This incident happened when I was in medical college doing my post graduation in a municipal hospital in Mumbai.
Let me first give you a background. During our residency days (Post Graduate students are residents in the hospital campus, hence they are called residents), we needed to make presentations periodically to score points. Those days the only computer available for us was a common department computer. The department itself is on the fourth floor of the college building - a good five minute walk from the hostel.
The department working time is 9 AM to 4 PM after which the keys are to be handed over to the security on the ground floor. Anyone needing the keys after working hours has to take it from the security and make an entry in the register. The security guards change shifts at 7 AM, 3 PM and 11 PM. There are two security guards near the two entrances to the college building. The entrance which is a little nearer to the hostel has a morgue near the entrance. We being medical students were not new to death and dead bodies as such and hence we would always take the nearer entrance to reach the college building as it saved some time.
It was some day in July 2004; I do not remember the exact date. We resident doctors were in charge of our wards, had to see the patients in the outpatient department and also had to manage patients in the Operation theatre. The days used to be very hectic and we hardly used to get any time for ourselves. The only time available to make presentations was after working hours when all our seniors left. That night I finished my dinner from the hostel mess around 10 PM and went to the college building with my material (books, notes, etc.) for the presentation. A slight drizzle started just as I entered the college building. I took the keys from the security guard at the nearer entrance who smiled at me as I frequently used to go to the department at this time and so we knew each other.
I took the lift and got down on the third floor near the anatomy department. Our department was an Annex part of the building and the elevators were not yet functional until the fourth floor. I climbed the last flight of stairs and headed for my department at the end of the corridor. As expected all the other doors in the corridor were closed and it was pin drop silence in that part of the building. The tube lights near the beginning and end of the corridor were on but the lights in the middle part of the corridor - distance of around 25 to 30 meters were switched off (or not working I never knew and never bothered to check). This was nothing new to me as I frequently came here at this time.
I opened the door, made myself comfortable in a chair and switched on the computer. Soon I was completely engrossed in making my presentation and lost track of time. As I was making my slides, after some time I realized that the air was getting a bit cold. Again this was not unusual as it was July and by the time I realized it was raining quite heavily. So I just switched off the fan and resumed my work. It was 1 AM by then.
And then it happened. I realized that someone was peering over my shoulder. I turned back and saw the face of a security guard. The face I can never forget in my life. There was something unusual about him. He was a huge man at least 6'6" tall with a big beer belly, had the khaki uniform of the security guards. His face was very dark and under his thick black moustache he had big protruding teeth which were stained yellow. I could not see his eyes properly as was wearing spectacles with very thick glasses.
I do not know why but for the first time that I was alone in the department that I was frightened. He looked at me but did not say anything, just gestured with his hands 'what was I doing?' Something, some intuition from within, some primitive protection of the human mind and body told me to not speak to him. I also gestured at him with my hands that I was working on the computer. He nodded, gave me a blank look and left closing the door behind him. I immediately got up from my seat and opened the door to see who or what it was. But apart from the darkness and the light at the end of the corridor I could not see anything. No sign or sound of any movement. Not even the regular sounds which security guards make while hitting their lathi to the ground when they patrol the building at night.
I realized that though it was quite cold just sometime back, now the air was quite warm and I was drenched in sweat. I locked the door from inside. Earlier when I came to the department I had just closed the door, not locked it from inside. I never did that. But after this incident whenever I had to go the department at night I always locked the door from within. Anyway, now since it was still raining and I did not have an umbrella, I decide to camp in the department itself for the night. Luckily the receptionist in the department was a religious woman and had stored many 'Artis' and 'Bhajans' on the hard disk. I simply saved my presentation as I did not have the heart to work anymore, started playing a Hanuman Chalisa on the computer and spent the night in the chair.
At around six in the morning I left the department. Like I mentioned previously the new guards who had come at 11 PM in the night were preparing to leave. I returned the keys, signed in the register and came out of the building thinking about what happened in the night. Then it struck me - the face I remembered so vividly from last night belonged to none of the guards who were on duty when I left at six in the morning.
So who was he? I will never know. I never spoke about this incident to anyone. I went to department at night even after this incident for work, but whenever I did I made it a point to lock the door from within. I never saw him again until the time I left the hospital in August 2006.