Rajarshi Acharya



Rajarshi Acharya


Conspiracy Through Emoticons

Conspiracy Through Emoticons

6 mins

Abhishek was the quintessential fresher. His college life had just begun. His youthful exuberance was evident. He was making new friends, bunking lectures and enjoying the freedom that was nonexistent at school. Ever since his school days, he had wanted to become an Engineer. He was a brilliant student. His XII standard result was a testimony of his brilliance and hardwork. Moreover, his diligence in preparation for the Engineering Entrance exams was remarkable. His continuous efforts were duly rewarded when he secured admission in one of India’s best Engineering colleges, that too in his native city Bhopal.

The first week of College was quite eventful. The freshers enrolled into different clubs and societies as per their interests. Interactive sessions were held with the seniors to diffuse the fear of ragging and carefully orchestrated ice breaking sessions were held for the freshers to get acquainted with their fellow batchmates. During one of these sessions Abhishek met Anamika, another fresher who was pursuing a stream of Engineering different to his. Both of them interacted for 20 odd minutes and Abhishek was quite smitten by Anamika’s grace and beauty. They exchanged phone numbers before heading towards their next session. At the end of the day Anamika called Abhishek.

 “Are your classes done? We can travel together as our homes fall on the same route. I am at the auto stand. Come quickly if your final session is over.”

Abhishek replied: “Yes my sessions are over. I am heading towards the auto stand”. The two took an auto and headed out for their respective destinations. Both of them talked freely and he came to know that Anamika was from a very humble background. Her father was a tea stall vendor and his mother worked in a factory. She had worked hard all her life to study and build a career for herself. She could take up engineering by virtue of a scholarship that was awarded to her. Abhishek was quite moved by the revelations and he was filled with sympathy for the poor girl. His father was a renowned businessman and he had no such qualms in life.

A month passed. Their friendship deepened. Anamika had visited his house on a number of occasions and Abhishek’s parents always behaved amicably with her. They were in constant touch with each other and spoke even at wee hours of the night. Soon, it was time for the ‘Fresher’s Party’ and Abhishek wanted to attend it with Anamika. So he called her to know what she had planned for the gala event. But, to his surprise, Anamika did not pick his call. He tried again but was not able to reach her. He once again rang her up. But no one answered at the other end. After a few hours, she texted him back saying she was ill and the doctor had advised her to rest.

In the days that followed, Abhishek did not hear from her. She texted him once or twice. Abhishek was taken aback when he read those messages. The messages primarily consisted of emoticons and very few words were used. Anamika’s messages were generally quite elaborate and had negligible use of emoticons. It was almost as if someone else was masquerading as Anamika. But he thought that this assumption was far-fetched and unreasonable.

But his fears were exalted when he continued to receive the same sort of messages in the days that followed. Moreover in the last two days, the texts had stopped and there was no sort of communication from her end. So he made up his mind to visit her house to find out if she was safe. Abhishek got on his bike and headed towards her house. He was quite apprehensive of the entire situation and feared for his friend’s wellbeing. On reaching her house, he got off from his bike and walked up to the front door.

A man answered the door. He was a singular looking fellow with unkempt hair and unshaven face. His clothes were dirty and he was reeking a very unpleasant odour. He enquired in a hoarse voice: “Who the hell are you? What business do you have here?”. Abhishek answered in a refined tone: “I am Anamika’s friend. I am here to find out if she has recovered from illness.” The man again asked “Is your name Abhishek?” Abhishek nodded in admission. The man beckoned him inside and motioned him to sit in an armchair.

Abhishek sat down on the chair cautiously. But as soon as he sat on the chair, he was hit with a long stick on his head which rendered him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he found himself tied to a chair. His entire body was aching and his head felt dizzy. A streak of blood was rolling down his face from his bandaged head. He looked around and noticed that he was inside a moving truck. And he was not alone. There were four men and one woman in the truck and all of them were dressed uniformly in green pants and shirts with a red scarf on their heads. Each of them had a Gun and several bullets were tied across their waists.

The woman spoke in a commanding voice: “My name is Bhavani. I am a captain of the Maoist army. We have kidnapped you from Bhopal and are currently heading towards our hideout. We will hold you for ransom and if your wealthy businessman father does not accede to our demands, we will kill you and send your severed head to your address. Here, write down his contact number on this piece of paper. And for your sake, I hope your father adheres to our instructions and meets our demands”

Abhishek was petrified. His position was extremely precarious. The Maoists were known for their cruel and merciless executions. He knew that if he resisted, he would be dealt with an iron fist. Without wasting another second, he took the pen and paper, wrote down his father’s phone number and handed it to Bhavani. Bhavani snatched the paper out of his hand and gave it to one of her men. But Abhishek had spotted something. The woman, Bhavani was wearing a bracelet that was very familiar to him. Abhishek froze and stared at Bhavani with sheer shock in his eyes. The entire situation was now clear to him. He understood that it was a well thought out conspiracy to kidnap him for extortion. A feeling of betrayal and disappointment engulfed him.

“It’s you. Anamika, it’s you” he shouted at the woman. The silence was broken by a high pitched sardonic burst of laughter emanating from the Maoists. The first phase of their mission had panned out exactly as they had planned.

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