The Passage was always dimly lit. At day time the shadows falling on it would create all sorts of paintings on its damp floor. Litter from the buildings on both sides would be scattered everywhere.
The only time it got cleaned was during Sundays, when the kids from the building would gather to play cricket. It was the safest place for Sandy to hide from other healthy street dogs. His frail body would easily slip into the sewage pipe when the dogs chased him, to snatch his morsel of stale meat. For him it was his den.
I had discovered this passage when on a rainy day I was playing indoor cricket with my neighbor. The ball somehow managed to pass through the balcony railing and it bounced three times before rolling into a dark corner, downstairs. I immediately went down with a candle to search for it. The corner had a brick wall up till knee level and when I raised the candle, I could make out a small passage, hidden behind it. I got out with the ball and left the area to be explored the following morning in full day light.
Since then I have managed to claim the Passage as my proud discovery. And have often put it to some serious use, through my vivid imagination. I have used it as a hiding spot when my maths teacher would come over for his classes. It was a perfect spot to hide the occasional stolen packet of cigarette. And then when I reached high school, I had imagined bringing my girl friend into this Passage, just to show off the place to her. But this weird idea of mine never seemed to fructify until yesterday. Sonia dropped into my home to exchange some notebooks at dusk. And it just occurred to me that I had managed to drop her notebook into the passage area the other day. So obviously I invited her to come along with me and help me in the search.