It was late afternoon. A day off since it was an even saturday. I ran some chores in the morning and had a sumptuous meal at home. My sister was to leave for USA at night and hence my aunty who lives nearby had invited us for ice cream.
I was just having the icecream when my phone rang. It was my mother. She sounded frantic. She asked me to rush to my best friends place...my childhood friend, we had grown together, seen the world together, had lots of fun together that we were ever so close to each other. There was a fire at his house I was told.
Unfortunately for the ice cream already served in the bowl (it lost a most vocal consumer, I ran. The house was a couple of buildings away. I tried calling my friend but his line was busy. I was not able to make out whether he was at home or at work. His residence number was also not reachable. He stays on the third floor. There was a huge crowd at the building entrance. I looked above. I could see fumes in the air. The fire was quite huge. I could not see anyone in the balcony. So either my friend and his family were safe inside the house or they were not. There was no way to find that.
And anyways someone had to extinguish the fire. I rushed up. Just as I was at the start of the third floor, I stopped. The flames were gushing down. Something fell to my side. I stepped aside just in time. Then something else fell and I was not able to dodge it in time. Fell on my head. No one was around.
Looking behind, I saw two youngsters (I had never seen them before in the colony) carrying a cylinder of fire extinguisher. I was relieved. I was not able to carry the same as it weighed a lot. The colony watchman also came in with another fire cylinder. They started spraying the chemical to douse the fire and in no time there were fumes all around. These mixed with the fumes of the fire and it was so bad that it was difficult to breathe. I was now not able to see anything.
In some time the smog reduced and we realised that the fire had died down. Thanks to the youngsters whom I had never met, who were obviously new to the surroundings.
I got a call from my friend and I informed him that things were under control. He was at work. I went in and got him to speak to his mother and at this point we heard the fire engine come in. Some kind person had intimated the fire department and they had made it in good time.
Things were under control now. All were safe. It was now that the police came in to lodge c complaint and investigate the fire. They were doing their job.
I took the permission of my friends family and came down. There was a much bigger crowd now. Most of them were people who knew us since our childhood, since we were growing. Some were our contemporaries. All watching the show. It was like a reality show, but it was for real.
I guess we need to realise the difference between reality shows and stark reality.