It started raining.
Nikhil needed to run to another building to give a presentation to the senior folks about the sales trends in the recent months. It was a big sprawling campus and Nikhil was not so comfortable, usually, to go to another building and to present the same boring facts to the uninterested and least bothered folks who attend the meeting just to while away their time as they run away from deliveries, targets, and deadlines for all the nine hours they spend at work.
It’s been two months since Nikhil joined this company. Just as he was running in the rain to another company, his mobile phone started ringing.
“Hey Nikhil, Can you please help me?” pleaded the voice on the phone. He could not recognize the voice. The call is from a new number. For a moment, he did not know how to respond.
The girl on the phone continued, “We came to the terrace for dance rehearsals for tomorrow’s celebration. Then, I went into this room to check if there are any old chairs. And, I think someone locked this room while I went inside. It is at the rear end of the terrace on the seventeenth floor of the eighth tower. I tried calling many people. But, they are all dancing or partying, I’m not sure. Please help me get out of this place. I got your number from our people directory. Thank God for my android phone.”
She hardly gave any time for Nikhil to speak or respond. There was too much information for Nikhil to process within a short span of time.
Finally, Nikhil gathered some courage and time to respond to her. He said, “I’m not sure if you got the right Nikhil. I don’t know who you are. And, you did not even tell your name.”
She immediately responded. She said, “Hey, this is Sheela. We both work in the same team. I joined a couple of weeks ago. I’m sorry I did not give my number to you when you asked me. Don’t be angry on me just because I did not share my number with you. Please help me out of this place. It looks so haunted and I already spent nearly an hour here. It is also very suffocating. There is a pile of old computers and key boards here. I wonder if there are lizards and cockroaches, too. I’m very frightened of cockroaches. And, as far as lizards are concerned, I had no problem with them until that incident happened to my cousin. One day, a lizard crept on her hand. She immediately got fever and was bedridden for the next few weeks. She was so troubled. I can remember her words and her agony during that time.”
Sheela went on an on about cockroaches, lizards, and the work pressures at this new company. She explained him how this company was a lot better than her earlier company.
Nikhil disconnected the call while she was speaking. He immediately called his colleague, Praneeth and asked him to do the presentation on his behalf as he has some other urgent work. His friend was not so happy to give the presentation, initially. But, he had to accept it. Nikhil shared the details of the conference room and the presentation and disconnected the call.
Nikhil, then, rushed to the eighth tower and contacted the security personnel there about a girl trapped in a room on the terrace.
The security head of the tower responded along with Nikhil rushed to the terrace. They noticed that the doors have been locked and the lock has been tampered with.
The security head told Nikhil, “We need to break the lock. And, we need to do it urgently. There is no ventilation to this room. The girl might faint due to lack of oxygen. It can be life threatening if she has any other health problems. Please call her and assure her. Ask her not to get anxious. I will go and get the tools to unlock this door. Unlike the way they show in movies, we cannot break the lock manually.”
Meanwhile, Nikhil noticed that he got at least eight messages from Sheela saying how angry she is.
I did not expect this from you. How can you disconnect a girl’s call like that?
Are you trying to show some attitude? If you think girls fall for your attitude, you are badly mistaken. I will call someone else. You go and take a walk.
You were so desperate for my attention since the last week. And, now, when I seek your help, you act so crazy.What is wrong with you people?
Never expect any response or help from me. I’ll make sure the whole team knows about you. I will tell them that you are a coward and hopeless.
Please ignore my earlier messages. I badly need help. I think there is no air here. I feel very uncomfortable.
Please respond. I’m not able to reach any of our other colleagues. Either they are attending some meeting or busy practicing their dance steps. I don’t want to already call my family and make them panic.
Nikhil called her after reading all these messages.
Even before he tried to utter a single word, Sheela started by saying, “Hey, thanks for calling me. Sorry for those rude messages. Please help me. It’s very suffocating in here. Can you please do something? I heard some noises just now. I hope there is no ghost here. I remember people telling that a couple committed suicide in this room an year ago. I hope they are not here around. It is so frightening. It is so dark in here, except for the light from my phone. Added to this, my battery is dying. These Android apps take so much battery. I love to watch videos on my phone. But, this battery does not even last for a few hours. I bought the best phone in the market last year. It is already giving me battery problems. Which phone do you use? Are you also facing the batter problems?”
Right from discussing about Android apps, she talked about the celebrations the next day and how she did not like the dance steps choreographed by her colleague. She also told him about what happened during one of her dance sessions in college.
The security head returned. While trying to unlock the door, he said, “I informed the security chief. He said he will watch the CCTV footage and find out who did this. He is coming here after watching the CCTV footage and knowing the entire story.”
After a few minutes of struggle by three security personnel, the doors finally got unlocked.
Sheela came out of the room and thanked the security people. She did not recognize Nikhil.
The security head told him that it was Nikhil who saved her.
Sheela said, “So, you are Nikhil. I’m sorry I thought I called Nikhil from my team. Thanks for saving me.”
She did not immediately feel the need to apologize for all the glib talk on the phone during this entire time.
After a few minutes, the security chief rushed to the spot with one more person. It was the other Nikhil from her team.
The security chieft informed Sheela that her team mate had actually locked her inside as a prank. She was very angry on her team mate, Nikhil. However, she requested the security team not to take any action on him. He was let go with a warning this time.
Meanwhile, Nikhil thanked the security people and left the place.
After a few hours, Nikhil got a call again from Sheela.
She said, “Hey, I did not get a chance to apologize for troubling you earlier. Can we meet for a cup of coffee? It’s my treat. You saved me. I owe you a treat. Can we meet in the coffee shop in the other campus at five. Please do not ask me to come to the coffee shop in our campus. The coffee there is so bad and the waitress is so rude. She fought with almost everyone in our team already. I don’t understand what they learn in their training and orientation while preparing for our jobs.”
She went on about various topics from training to celebrities and their tantrums.
Finally, Nikhil agreed to meet her at the coffee shop at five that evening.
During their meeting, Nikhil hardly uttered more than a few sentences. However, he got to learn so much about Sheela, her team, her life, her desires, her quirks, and the general problems with the entertainment and fashion industries in the country. He was happy he finally found someone to complement him. He hardly spoke anywhere. Here, he found someone who hardly remained silent at least for a few seconds.
Meanwhile, the other guy, Nikhil from her team looked at both of them from a distance and felt bad for what happened today. He wanted to be the one who saved her. But, something else happened. His manager called him for some urgent work and he had to rush to his desk. And, Sheela did not call him. She retrieved the number of this stranger, Nikhil. And, they already have some chemistry between them.