Gmail notification popped down from the status bar in midst of a WhatsApp chat. A mail from TB Electronics. I attended their campus placement interview last month. I am selected. I should be at their Banglore office next week. I packed my bag and caught the very next train to home. My family was so happy for me.
After spending few days at home, I reached Banglore. Now I should find some place to stay. After resting, I can go to the office tomorrow. My college mate Swathy was working here in Banglore. She too was new to Banglore as she came here only a month ago. I called her. She suggested me few hotels. I enquired at these hotels, but the rent they ask was much more than my expectations. I haven’t started earning. Just had the money father gave. I can’t afford to pay the rent.
I called her again and said about the situation. She is already paying a higher rent and was staying alone. She asked me why don’t we share the room. That will be beneficial for both of us. Swathy was not a typical girl. She was bold like a boy. We were good friends during our college days. We had worked together for a number of projects. She was brilliant too. She is working for a salary that would be double of what I am supposed to get. I agreed with her suggestion.
I knocked at her door. It was an apartment. Swathy opened the door. She wears spectacles. She had lost some weight. I could see the excitement in her eyes. She was happy to see her friend midst her lonely life. She greeted and took me inside. She enquired about my journey and we had a small chat on higher rents charged here. I was looking around the room as we spoke. It was more than enough for two people. It had only one bedroom. There was a long couch in the central space. I thought of it as my future bed. I told her about that. Then she asked if I was scared to sleep beside her. This is Swathy. She is more than a girl. Moreover, we are good friends. She knows me well. I always had respect for her.
The bedroom wall had a big poster of Nishant. He is the burning sensation of Indian cricket, dream boy of girls. Swathy is a big fan of him. She will die for him. She was the only girl who spoke cricket with boys in our class. I placed my bags on a corner and sat on the bed. Swathy gave me a cup of bottled juice. She uses to bring parcel while returning from office. She doesn’t cook.
She ordered pizza for me. She had bought parcel for her already. We shared our food. I arranged my clothes on the cupboard. We talked about our college days while lying on the bed. She stopped responding after some time. She has slept. I use to do yoga every morning. So set an alarm for 5 am and buried myself under the blanket.
The alarm woke me up. Swathy was irritated by the alarm. I turned it off and walked out of the room. After completing yoga, I prepared coffee for both of us. She asked me yesterday to wake her at 7 am. I did as said but with a coffee cup beside her. She was surprised to see it. She teased me by saying if we were newly wed. After her daily routines which I had already finished, we left. She owns a two-wheeler. She dropped me near my office and left for work. My training will begin from tomorrow. I just took a walk around the office and thoroughly viewed everything. Swathy picked me in the evening and we had dinner at a restaurant. I paid the bill as a treat for getting the job.
We reached the apartment. The only thing we could do was to jump on the bed. We ate that heavy. Before getting lost in sleep, I advised her to join me on yoga tomorrow. She replied that how strange I was to think of waking so early while in such a sleepy condition. I laughed at it.
Next day I didn’t shut the alarm after waking. Swathy started blaming me. I said “Come on, wake up. Don’t spend your whole life sleeping like this. Let’s feel the joy of morning.” She was not ready to step out of her comfort zone. I sprayed water on her face. She is a short tempered girl. It made her angry. She jumped from the bed and ran after me. We played cat and mouse. I gave up and she punched me few times. She was happy now. She went to sleep again. Now, I took her on my hands and made her sit on the couch.
She gave up realizing that I won’t let her sleep. We climbed on the roof with yoga mats in hand. The chilling breeze was so refreshing. I could see freshness on her face. She said, “Oh God! Banglore had such a pleasant smell.”
“Now let’s absorb this freshness into us”, I replied.
I taught her meditation and she really enjoyed it.
“Hari, now I feel that I am a part of this nature.”
I smiled at her.
My first day at the office was good. The analog design was my favorite subject. Here I was to work on it. So it might not feel as working.
Swathy picked me. She was so happy. I enquired about it.
“Hari, I’m so thrilled. Nishant is coming to Banglore for attending his friend’s marriage. He will be staying at hotel Paradise. It is just a few km’s from here. I will surely see him this time.”
“How will you manage to meet him? He is always surrounded by bodyguards and all.”
“My friend Geethu has some plan. I will surely meet him.”
“Hmm…. Let’s see what happens.”
“Anyway, your meditation is cool. The whole day had the freshness. I will join you tomorrow also.”
“Thank you, madam.” We both laughed.
Few days passed.
Nishant has arrived. Swathy will roam outside hotel Paradise wishing to see him.
The next day I saw Swathy’s message when I checked my phone after job time. It said, ‘Finally, the time has come. I am leaving to meet him. Keys are with the security.’
I smiled. She will be so happy.
I went to flat alone.
She messaged again, ‘ I am waiting for him. Sometimes I will stay with my colleague nearby tonight if it takes long.’
I went to bed after dinner.
I called her next morning. She was not attending the call.
It made me nervous. She might not have woken up. I calmed myself.
I returned to flat. She wasn’t there. I called her. Her phone was switched off.
I managed to get the contact of her colleague near hotel Paradise. But Swathy didn’t go there. I enquired at hotel Paradise. They don’t know about her.
Police was the only option left. I filed a man missing complaint.
Days passed. Police called me to station.
The inspector spoke, “We have found a body on the outskirts of the city. Let’s go and see.”
I was frozen. I couldn’t move. My Swathy. No, it won’t be her. No. Never.
I was burned alive when the security unveiled the white sheet from the face of the body. It happened. It was her.
Inspector said, “Rape”. I walked out.
Her family reached here and took their lifeless princess to home.
She left me alone. I couldn’t eat dinner without her. I couldn’t sleep without her beside me.
“Who did it to you? Whoever it may be, I will make sure he reach hell.”
Days passed. I switched on TV. News channels flooded with one big news ‘ Cricketer Nishant found dead’.
“Swathy, I kept my word”