“Saw the flood of messages … don’t know what to say.”
“Mind you, I hate jokes, that too so late in the night.”
“Hmm … but you never admitted it then.”
“Are you sure?”
“Hmm … you swore you’d … anyway.”
“Do you really mean it?”
“Who called it pointless then?”
“Don’t try that trick again, I’m not 27 anymore.”
“How can I trust you?”
“Don’t mind, are you drunk?”
“I don’t even want to recall…”
“I remember everything, just wonder what makes you accept it now!”
“Hope you know what you are saying?”
“No, it’s 3 a.m. now and I can’t take call. Ma would worry. Call me tomorrow.”
Kaushik suddenly became aware of the bitter smell hovering around his olfactory consciousness. He dropped his mobile on the sofa and dashed to the kitchen to turn off the knob. The overbrewed tea had spilled over to douse the flame and coat the aluminium saucepan.
Kaushik flung open the kitchen window and returned to the living room.
“Well, I need to think and consult parents and … our lawyer. Hope you understand.”
“I didn’t contact him, but Ma had reasons to worry.”
“It was not easy for me. Again, I’m not promising anything.”
“Call me around 9:30. It’s nearly morning and I’m exhausted.”
Kaushik did not even feel embarrassed for laughing when Shankha showed him his wonder phone the previous night. He never doubted Shankha’s genius but was equally familiar with his eccentricities.
“You call it iPhone, I call it a glorified paperweight. I’m lending you a real SMART phone here. Subscriber Module Augmented Reality Tweak. A phone SMART enough to manage your texts and reset an episode in your life. You can’t see your outgoing message though. And remember, it’s a one-time thing and there’s a price you have to pay for the event re-setting.”
Kaushik returned home with the chunky phone convinced Shankha was now a borderline loony. As suggested, he inserted his SIM, connected it to the charger and went to bed.
The mobile beeped again.
“Your account 225xxx7898 has been debited on 10/08/2017 by INR 800,000 towards online payment to Diksha Foundation. Available balance: INR 3,976.”