“Hey girl wassup” Maddy typed as he saw Vinita’s status in Office Communicator turned green.
“Me fine, you say, heard that your project got approved, congrats” She returned, it was the beginning of the normal office day for her. After her team meeting, the first thing she does is to greet her friends over the Office Communicator.
Maddy, Vinita, Kunal and Vinay work for same software company. They passed out from same college and were selected through campus itself. Since they met in their master’s they’d been great friends. Maddy, shorter for Madwesh, Kunal and Vinay were school mates, for their bachelors they went to different colleges. They jacked up again for their master’s were they met Vinita, Manju, Suniel, David and others to make a great team. Only Vinita, Kunal, Vinay and Maddy were able to garner offer letter from same company. Albeit, Vinita was in different development centre maintained by their company.
“Yep, that stuff got approved”
“So, what next now”
“Well, I know that I will complete this. But I am still not satisfied. I am feeling frustrated with this fucking IT life”
“Well Well Well! It seems Mr. Romeo is running out of girls”
“No it’s not like that I think I have dried up now. After that idea nothing new is coming in my mind. I worked on it for last 6 months and the shit got approved now, after 3 months of its submission. Still, I will be bossed by other on it. Bossed on my own creation, man that’s crazy. I am lonely I am contemplating suicide, do you have any better idea. Death without pain.” Maddy typed casually.
“Hmm…I can give you some ideas, cynide…difficult to obtain, hanging…umm..Painful, accident….requires guts and you are out of it….others they are costly”
“Know what…I know one thing quick and cheap; mercury!” she exclaimed.
“Now where the hell can I get mercury?” he inquired even though he knew where.
“Moron, the thermometer”
“Oh! Thank you” replied and turned his status to invisible.
“Maddy…where are you…are you at home…hey that was a joke you know” she scribbled as she saw the status changing.
“Hey you there…don’t take it seriously….that was a joke….mercury is dangerous don’t play with it…Maddy are you there.” She typed apprehensively, fearing the worst. She has always being a meek person.
“Maddy….you there…..hey plz delete that chat…plz plz plz” She typed almost begging to her desktop.
“Here I am” came the reply.
“Thank God..Where were you?” She took a deep breath.
“To fetch thermometer”
“Maddy…I am in no mood to joke now…and keep it from where you have got it….that is DANGEROUS” she typed furiously.
“Vinni..You know..Mercury more or less looks like silver…but it is liquid…chemistry never fascinated me..but I think I have missed something…such a beauty…a liquid metal…defying properties….defying life….Good Bye and thanks a tonne.” He replied and logged off the communicator, he had a huge day ahead. He just could not be distracted by one of his pranks. He went about his work.
Vinita, on the other hand has lost her all taste for work. She began to pace in her cubicle. She tried reaching Maddy’s cell but it was unreachable. She shouldn’t have given that idea. She cursed herself for uttering that idea. She called Vinay.
“Vinay..Vinnie this side…yaar tell me is Maddy alright…have u seen him in the office..Where are you?”
“Hey Hey Chill! One by one” replied Vinay. “I am at office, no I haven’t seen Maddy and I don’t know whether he came to office or not. Kyun what’s the matter? You seemed worried.”
“Vinay, I don’t know how to tell you this, I stupidly suggested Maddy the easiest way to commit suicide, he asked me and I spoke like a parrot and then he logged of. You people are school friends, can he do any such thing..please yaar tell me I am worried.” She said with her voice almost breaking.
“Relax! Don’t worry..no he is not going to do such thing, if he has such intention he will let me know first. Chill I will talk to him. He might be playing a prank. It’s usual for him. Don’t worry you get back to work I will talk to him. Have you tried calling him?”
“Yes I did, but his cell was switched off”
“He might be working on core or probably sitting with client. It’s his old tactics whenever he is busy. You don’t think over it now. Go to work, I will talk to him.”
“Please do yaar. Chal got to go, bye, please talk to Maddy and let me know.”
