Was this the mail that launched a thousand spams
And gave birth to that greatest of all date rape drugs?
Sweet Rolypoly, make my inbox immortal with thy presence.
It was one of those rare mornings when I stepped out of my room after a night of peaceful slumber and not a night spent in doing whatever it is that idle hostellers do while not sleeping in the nights while fitful gusts whisper here and there outside among the bushes half leafless and dry, and while stars look very cold about the Chennai sky. Keats, sonnet IX.
I am a bit fanciful as far as the outside world is concerned. I spend almost all of my time in tiny rooms, so I feel excited whenever I have a chance to step outside. My brain might have been culturally preprogrammed, but I like the feel of bright warm sun on my skin, and I like the way my hair feels when the wind brushes past my neck and my ear.
As I stepped outside, the coolness of the morning breeze filled my lungs. The almost dewy air touching my cheek felt like pricks, but they softened the sight of the bright sun rays. It looked almost as radiant as that bright morning scene in a Tim Burton movie where the hero, pronounced dead in the Vietnam war, had returned to kiss his betrothed. It was my first morning sun in two months.
To many the best part of waking up early in C** might seem to be the beautiful mornings. But as beautiful as the mornings are, to a more discerning mind, no doubt it is the breakfast in the mess which would be the best part, particularly when one didn’t have it in the past two months in spite of being charged for it. I guess all undergrad hostels are full of such optimists who plan turning a new leaf in their lives starting with regular breakfasts, but never wake up in time.
Since I had neither been pronounced dead nor was I engaged to any girl waiting for me to be kissed, not that I mind kissing girls I am not engaged to, I proceeded towards the canteen.
As I was making my way, I spotted Riya in the distance. The basket in her hand was full of Jasmine. Her white dress and the white flowers and her wet hair filled up my head, and I yelled to ask her if the spring had arrived. She stopped near me while passing and like always, bent her head slightly, looking at me from the corner of her eyes with a nice smile that always demands reciprocation. Usually she speaks coyly after this ritual acknowledging my existence, “Yeh tum ho kya (Is that you)?” But today she only offered me a flower and went away. I wanted to stop and tell her that she had made me a fine day, or a fine morning at least. After a moment of hesitation, however, I decided that not missing my breakfast was more important.
The first hints of grey clouds appeared in the horizon when Jay(ant)h stopped me while I was entering the mess and exclaimed, “What were you thinking?” I was going to observe that that he looked incredibly handsome, but he did not wait to hear the compliment. I realised that the question had not been literal. It meant there was something I did not know, something I should have known, something I must know at once.
I finished by breakfast as soon as possible and went to the lab to check my mailbox. There was only one mail waiting for me there. It was from Professor SS, who had no business sending any kind of mail to me. I opened it anyway. It had two lines, and all the letters were capitalised. It ran thus -
WHO IS THIS INCORRIGIBLE INTROVERT?
REPORT TO ME AT 9AM SHARP TOMORROW.
I noticed that the mail had been CCed to all undergraduates. It was true that I had attended only one of his lectures that semester, but that was not reason enough for such a rude mail, particularly when one considers my attendance in other classes. To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t even know who I was, because he had once chastised A(cha)l mistaking him for me.
Then I checked the mail it came in reply to, and my heart sank.
An(irb)it, whenever he is inspired to be kind to his fellow human beings, sends them spam. On the previous night, he had sent us a spam about some phoney Date Rape Drug called RolyPoly, and had warned us that someone might want to try it on us.
I found the suggestion extremely ridiculous, of course. For one thing, a significant proportion of the population wouldn’t even mind being date raped (yes, scarcity of girls can do that to you. it’s all hormones.). And who in his right mind would want to dope and date rape a C** student anyway?!
Before going to sleep, I said as much in reply to his mail -
Who in his right mind would want to dope and date rape a C** student anyway?!
For some inscrutable reason, An(irb)it’s recipient list had included SS, which I did not notice before hitting on the “reply all” button. That explained the state of the affairs that far.
My mail had been an instant success. Everyone who had considered me a waste of space before now wanted to give me all sorts of advice, and assured me that even though he lacked that thing called temper, SS was fundamentally a nice man. I couldn’t go through the corridor without being interrupted by people who wanted to know all about the affair. I was an instant celebrity.
I tried to live up to everyone’s expectation for a while and tried being miserable. After being miserable for some time, I went on to join An(shu)l in watching a movie in his room. That night, I went to bed early so that I could wake up in time to meet him. With a curious sense of foreboding, I fell asleep.
To Be Continued… (very soon)