Short Story : The Box

‘Machi tea ku polama (dude can we go for tea!) ‘ said Ramesh. Suresh peeped up from behind the monitor glaring at him. ‘Ahole…You cant work for an hour straight can you? another tea and cigarette within 45 minutes? Hold on, i am about to ship a code to Odugali (Runaway) Patrick. If this doesnt land in his laptop before he wakes up for his marathon practice at New Jersey, I will need to listen to his repulsive advice and warnings. Once i press the send button we can leave. Ask if Chechi is joining’

Ramesh stood up from his cubicle and searched for her. Chechi Keerthana was last seen presenting her weekly status report to her boss in his cabin, the most cringe-worthy man on floor. Ogler, Drool er and opportunistic womanizer. Mr. Vilas Saxena was a short bi-spectacled middle aged Manager who was feared by the trainees, loathed by his peers and cringed at by his reportees.

But Chechi was not found in Mr.Saxena’s cabin as well. She must be busy, thought Ramesh and left her a whatsapp message to meet them at ‘Akka’s tea shop’. As if she did not know where to find them! This was the place their hang out for the past 3 years since they joined this company.

Ramesh and Suresh left the cubicle and started walking towards the exit. ‘Machi, forgot lighter da! Will get it.’ Suresh said. ‘Do not worry, in Akka’s shop you will get the ‘Sanal Kayiru (Jute rope) makeshift lighter’ which emitted smoked more than tobacco itself. Saying so he dragged Suresh quickly when he giggled and asked Ramesh ‘Ennada (What Da) keeping up with 11:00 AM Bus time?’. Ramesh wanted to be on time at the Akka shop outside the office, to wait for the shift but at 11:00 AM which will reach the main gate. This is when Richa will arrive. Ramesh had fallen head over heals for Richa ever since he saw her in the canteen 2 weeks ago. She looked beautiful but arrogant and hostile. That was one of the reasons why Ramesh was attracted to Richa. He himself was tall dark and handsome and was arrogant as well.

Ramesh and Suresh reached the lift pressed the button to go down. The lift arrived, half full as usual. They both got in and the lift proceeded with its journey to the ground floor where the reception was. When they stepped out of the lift and walked towards the main door, they saw there was a crowd near the reception desk and many people were gathered around the desk. They approach the reception desk and what they saw looked very strange. The girl at the reception desk was holding her head down with both hands. It was as if she was sobbing. Right next to her, Chechi Keerthana was standing in a state of shock. Both of them had never seen Keerthana like that. In front of her was a half opened parcel. Suresh stepped in front to see what was in the parcel.

What he saw left him dumb folded. Inside the box there was a handbag with a severed hand peeking out of it dripping with blood and a pink embroidered hand kerchief tied to its finger. The handkerchief had the number 15 smeared on it in what looked like fresh blood. The kerchief was the one which Ramesh had gifted to Richa on Monday.

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