the eyes of Nightwalker “Cops are patrolling around, they ruthlessly beat drunken people. No matter rich or poor” He teasingly flipped his hairs and sank down to sit on the ground in front of Walker.
“Ha ha…I am scared!” Nightwalker closed his eyes while laughing out loud and then opened “Will not they beat you?” Walker really admired his childish assumptions
“We pay them for being here… they don’t bother us…” boy replied with sense of authority as if police can be bought easily in meager money and money alone.
Walker is silent but fairly kicked inside. He simultaneously tried to measure the confidence of a homeless child, poverty of police, and the cost of a footpath lifestyle.
“You don’t understand, anyone can easily harm you here, a cop, a robber or me or anyone… you just go away!” Boy’s irritation, plead and anger forced lose his temper. As if any rich dad’s son gets angry over any uncle who has broken his toys.
The Nightwalker realized that his presence is bothering him and he discovered the embarrassment of being uninvited. With a face saving nice gesture he forced a smile and began to leave.
Walking is all he came for in this growing deep night… dark, silent night. A journey is good if you’re just traveling, problem begins when you stopover. Life perhaps is no different than a journey, one should just keep living shouldn’t stuck to think. It however is equally true that those stopovers are bound to come.
Something has now begun to grow in detective’s mind which is disturbing him. Why that boy was so restless? It wasn’t a childish attempt of forcing out someone. It was something else… maybe Walker is unaware of footpath’s lifestyle. Maybe all that acts were merely of getting rid of. A detective mind but refused to be sold on any such ‘maybe’ assumptions. For just his curiosity he refused to accept it being a natural reaction of that boy.
While his mental simulations are figuring out the logic, a car passed by quite slowly. In a road as wide and empty as this and a night as dark, lonely and deep as tonight, the speed of this car is worth being noticed. He stood still to mix with the shadow of a giant add hoarding suspecting something unusual. His color of dress and shadow helped him go invisible with the shadows. Even if any head light falls on him, he is amply hidden as he is pretending like any statue.
Car is clearly visible to him, he can make out that no music is on inside it. Whoever is the driver is actually searching something around. As the car is now dead slow, the objectivity is dawning. Detective is now only waiting for the events to link up. To his confidence, he noticed that the same boy is now approaching that car. The car speeded up a little to reach that boy sooner. That boy is now looking around to ensure if anyone is watching. Nothing happened for a few seconds. Except that boy is now visibly sniggering and firmly looking in the car… He’s tittering as if he was waiting for someone to return from a voyage.
Detective’s mind is racing up to decode the sight he seeing. He’s aware of many undercover nexus of this city. He knows who’s who and does what. It is his detective proficiency that he helps decode many criminal links to police. He knows how Arms. Drugs, Black Money are being imported in the city. What he does not know is this link of footpath hopper as a possible and potential logistic source. He’s well aware who helps whom from police and political side. He just is claver that really no one knows that who this secrete detective ‘The Nightwalker” really is! Knowing something new and of this short is exciting to him. To know exactly what is on here, he decided of standing still. By memorizing the Car’s Number, Color and Model, he is determined to trace the owner later. The boy went in the car, which is now parked in the roadside, engine and lights are all off. Any passerby will assume that this car is simply parked and no one is inside it. For longer than assumed time nothing happened there, it charged up the curiosity of Nightwalker. He jumped close to a boundary wall to hide in its shadow. By following the shadow of the wall, he successfully kept his movement untraced. Swiftly yet very calmly he reached barely few meters away from them. To his further shock, he found a woman at the driver seat and that same boy next to her. He is eating while laughing upon something predictably funny that woman is telling him. That boy’s fellow footpath residents are not bothered about him or the car or anything around them.
Nightwalker found his position closest to the car and so he stopped there to see their movements as best way as he can. He’s expert in identifying the nature of conversation by observing the body language. Car’s windows are all locked. As much it appears there is nothing criminal in whatever they’re talking about. But why someone from luxurious car will come to talk to these footpath residents this way? Why any beggar (even if a boy) will try hard to facilitate secrecy for a meeting like this? Why a woman will come all the way at this night to talk to a boy? Is there any sexual need linked with all this? But nothing questionable is going on inside! Perhaps she’ll now take the boy to some isolated place after the dinner. The comfort at which that boy is conversing with that woman is confirming that they meet often. Question is for what? No sexual intentions are evident in their way of interactions. No smuggling act is noticeable either! Nothing as such is happening which a detective could link with any sort of crime.
Suddenly a phone kept on the dashboard of that car twinkled. Woman took the phone on her hand to see whose call it might be. It turned her little restless. Her body language explained that now she is about leave unusually early. She gave him one non-reusable lunch box sort of thing and twisted car’s key. That boy alighted from the car and bade good bye to the lady. In a minute, she sped off.
Nightwalker wants to track her and also wants to find out what this boy is going to do next with that box. This box will certainly reveal the secret purpose of a visit like this. Realizing that he can’t do both at once and none of them can be postponed, he settled with idea of following the boy. As he can trace the car’s identity, it is better for him to focus upon that box this boy is carrying. To his surprise, that boy went to his fellow residents with that box. They all woke up as if they were waiting for this guy to come. Strangely, that box is really a food box having sufficient food for them all. While for detective its jaw falling peculiar, it is all going so smooth as if it is a usual routine for all of them. Noticeably unlike that boy, his co-residents ate food quite animally… after food, they all retired for this night.
Nightwalker stayed there for another hour to notice if any surprise is yet to come but all he could find is people snoring as if they all are in some comfortable bedroom like ours. Nightwalker decided to walk away. He’s still thirsty as a lot is unquenched inside him but he’s not hidden there now… He is walking on the road. After reaching to a corner, he deliberately whistled the same song he was whistling few hours ago. To his expectation, when he turned back, that boy has woken up to see him. He identified the whistling and the man who’s whistling. That boy realized the meaning of whistling and recognized the whistling man. They both are now staring each other, with this distance no one of them are able to see the faces but they are now knowing that why they are staring each other.
Afraid boy, cunningly smiling Nightwalker, silent dark night, chilling breeze and whistling sound ensured that too many are not sleeping. Stars up there on the sky are witnessing that earth by and large is sleepless.
To be continued….