From the voice at the other end on his third attempt to call Manjusha, it was clear to Sanjith that it was not she. So his reply hello was more of a question than a greeting. Then there was a silence.
“Can I speak to Manjusha ?” he broke the silence after a few seconds.
“Manjusha is not here, this is her friend”
“Oh.. Did she forget the phone while going out?”
“Err.. Well she has gone home since we don’t have classes for next two days and then it is the weekend. “
“Oh and did she forget the phone? “ Sanjith asked in a disappointed tone, thinking about the lost chance to meet her during the weekend.
“Not actually. Well, I want to tell you something, only if you have the patience to listen.”
As if anyone is going to tell he does not have patience! “Yeah tell me”, preparing to hear something not so pleasant. “ By the way, may I know your name?”
“My name is not important Sanjith. I can tell you any name. So please leave that. We are a group of students; some of us doing MBA and others doing masters in psychology in same college. We have been reading about many affairs developed over missed calls and lot of guys using this modus operandi to trap girls. We once had a long discussion on this and decided to experiment and analyze how many people, male and female, call back on missed calls and how willing are they to talk to strangers. For that study we collected phone numbers through different methods and contacted many people. We girls used to keep one phone for talking to guys and boys had another phone from which they had called girls. Normally we used to talk two or three times and then not accept calls from them any more, but somehow you and Manjusha got along. We wanted to stop her from...”
“So I was one of the guinea pigs” Sanjith spoke as partial statement and partial question.
“It was not that way Sanjith. She really became good friend with you and neither of you can be blamed for that. From what we understand, you two are developing into something more than friendship. You are probably a nice guy too. But the thing is that Manjusha has a boyfriend who loves her very much and he has been an important part of her life for many years. We had a long session with her today and she wants to end this too. She could not tell you directly and we were thinking about stop using this phone number. We will probably do that from tomorrow, but when you were trying so hard to reach her I felt it was better to let you know. From what I understand, you are a sensible person and would understand. All I have to tell is that…” Sanjith did not wait to hear rest.
He did not know what to do. He was not in love with Manjusha. He considered her to be a good friend and like her friend told probably they were getting into something more than friendship. What pained Sanjith was that he was kept in the dark throughout. He did not even know for sure if her name is Manjusha. He is not even able to talk to her one last time to shout at her. And there is no way for him to find who she is. He felt helpless and powerless. For a moment he wished if his father or uncle were a police officer or if Google could search address details by phone number. He did not want to do bring any harm to her, just wanted to trace her and tell her that he can reach to her if he really wanted.
Just when he was drying himself with the towel an idea struck him. Once when her cell was switched off, he had got the automatic message from service provider and hence knew who was the service provider. Sanjith had a friend who worked in the IT department of the same company. So probably he can try to get the name and address of the person who took connection. No assurance that he will be able to trace her, but some possibility at least. When he quickly changed dress and took his cell phone to call his friend, there was a missed call and it was from his manager Sunil.
Sunil never calls any one after office hours unless it is really important. So Sanjith decided to call Sunil first.
“Hey Sanjith. There is a new project for our client starting next Monday and we have identified you as the onsite co-coordinator. Can you travel this weekend to US? ”
“ But Sunil… it’s already Wednesday night.”
“Yeah I know Sanjith. Actually the role was for slightly senior profile and I had to try hard to get you this opportunity. So please don’t let me down and don’t let such an opportunity slip through your hands”. Then Sunil gave a brief about the work and expectations from Sanjith.
By the time he disconnected the phone, Sanjith had already mentally started preparing list of things to do in next two days. He was still holding the phone in his hands. When he unlocked the screen to call his parents to inform them the news, he remembered that he was about to call his friend. He stared the phone screen for a moment and then he could not stop a smile slip through his lips.
I got the thread of this story from newspaper reports about many girls and housewives falling prey to missed call lovers and psychologists and criminologists explaining the reasons why people call back and develop relations. One such report - http://www.indianexpress.com/news/dial-missed-for-murder/649579/