Chilly winter evening in a libraryHarsh winter had arrived in Delhi. I left my PG accommodation at around 9.30 a.m., it was almost dark and foggy. I took a bus and reached the library. Very few readers had arrived. Only two library staff were present.
I didn't waste time. Straightaway went to the Reference section and checked. The book was still there. I took out the book, occupied my favourite chair and started reading and taking notes. The book was exciting. Spent almost 4 hours!
At around 2 p.m., I felt hungry and went out. It was still cloudy-no sign of the sun. I went to the food joint and ordered a meal. Finished it in no time and again returned to the library and the book. The later-day Mughal rulers fascinated me. I continued studying and taking notes.
Time flew past! The readers left one by one. It started raining. But I hardly noticed-totally mesmerised by lesser Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar and his relationship with British East India Company.
In the Reference section, there was only another middle-aged, strongly-built man sitting in another corner near the window. He was wearing an overcoat and his face was almost covered with a hat, which was rather uncommon. I had noticed the man once or twice earlier. He always sat on that particular chair near the window.
Suddenly a loud sound of thunder brought me back from the era of Farrukhsiyar to reality. I found nobody in the big hall except that man. The lights suddenly became very dim. The man got up, went near the window and opened it. He didn't notice my presence. He got out through the big window. And.... He flew away in the rain. Yes, flew away just like a bat!
The lights went off! I fell from the chair, unconscious.