“HAI BEAUTIFUL… IT’S MADHAV HERE… “
A message flashed on my mobile while we were waiting for the airbus to home on Friday evening…
Three months before, the same day waiting for the same airbus, near the same travels… moreover the same time… I got a call from an unknown number… The call which made my life terrible.
Madhav, as he introduced himself told he discovered my lost ID card. To get my card back I was supposed to meet him personally. He kept on torturing by calling and texting from unknown numbers. At last I threatened him that I would complaint to police, he stopped… And I erased his name…
Today again that absurd message… pierced my eyes and senses. I took my phone and checked the number. It was a new one… But how did he get my new number…
This time I didn’t switch off my mobile, as I did before. Gaining all the courage, I waited for his call. I would record the call and give it to the police, I decided…
To my surprise, even after half an hour he didn’t call or texted me. That soothed my mind a little, hoping that he will not come up with his tricks any more until I respond…
My relief didn’t last too long. Next day I rolled out of bed by hearing the whatsapp notification…
“HAI… IT’S MADHAV HERE. YESTERDAY YOU LOOKED AWESOME IN WHITE… “
Goosebumps rose all over my body… So he is all around me, watching and following… please God help me…
“Oh God!! 102 degree temperature…. What happened my child? How did you become so ill suddenly…??” My mom started sobbing.
“Hey mom it’s okay… it’s a mere fever… I will be alright soon… “ I consoled her.
But my mind was wavered with bizarre thoughts. I was deeply frustrated about the fact that he knew my address… I didn’t tell mom about him.
Waiting for Kerala Express to Coimbatore. My eyes were hooked upon those men looking suspicious on me. Wondering someone would come near me and introduce himself, “IT’S MADHAV HERE… “
“But how is he getting all my new contacts…? I am totally exhausted running away from all men who are looking at me brutally…“ I started weeping…
Monday morning we were assembled near the food court for a meeting from our mentor, in fact our main HR. We were called there to discuss about the suicide of our batchmate…
“Amal, dear don’t worry we would give his present number to the cyber cell and track him down.” Nimisha said. Her words alleviated my mind a bit.
All were seriously listening to the consolation speech. Suddenly my phone started to vibrate. It was a text message. It read…
“HAI BEAUTIFUL… IT’S MADHAV HERE… WHY ARE YOU NOT RESPONDING TO MY MESSAGES? WAITING FOR OUR MEETING DARLING!!! “
I felt my eyes started burning and filled with smoke that blurred my vision. I took my phone and got up from the seat.
“Excuse me Sir… May I use your phone for five minutes please? I need to make an urgent call as my Mom is hospitalized (another lie, mom please forgive me).” I asked the HR executive who was standing beside my place.
He gave his phone and gestured to go from there. I ran to the ladies rest place and closed the door. Nobody is going to come here, as all our batchmates are there in the meeting…
I rehearsed a bit, what am I going to say him. Took a deep breath and dialled his number…
Immediately after two rings he took the phone as if he was keeping the phone in his hand. Before saying ‘Hello’ I heard a background speech. I was trying to focus on it but his voice interrupted in between…
“Hello… Who is this?”
I was startled by the voice. It was not Madhav. But the sound was familiar to me. I suddenly disconnected the call and deleted the call history.
While returning back to the meeting hall, I was again astonished by hearing the same background speech that I heard through the phone. So, the owner of that number is from my same office and it was not the original Madhav.
It could be anyone from this office. Someone who knew my story, someone from my batch.
Immersed in these thoughts, I took the seat. “Hey, where did you go?” Nimisha asked. “Washroom!!! “ I whispered. She shook her head.
I congratulated myself not to use Nimisha’s and my phone to call him. If he was amongst us he would not have picked up our calls. I could even doubt her, my dearest friend.
Think Amal think…
I looked around. All my batchmates were sitting together. None of them had phones in their hands.
We all buzzed around Phase II second floor restaurant. I sat with Nimisha around a 10 seater table. I had lost all my hope to find him. I diverted my mind and started to focus on my friends.
