Dear Pen Pal

Dear Pen Pal (Chapter 5)

Continued from Chapter 4…


Anjana spent the rest of the day planning what she would do in order to find Sameer. For the night, she just kept staring at the dark ceiling. Her thoughts kept going back to their mails, how it had all begun, how it progressed and where it had lead her today. She had decided to start with Sameer’s office hoping to get some hint there. Thank God she knew where he worked.

With first light, Anjana was ready and out of the hotel. She knew where she was heading. By 7 in the morning, Anjana was at Sameer’s office, which obviously was closed at that time. She kept moving back and forth near the front gate. At about 7:30, a young boy, probably in his early teens, came along carrying a kettle in one hand and a few plastic cups in the other hand, shouting “Cha… gorom cha…”

Anjana did not understand Bengali by any means, but she could decipher that this fellow was there selling tea. The boy came up to Anjana and asked, “Didi… Cha?” Anjana looked at the boy and nodded. The boy poured a cup full from his kettle and handed it to Anjana. Anjana took the cup and handed a ten-rupee bill to the boy. The boy took out some change from his pocket and started counting the change. Anjana just waved the boy to keep the change and walked away with the cup. The boy happily kept the change in his pocket and walked away, continuing his chant… “Cha… gorom cha…”

Exactly at 8:30, a man in a very typical security guard uniform walked up to the gate and began to open the locks.

Anjana ran up to him and jumped to the most important question straightaway. “Sameer Bhatia?”

The security guard was taken aback. “Madam?”

“Sameer Bhatia. You know Sameer Bhatia? He works here.” Anjana framed her question a little better this time.

“Yes madam. Kintu… But… Office ashen ni… Onek din.” Stammered the guard.

Anjana narrowed her eyebrows with questions loaded on her face.

The guard took a second attempt. “Sameer sir… Not come office… Many days.” Anjana’s expression changed. The guard was contended. He thought he did a good job at a language which he or anyone in his family had never learned.

“When will the staff come?” Anjana fired again.

“9 o’clock madam.” Now the guard was really proud of himself.

Anjana took a step back and decided to just wait.

At near about 9, one, two, and then more and more employees started pouring in. Anjana decided to wait a while longer. At around 9:30, she took one deep breath, and stepped into the office building.

After speaking to practically everyone at Sameer’s office, all that Anjana could learn was that Sameer had been declared absconding by the company. He had not come to office for almost two months and had not gotten in touch with anyone or informed anything to anyone either. Even his family did not know where he went. Anjana found herself right where she had started. Her frustration had reached a whole new level. She felt lost and clueless. Her only hope of finding Sameer had turned out to be completely hopeless. Nevertheless, before leaving the office, she took down Sameer’s residential address and contact number from the doorman.


To be continued…


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