ey handsome, what’s up?" Charu sounded upbeat on the phone. She was returning Sam’s call. “Sorry, missed your call. Where are you now?" she inquired.
“No worries babes, I am at the library. Coming?" Sam requested hopefully.
Would he have repented for not having settled down for love with a woman and stayed loyal in marriage? Would he have opted to have children?
“I am starving. Are you hungry? Can I pick up some sandwiches for you? Then we could eat together," she sounded hurried and antsy.
A new café blinked bright with a neon sign outside. A young lean and dark complexioned girl in an oversized shirt, apron and a red base ball cap looked worried and surprised at the lone approaching customer. Charu smiled and her eyes moved towards the glassy food counter. The lady followed Charu. There were only two corn and spinach sandwiches and some chocolate pastries left.
“Could I have two sandwiches please?" Charu made her order.
She was distracted by Daniel Craig as James Bond in a grey suit being shot-at and falling from the top of a train. The camera zoomed out to portray a picturesque three columned bridge while James Bond fell like a speck of dust from the sky. He had now fallen into icy blue, cloudy water and was drowning with his head facing the sky.
“This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again
For this is the end
I've drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I'm stolen"
Adele’s smooth nasal voice began to flourish with the support of just the keys.
Charu was rudely awakened from her fixation on the music video playing on television. The lady at the café stressed the ‘da’ in the word ‘madam’ longer the second time. She looked at Charu amused and handed over the sandwiches. Charu was not embarrassed, but quickly grabbed the bag and left the café.
The central library was still two kilometers away and she weathered the night winds on a cycle she had borrowed from Hari. She had bid goodbyes to Hari and Mani a little while earlier.
She imagined what it would be like to drown in icy cold water. What might become numb first, she wondered? James Bond fell on his back with such unnatural calm and grace that his hands and feet did not shiver or shake. The scenes moved like an approaching train in her mind and before she could figure out the contours or its colours, it shape shifted into another amorphic form. What would he have remembered before giving it all up? She smiled, when the moving train of images presented a series of women that he had indulged in the past. Would he feel proud to have had dalliances with tens of gorgeous women of all shapes and sizes from across the world? Would he have repented for not having settled down for love with a woman and stayed loyal in marriage? Would he have opted to have children? What kind of stories would he have narrated to his children to put them to sleep?
The winds were chillier for this part of the year; she felt her ears become cold. The cycle needed some overhauling she thought, it wasn’t moving faster for the effort that she was putting in. The library was in sight now and her stomach was already grumbling. The library always had more students at this part of the hour than during the day. Her mind trail was now wrecked by hunger and she struggled to drive towards a narrow empty spot between long rows of other cycles parked both sides.
“Sam? Come outside?" Charu ordered and before he could reply she disconnected the call.
She messily opened the sandwich wrapper and started devouring the grilled bread, corn and spinach sandwich that tasted like mud. Her expressive eyes turned sullen, looking at the next slice of bread left. She washed down the balance with two glasses of water from the cooler nearby. She fidgeted with her phone, running her thumb over the latest updates on Facebook.
“Hey, what’s up?" Sam surprised her from behind.
She stared at him briefly without saying anything. “Would you like to eat this sandwich?" she looked at him from the corner of her eyes.
“Actually, you know what, I am not hungry, why don’t you have it?" he reasoned softly.
She threw the sandwich in the trash can, “I hate to waste food. I would not have bought it, if you had told me, when I called you earlier. Please don’t do this again," she cautioned him in a stern voice. Charu walked inside the library without waiting for his response.
Sam was confused and slightly irritated at her unexpected jibe. “But, you didn’t allow me to reply? You disconnected as soon as you asked," he tried to reason.
Charu looked behind at him, “Stop behaving like a five year old. You could have called back or messaged me?"
Sam remained silent and tried to walk past her. She paused when he brushed against her arm while trying to overtake her. Both of them settled down near the wide brown table filled with books. She gave a sigh of relief and slouched on the chair. There was an uneasy silence between the two for a brief moment.
I have been having really messed up dreams and weird hallucinations, You will be there for me nah?
“I have been feeling rather weird lately, Sam," she said in a low emotional tone. Her eyes were moist and she leaned towards him looking directly at his eyes. Her fitted pink checked shirt revealed her ample cleavage and Sam found it hard to focus his eyes on hers. Sam was worried about what might be troubling her. “I have been having really messed up dreams and weird hallucinations," tears fell down her cheeks and she leaned further towards Sam. “You will be there for me nah?" she waited for his response.
“Absolutely, without any doubt silly," he reassured immediately, and kissed her on the forehead. He closed his laptop and touched her hands to comfort her. Charu kept her face lowered for a few minutes.
“Is there anything I can do to help?" Sam offered.
Charu lifted her face and smiled at him with weary eyes. Sam was concerned.
“Please tell me. What is troubling you?"
“Anyways, don’t worry too much about me. I am a gone case and take my word for it. Never ever trust me. I might slip away before you even realize what hit you," and Charu laughed out loud, but looked at his eyes waiting for a response. She wanted him to hold her hands and say that he would take care and never let her go.
But, Sam remained silent.
She turned her face away but returned quickly, “So what have you been upto?" Her face was now brighter and voice chirpier as usual.
Sam stared at her confused and surprised. “How does she do that? Her moods change at speed," he wondered.
“Halloo, where are you?" she waved her hands across his face.
“Sorry, tell me nah, what is troubling you?" Sam insisted, “I am worried."
