“Hey, do you remember me?” – That is what was written in the email in my inbox, which I received from an unknown creepy id, [email protected]! It seemed someone had created the id just for me, using my name into it, as if to challenge me to figure out the creator’s identity! I was confused since I had just opened this new email account about nine months back, just after my marriage and only a selected few knew about it. I looked at my computer screen blankly, wondering who it can be. My thoughts were disturbed by my cell phone’s ring tone. I soon took the call and it was my best half. It was almost like a routine that he would call me once he reached his office. Just going by my reflex I started to tell him about the mail. But soon checked it and thought not to bother him for such a small issue. I disconnected the call saying “love you too honey, see you in the evening”. My thoughts were cluttered by that mail, I thought of replying and eventually did so, “Hey who are you? What’s your original name?” I logged out and got busy in my official meetings.
The next day as soon as I reached office, I opened my mailbox to check if any more mails were there from that id and to my surprise there was one indeed. He just replied me in two little words, which made my world go up side down. “Your lover!” I froze for a while and then jumped out of my seat. I ran towards the canteen aimlessly with my mind was full of questions. When I reached the canteen and thought of having some hot coffee to lessen my restlessness. I sat alone on a table having coffee when suddenly something came into my mind. Someone used to mail me in the same way when I was in college. That too was from a weird id, [email protected] started contemplating whether both of them were same person. I didn’t knew what to do, I went back to my desk and without thinking for the second time, I started replying. “Hey who the hell are you, Are u mad? I am married and my hubby is my lover!” I clicked on the send option and immediately logged off from the site.
To my surprise next day also I received one more mail. He wrote, “Who cares about your hubby and yes I am mad about you! Surprising that you don’t remember me! How quickly people forget old days! Will u b my friend?” I was shocked and started to wonder what will be my next step. First, I thought I must inform my hubby but then I thought of handling it alone. I dialed a number from my cell, “Hey hello. I am Ria, your college mate! Remember me?” It was Amir, one of my batchmates. He replied, “Hey Ria…how you doing? Where are you these days? I heard you got married?” I updated him that I was in Bangalore and said, “Hey I need a small favour from you Amir! You need to hack someone’s email id and give me his details!” Amir during our college days was an expert of such tasks, although he did all that for fun. But now its only Amir who could help me. I briefed him about the mails from the unknown guy and after hearing the entire stuff he agreed to help me out with it.After disconnecting the call, I forwarded those mails to Amir and I sighed!
It was a Sunday, I was at home alone, my best half was off for an official trip for a week, when suddenly my cell phone rang. I took the call and found Amir on the line. He said, “Hey Ria, I got the information. These mails were coming from an renowned MNC company’s firewall. Its located in Noida and the guy’s name is Neel, though I am not sure if he is using a real name or a vague name!”
I just managed to thank Amir and then I sat on my bed helplessly. I could not believe it was Neel! We were old buddies and though I knew he always had a strong crush on me. But from my end, he was just always a good friend! I never expected him to do all what he was doing! I felt dizzy, I felt weak…I reclined in my bed and closed my eyes, all the memories from the past came rushing into my mind!
Neel was not from my college. He was studying engineering in Pune. It was during my college fest, when I first met him. He was a handsome, good looking, extrovert kind of guy. First time I spoke to him, I was quite impressed by his charisma, he spoke a lot and it was fun to hear what all he had to say! Those days I was little down since I just had a break up. Almost a month after the fest, there was a call on my landline. When I took the call, the male voice on the other end said, “Hey remember me?” I couldn’t recognise the voice and wondered who could it be. It was obviously not Raj, my ex boyfriend. I anyways knew Raj’s voice very well! Suddenly the guy spoke again, “I know you couldn’t recognise me. I am Neel. We met in your college fest. Yes, I am that handsome hunk!” he said with a smile and continued, “Ria, I just wanted to give you a name! And it’s POISON!”
“Neel, you are over confident about yourself anyways and may I know why such a weird name? Poison?” – I asked.
He smiled and replied, “You are a sweet poison dear, and you are very intoxicating. I just saw you once but from that day, you are always in my mind! I couldn’t control myself and had to force our common friend to get your number and finally here I am speaking to you”
I could not believe on his words. To cut it short I said, “Hey, I had a boyfriend, just had a break up with him and I am not interested to start another relationship now. Anyways it was nice talking to you.” Just as I just started to disconnect, I heard he was saying something. I put the receiver back to my ears. He was saying, “Hey poison, I know about you more than you know yourself! Let’s meet up, let’s be friends at least!” I did not reply and just hung up.
After two week or so, we were sitting in our college canteen when suddenly I saw Neel was coming towards our group. Our common friend was present there. They greeted each other and immediately after that, Neel said in front of my other friends, “Hey poison, how you are? Why are you avoiding me?” I didn’t know what to say as rest of my friends looked at me with eyebrow raised listening to my new pet name! I could not even ignore him as he was in my college and the friend of my best friend! Since then he came to our college often, we all chatted in our college canteen, and within six months time we became buddies! Neel had a different attitude…it was always he who called me or came up to my college to meet me. I didn’t knew much about him and he didn’t even bother to inform. With time we started meeting up alone but just as friends as I never had any feelings for him. I was still madly in love with Raj and cherished the wonderful memories of him.
