I am from Bihar but I had my studies in Assam in Sainik School in Goalpara. The school was far away from the town. The school campus was 500 acres in area and it still is. The main gate was around 2 kilometers away from the main building and hostels. From the school main gate, there were a paper and a dry cell industry 3 kilometers away. There was a back gate also and was nearer to the hostels. There were a few villages near the school main gate. Near the back gate, there were 2-3 shops. One was a general store, one paan (beetel) shop and one was a small dhaba (hotel). Going out of school was not allowed at all because it was a military school. We had to take permission to go out but only through the main gate and only for banking purpose (there was a bank in the village near the main gate).
I was in class IX, at that time, the fear of seniors was more than fear of principal. A lot of ragging was there at that time.
That day, one of my seniors called me and asked me to jump across the boundaries and buy a packet of cigarettes from the nearby village. I, with one of my friends, marched out. We had hardly gone a few steps ahead that the lights went out and there was no generator supply as it was 11 o'clock night. The generator was up only upto 10:30pm. We anyway moved forward as we didn't want kicks and belts.
After sometime, we were near the boundary. First my friend jumped and then me and we suddenly realized that unfortunately we jumped into the woods because of dark. We knew the way but were not sure about finding woods there. We assumed the directions and moved on. The woods were darker. The sound of the jackals was making it creepier. I was thinking about if we come across a guard here and get punished by the authority. And all my thinking stopped when I found that my friend was no more beside me. I started trembling from my head to toe. I had no cell phone as it was not allowed in the school but seniors anyway kept it and unfortunately I was not one of the seniors.
I thought about moving ahead. I shouted the name of my friend but in vain. I kept moving and suddenly heard some people talking. Soon the woods cleared and I could see light in front of me.
I went ahead to find that I had reached something called Western canteen, the name that I never heard in my four years in school. I asked the shop keeper,"Do you have a packet of flake?"
He looked at me and said,"you look too small to consume a cigarette."
"My seniors sent me. They will kick me whole day if I don't bring them their thing."
He asked me,"From which house you are?"
Actually the hostels are also called houses.
He said that he didn't believe me because the next day there was cross country competition. Our house had been winning cross country competition for last 29 years and everyone was supposed to go to sleep at 9 only before the day of cross country. But again, there was no cross country next day. It was over 2 months ago. Even a practice was impossible next day. I gave him a confusing look. He handed me the packet of cigarettes and I asked him if he saw anyone of my age around. He shook his head.
I had never been to Western canteen. I moved ahead and suddenly something I saw froze me. There was a guard coming that way. I went back to the shop keeper and asked if he could hide me. He pulled me inside his shop and told me to sit on the bench inside.
I never knew when I fell asleep. When I woke up it was morning and I was sleeping on the dirt road which ran beside the school boundary. I was totally amazed. I shoved off the dust from my clothes and ran to my house. The cadets were moving for breakfast. I met my friend who had gone with me but he denied it. He said that he never went with me.
Later I found that many years ago there was a Western canteen at that place. There were also some woods at the place we landed.
When I told this to my friends they just laughed it off.
I stopped going at that place afterwards.