It was yet another boring day at office. Kiran stretched and yawned like a flexible cat making grunting noises. She groggily looked at her computer screen and there was nothing. Just a bunch of mails from random supposedly important people who blamed each other and yet were diplomatic enough to not directly point fingers. She hovered her pointer over the ‘Junk Mail’ folder for a bit and clicked it.
There were about 570 unread mails and she kept scrolling while keeping her head on her left hand. There were mails from all sorts of spam groups. She moved through subjects that read “Work from home and make large money!” “Ask me how I used google to get 500,000 USD!” “Last longer in bed!” “5 tricks to grow your…” she had enough.
When she was just about to move to reading her own Draft mails, the mail from a certain Bhavishya caught her eye in the Junk mail. There were mails from this “person” from yesterday.
She opened one and it read: Forgotten sweetness.
She looked at the text and yawned again, bending forward and stretching towards the back of her monitor. Something plastic touched her outstretched fingers. She pulled out a toffee which was wrapped in a bright red wrapper. She had almost forgotten how it got there until she realized she had left it there to avoid sharing it with Karthik, the guy who sits next to her at work.
She smiled to herself and ate it. Not noticing the co-incidence of the mail until she threw the wrapper in the bin.
She looked at her watch, it was 10:30 AM and for some reason checked the time on the last read mail. It was sent at 10:30 AM but dated yesterday.
She opened another e-mail that said 10:45 AM which read: More space to stretch.
Karthik came back to his desk, a little disgruntled and muttering to himself. He began shutting down his computer and swearing. “You still have some more time to be done with work, ya know?” Karthik looked at her like he only noticed her then and gave a grim smile, “They just fired me. It looks like you get the whole desk now.” He began throwing the stuffed monkey, his daughter’s gift into a box while Kiran watched dumbstruck not daring to look at her watch… or her mail.
Curiosity got the best of her after Karthik walked out the door at 10:45 AM and the next mail read: It’s not your fault.
She stared at the screen trying to figure out what it meant while she used her legs to bring the chair forward. A cleaning staff walked by and tripped over her stretched leg and fell face first hurting her nose in the process. There was blood dribbling from her nose and she began wailing seeing the blood. Kiran rushed and knelt beside her “Oh my God! I’m so so sorry! Really, I am!” She helped her stand up and offered her dupatta to pinch her nose.
She returned to her desk after washing herself and admitting the staff in the health center in their office. A little out of breath and no longer tired or sleepy, she dared to look at the mails once again. It read: She could have died. But , maybe the next one will.
She cursed ‘Bhavishya’ and the next mail at 11: 30 AM read: The air is colder in the west.
She looked around trying to figure out which side was west. She tried to recall how to tell west from east. She sat facing the north side which meant west had to be on her left. She looked there and saw Anil meddling with the A/C power switch. He seemed to be trying to turn it on. What he didn’t noticed however was the loose power cable tugging at the stool he was standing on.
It was 11:28. She rushed to Anil, hurting her leg on the desk on the way. And pulled him away from the A/C. They both fell. He on top of her. “Wow, I never thought I was that irresistible” smirked Anil who apparently, was the glass half-full sorta person. A second later; the unstable stool fell pulling the cable and the A/C from the slot, landing with a huge crash. Anil was speechless while Kiran was already up and dusting her salwar.
A few moments later, the repairmen had come and fixed the A/C back, while Kiran was still shaky from the incident. Anil took the rest of the day off.
The last mail from Bhavishya timed at 12:00 PM read: Tsk, Pests.
Kiran couldn’t make out what it meant and scratched at her forearm. A few moments later, she felt something moving on her feet. She scratched the irritation and kept pondering. She looked down at her feet and found them missing under a cluster of cockroaches. Too stunned to scream, she found more coming towards her from behind the monitor. It scuttled all over her hands and ran up towards her neck. She tried pushing them away helplessly. Tears didn’t slow down the roaches and she finally screamed as they entered her mouth.
Kiran woke up to Karthik’s poking, “Aye, wake up. The boss is here”
She looked around first checking her face and limbs. No sign of insects. Karthik still had his daughter’s gift on the desk and was uncapping the pen he used to poke her. She looked at her watch, it was 10:30 AM.
Lokesh came around the corner, “Hi Kiran! my star performer! how are you?” showing his blinding white teeth. “I’m good, thanks. How are you?” she could see a tiny insect move out of the corner of her eye. She shook herself after realizing there was nothing there. “Good, good” said the stout man and then held out his hand to his right and a tall pale man who Kiran didn’t know came into view. “I’d like you to meet Bhavishya, your new team member. He will be assisting you in our next project” Kiran didn’t trust her tongue and so held it.
“Hello, have we met before?” smiled Bhavishya, it never reached his eyes. Kiran shook her head still not trusting to speak.
Lokesh laughed his super fake laugh because that’s what managers do to make everyone feel comfortable and said, “ I’ll let you two get along.” and walked back. He stopped at the door, “Oh and Kiran, help him set up his mailbox, please”
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