I always felt during our meetings that Neel likes me a lot, he didn’t miss a single chance to impress me but all were in vain. One fine day when we met for lunch, he said, “Poison, its long time now. You must come out from Raj’s world and move on. I know you still love him but it has already been 8 months since you people broke up! Move on poison, look around, and see there are people who are craving for you. Accept the best amongst them and make your world colourful once again!” I didn’t know what to say and looked at him with tears in my eyes. I felt sad and shattered. I just managed to say, “I am trying…let’s see what the future holds for me!”
Neel was untraceable for the next two months. Finally one day he called and said, “Poison, I miss you yaar. I am in Delhi, got a job. I had to come here all of a sudden and did not get time to inform you. Moreover I was giving you time to miss me!” he chuckled. I changed the topic and asked him about his new job, wished him and disconnected the call. After that, he started calling me time and again from Delhi and started to mail me. This was also the period when I started to get strange mails from the weird email id, asking whether I was interested in friendship! Mails from both of them went on and on in parallel until one day when Neel called me. I thought he had called up from Delhi but it was actually from Kolkata itself! He conveyed that his trip to Kolkata was as short as two days and hence he needed to meet me urgently. We met at a café. Within no time he spoke, “Poison, I always thought that I was attracted towards you and it’s just an infatuation! But after I went to Delhi I started missing you like crazy!” He paused, “I think I am in love with you. I am just addicted to you!” I felt helpless as I was still in my Raj’s world and moreover I always considered Neel just as a friend. I didn’t reply and walked away from the cafe and also from his life forever!
Days went by and after six more months, Raj once again walked back into my life making it worthwhile! Just a couple of months later we got married.
I opened my eyes when the aura of twilight touched them and I saw it was almost evening. I slowly walked up to the window and looked outside. I started solving the puzzle as now I knew, both the persons are in fact the same, both the cases it was Neel only using the weird email ids. I recalled how Neel reacted when I told him about the guy with the weird id. He laughed off and said, “Poison, you are anyways so intoxicating! No wonder, you have a big fan following!”
Last time he mailed me from the weird id to understand if I was interested in some other guy and now he was mailing me to check if there was any chance for him to get me back in his life! He hacked my new email id just to reach me!
I logged into yahoo, saw few more mails were there sent by him, but I didn’t even bother to read any of them. I clicked the reply button and composed, “Are you really Neel? Trust me I cannot believe it! Moreover, what you are up to? You know that I would never like it. I was always in Raj’s world and I am always with him. I always thought you to b a decent guy, despite of all your crazy deeds. But now I am really stunned. Tell me Neel, when did we have an affair? Never! You were just my friend. You were always by your own, when you felt you called me and when you wished, you met me. You went to Delhi without even informing and then suddenly one day you came back and said you love me! Did you ever bother to know what I felt? Or as you always said I was not good as a girl friend, but I would always be a good wife! So now, I am trying to be a perfect wife of Raj. Now I truly believe that you never loved me or else you would not have hacked my id and mail me saying that we were lovers! You are simply obsessed about me.” I clicked on the send button and logged off.
Neel did not change even after my clear communication and kept on mailing me, almost to provoke me to all possible ways to get into an extra marital affair with him. Finally, one day I replied to one of his mails, “Neel, you want to meet me right? So let that be! I will wait for you in front of KFC on Brigade road on coming Sunday at 6 pm. If you wish, come and meet me. Bye!”
I reached the KFC outlet on Brigade road fifteen minutes after the scheduled time. I saw him standing there already with a bunch of red roses in his hand. He was looking anxiously here and there and was repeatedly seeing his watch, as if he was feeling his wait was becoming too long! I slowly went up to him and tapped on his arm.
“Hey poison, see you invited and I flew down from Delhi!” – He said in excitement, “You look stunning as ever. This one is for you!” He offered the rose bouquet to me.
I did not show any interest towards the flowers and said in a cold voice,
“Thank you for coming, Neel. But I called you here to make certain things clear to you!”
He stood there muted. I continued to say,
“I know you want me back in your life. But frankly speaking I have moved miles away from where we parted. I am happily married, carrying out loads of responsibilities and enjoying my life.” – I paused. Neel did not say a word. After a while, I said again, “Also I am on the family way and would soon become a mother! Hope that clarifies where we stand now! I am sorry, just for me you had to travel this far but it was necessary to end this. Hope you understand and move on from here!”
Neel stood perplexed as I started to leave. I took an auto from the crossing and saw he was still standing there in front of the KFC outlet with the bouquet still in his hand. I never saw Neel again; neither did he mail me after that day.