Our training campus is guarded by eight duty posts.Two personnel from the training school guarded each post. One was from the training school staff and another was from the trainees.
Encounters with wild animals were common.The duty part of the training was the most boring and exhausting. The shifts were of 4 hour duration. The personnel from the training school is usually armed with a .303 rifle. We were detailed as the incharge of the duty posts.
One day I was detailed for the hill top duty. Along with me was Bahadur Chetri . Bahadur Chetri was from the training school staff. We were being detailed for a 4 hour shift starting from 10 PM to 2 AM. The hill top post was bounded by two hills covered with thick forest . I reached my duty post sharp at 10 Pm. From outside the post looked empty. I thought Bahadur had not reached yet. So I stayed outside the post cursing him. The duty post resembled a small temple. It had half walls . It had no lights. There was a street light near the post. To be alone in that post at 10 PM is very dangerous. I looked at the approaching road but there was no sign of Bahadur. Just then a voice from inside the post called " O Sir please come in, It is cold outside". It was the voice of Bahadur. I entered the post and found him sitting on a chair. I was relieved to see him. He was armed with a .303 rifle. He was a short man. He said I will leave this post at 12AM as I am having fever for the last two days.No one will come to see us, you too can go and sleep after an hour. There are only wild animals to greet us. Hearing all these I couldnot complain about my back pain that I was having from the last few days. After giving his advice he left his seat for me and said you sit inside I will guard outside.I said OK and sat on the chair. Though I was a trainee he was junior to me in rank.
I took out my fm radio and glued the earphones to my ears. Most of the fm stations had stopped airing by then, there were only one station airing hindi songs. I heard 3 to 4 songs back to back. Then suddenly I felt something falling on the roof. I looked up but did not see anything. I looked for Bahadur but he was nowhere near me. I stood up and turned to look for Bahadur. He was standing around 50 meters away from me. He was pointing his rifle towards me and waving with his left hand. I was shocked to see him in this position. I quickly pulled my earphones and heard loud breathing sounds. The sound seemed to be that of a tiger. The sound was coming closer. Bahadur was telling me to run towards him. I was now very angry with him. He is such a coward that inspite of being armed he ran away leaving me alone. He said I saw a leopard behind the bush. It was very dangerous for me to come out in the open and be a sitting duck.The leopard could pounch on me at any moment. Seeing no other option I picked up the wakie takie and communicated with the security control. The control responded immediately. After some time 5 armed personnels arrived with fire crackers.After their arrival we left the place. On the way I asked why he behaved like a selfish fool. He said I called you several times before moving away from the post..you were busy listening to songs.