“Why should you be worried? You are not my boyfriend," she was quick and curt.
“Anyways, forget all that. Don’t worry too much. I am perfect now. Tell me tell me. What’s new?"
“Well, I am planning a project that I am very excited about," his face lit up.
“You know about JARVIS right? Have you read Iron Man comics or seen any of the films where Robert Downey Jr. plays the Iron Man?" She nodded sideways with a pout.
“Okay, it’s like this. JARVIS is the abbreviation for ‘Just A Rather Very Intelligent System’. It is an artificially intelligent computer system that helps Tony Stark, the billionaire techie who transforms into the super hero, Iron Man. It’s like a personal assistant that helps him with all the mundane daily chores to important life saving moments." Sam was very excited.
Charu was amused but did not let it show. She also found his excitement and enthusiasm very cute.
“I would like to build a JARVIS for Android phones,"
Charu interrupted him. “Slow down dear. I am a little dull in all this. What are Android phones?"
“Android is an operating system for mobile phones, like Microsoft Windows is for personal computers. My Samsung phone is built on an Android operating system. It’s developed by Google," Sam’s confidence was now evident in his body language.
“So, I would like to build an app to help me manage my time, projects and other interests, listen to me when I want to whine, speak to me and more cool stuff. And it will have the option of choosing different voices, unlike the JARVIS of Iron Man, which has the voice of a stuck up British butler," and he laughed goofily.
Charu’s roving eyes searched for something in Sam, unsure of what they were looking for. His slim tee shirt made him appear more muscular than she had seen him on the earlier occasions.
“Isn’t it cool? I am going to apply for the Google Challenge Award for this project. Very excited, am I not awesome?" and chuckled with his mouth wide-open.
“Yes you are, handsome. I am very proud of you," Charu touched his forearm with her left hand fingers and gently caressed him. Sam felt goose bumps all over his body, “it feels nice, wish I could kiss her now. No one is around in this section," he thought.
Sam leaned closer to kiss her, but Charu slapped him tenderly and laughed out loud. Sam was disappointed but laughed along to save his embarrassment.
“Do you want to see something really funny?" Charu offered. She pulled his notebook PC closer to her in a quick motion that made Sam skip a beat.
“Will you do me a favour, sweety? I badly need coffee? I will take five ten minutes to set things up. Could you sneak in one real smooth quickly? Please, pretty please?" and she fluttered her eyes.
Sam volunteered without a question. He took brisk steps towards the entrance of the library and then made a quick run towards a tea shop at the end of the road near the staff quarters.
“What is really troubling her? I am sure someone has upset her. Who was she with all evening that she did not even answer my calls? She is so awesomely hot, beautiful and intelligent. I really want to take care of her. I will knock the brains off the guy who is upsetting her. Is it that guy Mani? These poor village boys can be a parasite, play the victim game and mind fuck us. I should warn her to stay away from Mani. I don’t think his motives are genuine. Charu is like a goddess who is so giving, that others take advantage of her goodness," he mind voiced his concerns. He was attracted to her.
“Hey Charu, here," Sam offered her some hot frothy coffee in a paper-cup.
“Thank you sweetheart. You are a savior," she took the cup in her left hand while she continued typing on the keyboard on the other. She did not look at Sam, she was engrossed at the screen. She grabbed his hand and pulled him closer, “come and sit closer. Watch the fun." She now took a sneak peak at him.
She typed “Omegle.com" on the browser, “Have you used it before? I just stumbled upon this site recently."
Sam raised his eyebrows that implied, “I am the God of geeks, and you are telling me?" But, he hadn’t heard of this site.
“This site allows you to video chat with a complete stranger. No names, no personal information, completely anonymous. So basically you can fool around," and she opened her eyes wide and screamed very quietly.
The omegle.com site looked cluttered and the design amateurish. The screen was divided into two video windows and a left-hand section for text chat. One can see the person but cannot speak.
“She is very photogenic and sexier on camera," he thought.
Charu clicked on the “Start a new conversation" button and a young boy of African origin popped up on screen. He was 15 or 16 years, sitting on a bed and looked intense. He wasn’t wearing any clothes, or atleast what was visible via the camera.
The stranger looked flustered and anxious. Charu rested her face on her left hand, she left her hair loose and leaned back and forth.
And he folded his hands across his chest.
And he smiled cheekily.
Charu removed her hand and her cleavage became more visible. Sam got anxious about where this conversation would go.
Charu smiled cockily.
He was getting very excited.
The video from the stranger became a little hazy while he tried to write on his stomach. The picture went dull and dark briefly. In the meanwhile, Charu opened another software “CamDecoy" and hovered the mouse pointer on a video file, waiting for the stranger’s next move.
The stranger was back on the scene with his sculpted abs with some words scribbled in blue across. It didn’t seem he was wearing anything below, but the video only revealed above his waist. Charu double clicked the video file and her face was replaced by a video that had four old skinny grannies in bikinis roaring in laughter. They were laughing their hearts out as if they were mocking at the African boy. The boy’s face appeared back again and his eyes red in anger.
Charu disconnected the conversation and both of them joined the laugh parade.
“Did you see the look on his face," Charu burst out laughing and Sam cracked up.
“But still, you were fucking mean, very mean," he remarked still laughing.
Sam in a brisk motion kissed hard on her lips and surprised her. Charu stared at him briefly with a blank expression. He pushed himself on her again, but this time she did not resist.