She’d almost used all of her morning thinking about Maddy and his presumed suicide attempt. Her mind vacillated between Maddy and after effects of his action on her, after all she is the one who suggested him the better way. She took a quick lunch and settled down from her work. She has a lot other things pending. Soon enough she forgot all about the problem of Maddy and his suicide. She went home late and after having her dinner she went to sleep.
It was 1 am in the morning when her Cell Phone rang.
“Who is this?” She asked supinely.
“Vinnie! Vinay this side. What did you actually tell Maddy?” a grim voice from the other side replied. She was bestirred from her slumber.
“What happen Vinay? I told him what I told you in the morning?”
“You shouldn’t have suggested it?”
“What happened can’t you just tell me” she felt like crying.
“Till now nothing has happened but can’t tell, he is still not picking up his phone”
“I am coming, where are you” she stood up and reached for her purse.
“Wait! I think I am getting a call. Don’t come now. I’ll get back to you.”
Bathing in sweat Vinita couldn’t believe what she could have done. She went to kitchen to have some water. She cannot sleep now, the night is too dark. She sat down at the kitchen.
She never knew when the sleep overpowered her. It was 5 am when her cell again rang.
She woke up feeling like a thousand volt electric shock went through her body. She picked up the phone.
“Vinnie! Kunal, just listen now, come to Maddy’s house by 7 am, we’ll be there by 7 only”
“But what…” she tried to ask but by then Kunal had disconnected the phone.
She thought she should take some tea. She put the sauce pan over the gas and poured in the ingredients and put them to boil. She began to imagine things. What did Maddy do? Did he really?
Did Maddy? No, no way. Otherwise I won’t be called to him home. But did he try? He survived Mercury, that’s unbelievable. No, are they trying to pin point the blame on me. Shall I go? Would I be caught? No way, they are friends; they won’t conspire against me, why they would conspire against me. They know me very well and so do I. But why would he be doing. And why they’re framing me. Yeah! I told me the way, but that was a joke, isn’t it. Will it be a police case? Then what…
Her chain of thoughts were disturbed by the stink of the gas, apparently tea boiled over and fell over the gas. Now, she’d to clean the mess and there would be no tea for her. She drank some water and went down with cleaning.
She was at Maddy’s home at 7 am sharp. The front door was open; she slipped in and went straight into the room. There was an eerie silence in the house. She feared the worst. She went straight into Maddy’s room.
The room was dark, though she could observe some silhouettes; she couldn’t just make out who they were. Fear has already clipped her lips. “Maddy, are you there” she whispered. There was no response. Now she stood at the door, trembling, petrified; she was sweating and breathing heavily.
She gained her consciousness after few minutes. The first thing she saw was two beaming, clean shaven faces wearing the colgate smile. They were Vinay and Kunal. She was in the sofa and Kunal was sprinkling water on face.
“What the fuck is it?” She shouted, still trying to grasp the things.
“Nothing, but pure fun” came a beaming voice, it was Maddy, she knew it was Maddy. The jerk was in his bed.
“Well….were to began..Actually yesterday after you called me up, I called Maddy and he explained me what has happened between you and him. Maddy was feeling feverish therefore he didn’t come yesterday. But he was working from home. When I called him up about his apparent plans that you told me he burst into laughter. Let’s play a game he said and explained me what to do next. I in turn explained Kunal. I and Kunal called you from our homes. We only came here half an hour before you. The trap was set and you walked in” Vinay explained while trying to prevent his laughter eating out his words.
Vinita began swearing furiously, this only made them go ga-ga. After a while propriety was restored.
Maddy spoke,” C’mon yaar, I was feeling feverish. That’s it and you provided some laughter medicine. Now pass me on that thermometer. No, not suicide, I need to check my temperature now. It’s what doctor told me.”
“You don’t have any limits” Vinita said. She was smiling now, having shredded the last signs of anger. She passed on the thermometer to Maddy.
Maddy placed the thermometer beneath his tongue and lower jaw. He keeps it there for a minute usually. Kunal and Vinay were still smiling, so was Vinita. And for Maddy, it was usual for him, he was equally notorious for his pranks during his college days. He has only being able to keep his reputation intact.
Maddy moved his hand to replace the thermometer. The thermometer cracked in his mouth.
© Tarun Mitra