Nivedita was my college friend and a one time crush. Now she was happily married to a software engineer and had two lovely kids. As it always happens with us guys, college crushes get married and from half lovers, we are graduated to honorary uncles to their kids and become a close friend to the family. Familiarity begats trust. She trusted me. Once you love someone, you always remain attached to them by the invisible umbilical cord of sentiments. I was pained by the turn of events as Nivedita was stating.
She was being stalked and called on her cellphone. It began as usual heavy breathing, psycho calls. Then, it escalated to tentative hellos. Being a pretty girl in Mumbai, Nivedita was not unaware of whackos, who love to stalk beautiful girls. She ignored those calls when they started. But, when the caller uttered her name in his raspy voice, she freaked out. She pinged me on Whatsapp about it. I laughed and asked her to ignore it. She did. Then suddenly she called me one night at 9. She was hysterical and incoherent. She got a call and he rasped, ‘I always dream of you. Even after so many years! I know you don’t remember me as your lover. I was always a menial servant to you. You broke my heart like glass!’ Someone hurled a stone through her bedroom window and there was the deafening crescendo of glass panes. Glass is a derivative of carbon, just like a diamond. And, just like a diamond, it has a quaint effect upon a female heart and mind. I’m yet to see a woman, who can remain indifferent to the brittle symphony of breaking glass. May be, this goes back to those fairy tales, where women used to ask mirrors about beauty. I was worried. I told her that the stalker now knows her address and it’s dangerous. I told her to lodge a police complaint. She agreed to tell her husband Animesh about this. that. We all hoped that this episode has ended.
Today she met me. Teary eyed. The guy had threatened her that he will tell everyone about her affair when she was in Panchgani. I was with her in St Stephen’s at Panchgani. I didn’t know of any such affairs. What affair was in question? I asked her point blank., ‘Nib, if it’s shameful, I say you own it. What’s it?’ She replied indignantly, ‘Rakesh, you knew me better than anyone. Apart from your fatheaded proposal, I never had any relation with anyone! What this guy is referring to?’
I was a little piqued at such a reference to my holiest of holy emotions, but let it pass. I did send her some stupid letters, but there was nothing in them for a blackmailer. I advised her to ignore him.
Her husband didn’t. They seriously considered involving cops, but decided not to. Who wants to meddle with police, anyway! Even the stalker knew this frailty of human psyche. As expected, he struck again. Nivedita accepted the call… ‘I still have your pictures, Nivedita. Which you gave me.’, the breathy voice whispered. She screamed and dropped the phone. She called me urgently and I went running. She was incoherent with rage. ‘He said pictures! What pictures?’ Her husband was looking at her strangely. I knew what this stalker was referring to. Some weird security guy at the ladies hostel in Panchgani had snapped pix of some of the residents while they were bathing. Those pix surfaced in boys’ hostel. The watchman was finally arrested, but it was a great scandal. I explained this to her husband, who cuddled Nivedita and tried to console her. I was jealous of him! I looked at her. How frail she looked! Her shapely shoulders rocking with each sob. My heart went out to her!
2 months passed. There were no phone calls. We thought that the pervert has desisted or died. We went to a bar to celebrate. I always loved her and being drunk, I ended up kissing her- my all time dream!
Suddenly, my phone beeped. She had messaged me to meet her immediately as she just had another call. I sprang like the proverbial Jack Rabbit. I was standing at her bedroom door. She was kneeling and crying her heart out. I ventured… ‘What happened?’
‘Why, Rakesh? Why? ‘ she screamed. ‘I trusted you, dammit! ‘
I looked around. Her husband was with a police inspector. I had a firm grip upon my shoulders by a constable.
I forgot that they can track calls nowadays!