I have known Singaram for 7 years now. He works as a night watchman in our apartment in Kilpauk, Chennai. Going by his white hair and appearance, he should be in his mid 60s.
Over the last 7 years that we have stayed in our current apartment, there have been many different day watchmen, but Singaram has been a constant for RAMS Flats, all these years. If you have been to my place in the night even once your life, there is a good chance Singaram knows you by name.
I have come across quite a few curious men in my life, but none as curious as Singaram. It’s almost as if his head would burst if he doesn’t have all the information about anything you do or anywhere you come from.
He would ask the most obvious of questions as a conversation starter. For example, if he sees you carrying a suitcase or backpack and leaving the apartment, he would ask “Enna thambi, ooruku poreehalaa?”. What sir, are you going out of station?
If you give an answer and don’t make a move in say 2 seconds, you are trapped into the Singaram web. You can only come out of it after answering 46 other questions. Sometimes one gets a feeling he has gossips for dinner. He probably can survive on gossips, without food and water. He feels so happy to be a knowledge repository of sorts, of all details of the apartment residents. It’s almost like an unwritten KRA for him.
He would come everyday to our home in the evening to mark his attendance in front of Thatha. He always has a bright smile on his face. Night watchman job is not a very interesting or engaging job. But he has no regrets. He enjoys what he is doing. He likes interacting with people, by nature. It’s almost as if he has accepted his life’s reality and has decided to live with it, with a smile on his face.
Genuinely nice guy in general. If only he could ask lesser questions 🙂