As a school kid we found him scary – with thick moustache covering almost half of his face and big rolling eyes, he managed to create that aura in his personality which actually his profession required. He was the watchman – chowkidar – guard who took his position near the gate of Girls Degree College since many years. Our school was situated just opposite to that college. I saw him relentlessly present on his duty every day since I was in kindergarten. He shooed away the school kids with his loud voice, who loitered in front of that college gate apart from shouting on the cycle rickshaw pullers who jostled to get customers from the college. We called him Muchhad (a typical slang used for a person with big moustache).
This incident happened when I was in Class 10th. It was the first day of our school’s summer vacation; however the college was still open. Our batch was called to school to attend some extra classes. By the time, we came out after our classes around 2PM; the road in front of our school was deserted with hardly few people around. Among those people, there were few boys in their early twenties who were seen regularly wandering in front of that girl’s college with malicious intentions. They didn’t even spared schoolgirls and always searched for triggers to enter into a fistfight with the boys of our school. They sketched opportunities to vent out their perversion – Stalking, hooting, whistling and sometimes even dared to grope few girls.
I would not dilute their heinous behavior by calling them eve-teasers or road side Romeos, but they were assaulters – who assaulted girls psychologically and physically without any shame. That time, we have already heard from grapevine that some ugly incident has happened few days back. A girl has mustered courage to confront them when she was assaulted and even slapped one of the hooligans. This gave guts to other girls and they managed to scare those guys enough to leave from that place instantly before the college administration stepped into the issue. For next few days, those guys never turned up.
But, on that particular day, I saw those guys waiting like hawks on their bikes. Next I saw a bunch of girls coming out from that college. Suddenly, a bike with three people sitting on it zipped in front of them, forcing them to halt. One of those guys took out a dagger and held it closely near that girl’s neck who has slapped them. Other girls stepped back in fear. The other pillion rider guy leaped in the scene with a bottle of acid in his hand. We were dumbstruck with the fearful intensity of the happenings which has numbed our senses and transformed us into mute spectators.
That creep was about to open that Acid bottle when out of sudden Muchhad jumped into the scene. He started shouting hysterically and hit the guy with the lone weapon in his hand – his stick. He dropped the Acid bottle with the blow which broke into pieces with a sizzling sound and splash of acid all over the ground. Muchhad continued to hit that guy with his stick. By this time, the first guy left the girl and attacked Muchhad to save his friend. He stabbed him with his dagger on his arm twice and all three of them beat a retreat from the scene hastily. I returned to my senses with my fellow classmates shouting and running inside the school for help. Soon, many people from both the college & school rushed to the spot for help where Muchhad was bleeding profusely but still in his senses. He was taken to nearby hospital and his wounds almost took a month to heal. He joined back his duty afterwards and was felicitated by the college management.
Whenever I passed thorough that road even after graduating from the school, I made sure to catch a glimpse of that altruistic person. Few years back, during my visit to my hometown, I searched for him again but found a new face in his place. My niece, who studies in the same school, told me that Muchhad died few months back.
Although this incident took place almost couple of decades back but still today I salute that selfless soldier who never gave a second thought before jumping into the crime scene. Even the fact that those guys were armed was not able to deter his action. His mind only raced & reacted to save that girl whose face & body could have been charred by that acid. His quick reaction and presence of mind not only averted that ugly incident but even managed to draw attention to the shoddy safety measures implanted by management & government for school & college students. He could have remained silent, He could have just been a mere spectator, but his soldier instinct compelled him to act without even caring for his own well-being. Although he was not educated enough, but his action has proven his mettle to the world.