Suddenly I noticed that Raveesh (my batchmate and moreover my bestie) taking his phone and changing the SIM card. I observed him sharply. His hands were were under the table, trembling as he was doing a crime, perspiring heavily…
Is it Raveesh? I felt like smacking his head with the glass flower vase and punching on his nose. I got up… Hey wait…!!! Don’t rush. Ease your pace. I need more strong evidences to lock him. I need him red handed.
I sat normally and gave a sad look. I remembered him asking about Madhav during the story telling session. Mmm…
“Hey Amal, is that mad guy… what was his name… aah… Madhav still disturbing you??“ he asked with the most innocent face.
“No!!“ I said plainly. I tried hard to hide my frustration, anger and what all… “so-called” feelings.
OPERATION TRACK DUPLICATE MADHAV ACTIVE…
MISSION 1: IDENTIFY CALLER’S VOICE.
“Hello Raveesh… busy?”
“Hello Amal… Whats up? “
“Nothing dear just like that… I called you to ask about the certified exams for Java. You have done it already right? Can you give me the materials please…??
“Yes of course dear. But my materials are in home. Next week when I come back just remind me… “
VOICE IDENTIFIED: MISSION 1 SOLVED
MISSION 2: FOOL DUPLICATE MADHAV
“Hai sorry Madhav. I was little busy, that’s why I didn’t reply. Yaa, of course we could meet. Is tomorrow 6 pm near Gandhipuram bus stand okay for you?”
NO REPLY: MISSION 2 DONE
MISSION 3: CONFESSION
“Hai guys… Today I am so happy. I am going to meet that idiot and police would catch him. All set. I forwarded all his messages and contact numbers to them already.
“Wow.. Amal. So you have done it! ” Nimisha shouted excitedly.
“I don’t think it is a good idea. How could you go and meet a stranger? He could harm you. And what if he didn’t come to meet you. “ Raveesh stated.
“No worries… His numbers are tracked down by the cyber cell by this time. They would catch him at any cost, even if he’s using a duplicate ID.” I said calmly and looked Raveesh. His face has changed crimson and I enjoyed every bit of his tension.
“Raveesh give me your phone na… I don’t have balance, need to call police to know the improvements…”
“My phone!! Why my phone… I… I will not give…“ He roared.
“Hey chill… Why are you behaving like a stranger? I just asked for your phone. If you don’t want to give no issue.”
Nimisha gave her phone. I took it dramatically and dialled a number.
“Hello, good morning Sir, this is Amal. Ahh… What? You got him, wonderful!! In my office… Ohh!! Okay Sir, thank you very much.” I disconnected the call and looked everybody. All of them were waiting to hear from me.
“Guys… They found him!! He’s from our office and they would reach by 5 mins. Mr. Madhav you are down!! “ I laughed.
“No… No… I am not original Madhav. I just wanted to fool you. Madhav is someone. He is someone…“ Raveesh started to cry hysterically.
OPERATION TRACK DUPLICATE MADHAV SOLVED
All the others looked at each other shockingly.
“Okay… Mr. Duplicate Madhav. Tell me when did you start this. “
“Sorry Amal!! I didn’t mean to hurt you. It was just a prank. I just started to message you now, confirming that the original one is no more in this scene… Please forgive me… and please take back your complaint…“
“Well so you did all this to fool me… Mmmm… You have succeeded in that… And the police waala story I made up now is to scare you. I too succeeded…”
“So this was your play. Good!! You proved you are smart…!!” he clapped his hands.
“I don’t want to prove anything Raveesh. But you are answerable for my sleepless nights, my tensed health, my frustration, my anger and my helplessness. You knew my all conditions . But you was least bothered. Made fun of me. And I hate you to make me curse myself for being a girl….A stupid girl…” I started crying.
“Sorry Amal… I am extremely sorry… I understood my mistake. I will not repeat this…” he promised me.
“Okay… Okay… Mr. Duplicate Madhav and Ms. Kiran Bedi… Can we have a cup of coffee to cool up the situation…?? “ Nimisha took up the tension.
I nodded my head with a wry smile.
“So… ladies and gentlemen assembled here. Clap your hands for Ms. Kiran Bedi…”
They clapped and cheered for me.. Laughed and enjoyed….
I felt proud at that very moment to be a woman… A strong woman who could handle anything and everything… And felt like screaming to the world…
“If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that’s a weakness of yours…”