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Time For A Change

Written by Pratik Kirve

“Sir! Madam! Hurry up!! Get out of the building. The garbage disposal pipe of building has caught fire. Hurry up! Get out!!” screamed Ramdas, a watchman of Royal Platinum society knocking each door of building.

It was 11:30 pm. The garbage disposal pipe attached to building caught fire.

“Adi, wake up fast! We need to go out,” said mother.

“Don’t worry, Arti, I got him. I’ll pick him,” said Amit to his wife, picking their 5 years old child. 

Eventually, every family got out of the building safely. Fire brigade did their work & assured that everyone was safe. After investigating the root cause of fire & disposal pipe, they gave precautions to prevent problems in future. Then everybody went home.

It was 1:30 am.

When Arti tried to open the grill gate, they came to know that it was latched from inside. She admitted, while rushing to go out of the building, she slammed the door & maybe because of it, the lower side latch locked due to banging. As it was lower, they couldn’t put hand inside from the middle to unlock it.

Amit tried out everything, but it didn’t work. Some of his neighbors tried, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Some of them only had a look of what was going on & left. Slowly, everybody was disappearing. Mr. Sane, who was the last person present there apart from his family escaped saying that he would look for something in his home to unhook the latch, but didn’t come back.

Three of them were lonely outside their flat, sitting on staircase. Amit, who moved there two months ago due to work, had no relatives nearby & neighbors were behaving like strangers.

Amit was losing his temper & said, “What to do now? Can’t you be little cautious.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose, it was an honest mistake,” replied Arti.

“When will we get inside, Mom?” asked Adi.

“Sooner, son! Don’t worry. Just wait,” said Amit.

“Where is Mr. Pardeshi, whom you dropped to his office when he missed train. Went to sleep so that he won’t miss tomorrow! Where is Mr. Srivastav, a formula one driver who always peeved you for not having car & uses your bike when his Ferrari was punctured! Where is Mr. Roy, a roaring lion in concrete jungle, who always bragged about his living standards & branded accessories! Is he busy in ironing his ‘Allen Solly’ jeans! When we are in need, no one is here to take us in their home for one night! How mean & selfish they are!” said Arti.

“Tell me about your friends in here! Where is Mrs. Sharma, the biggest fan of daily soaps, busy in watching repeat episode of ‘Balika Vadhu’! Where is Mrs. Ahuja, your make-up artist, doesn’t she have any necklace or lipstick or any cream to show or she is busy in straightening her hair! Where is Mrs. Khurana, the gossip queen, go tell her that we got a headline for her New York Times – Desai family is going to stay on the staircase for whole night!”

“What is this? Are we going to fight like this for whole night?”

“No, you know what, loneliness is the best state to write poetry. So let’s start writing rhymes..”

“What happened, sir?” interrupted Ramdas, while he came for hourly visit.

“We are unable to open the door, it latched from inside. So we stuck here,” said Amit.

“Means until carpenter comes & uses his L-shaped thin iron rod to unhook it, there is no way to go inside. It means you will be here, on staircase for whole night! No, I’m not going to let that happen. You can do one thing, you come with me, we have an extra bedding, collect it & sleep on terrace. I have a carpenter friend whom I’ll call early in the morning & you will get inside.”

Ramdas & his family was living in single room outside the building. Amit followed him & along with bedding, went to terrace to sleep.

“What’s wrong with these people? Where has humanity gone?” said Arti.

“It’s time to change our mindset of running towards materialistic things. It doesn’t mean anything,” said Amit, “These so-called sophisticated people didn’t come to rescue, but a simple Ramdas. This high class, high standard lifestyle, their cars, jewelry, kids in international school, branded accessories, 42-inch LED TV, can’t teach them humanity. Their temperament in these kind of adversities show their actual characters. And the crazy fact is, humanity is present everywhere, but we should not expect it from wrong people.”

At 6:30 am, Ramdas came to them with his carpenter friend & they got inside. When they went to thank him & return his bedding along with a doll for his daughter & a box of strawberries for his family.


(This post is an entry for the online short story contest – My Pocket Story conducted by in collaboration with

About the author

Pratik Kirve

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