Garv Raichand was a newly recruited professor in Kolkata University. He had shifted from Delhi University under the department of ‘home-science’. It was strange knowing that a man, well built, good-looking and well spoken, was interested in something like ‘home-science’?
Breaking all rules and going against his family-norms, he came to a conclusion seven years back that Home-science is his passion. He couldn’t spend his days and nights in pungent smelling leather factories of his father. Belonging to a Punjabi-Hindu family, Garv was the second son of a rich merchant – Prabhaat Raichand – who was now a name in leather industry. Though the religion said that slaughtering cows is a sin, but when money becomes a drug, sins look too small to be worried about!
Prabhaat Raichand started with his leather industry in 1970s when an earthquake shook Punjab and his entire family was buried alive in the debris. He was lucky to survive as he was studying in Delhi at that time. He decided never to look back at Punjab and began with his leather-industry with the little investment he had. The business started from his home, and had now taken the shape of five industries spread at the outskirts of the city. He had contacts with politicians, rich businessmen from all across the country and he had made enough money for his coming generations. His only dream was to get both his sons into his business now. Where elder son – Varun had jovially agreed to be a part of his legacy, younger son – Garv was always disconnected from the family business. He didn’t feel good in slaughtering cows, pigs and innocent animals for leather. He was a man of principles and not money. Home-science always attracted him. It became his passion to invent simpler mechanisms to solve little problems right at home. Being the only male teacher in the department, he was often ridiculed by fellow male teachers from other departments, but he was like the only rose in the garden, for his students who were all girls!
His work at Delhi University was highly appreciated and he was asked by the faculty if he wanted to move abroad. He had an option of joining California University, as the college needed a good home-science teacher, and he had another option of joining Kolkata University. He chose the latter as he was always patriotically attached to India. He didn’t want to leave it.
He moved to Kolkata one month ago and had joined the University barely five days ago, and today was the day when he was introduced to Samantha – the mysterious psychology professor, and that too, by a random chance!
Garv walked out of the library with his hands full of notes and books. As he returned the ticket to the librarian, he realized he had forgotten his laptop inside. He frantically rushed to get it, but it was being brought out by a lady, who wore black. He had seen her twice, or maybe thrice before too, but he thought she might be a student, but today with the ID-card hung around her neck, he got to know that she worked here as a teacher.
‘Hey, thanks. This is mine.’ Garv extended his hand.
‘You’re very welcome, but I am going to deposit it in the ‘lost and found’ department.’
‘Lost and Found department? Excuse me, I left it there barely two minutes ago.’
‘I don’t know all that, Sir. If it’s yours, you can claim it from the department. Now I’ve to leave, please…’ she walked out of library and he couldn’t stop her, but started following her to the ‘lost and found’ department.
Samantha walked past two buildings and finally she reached there. The department window already had a long line of students. She managed to cut through as she was renowned teacher of the University.
‘Mr Dubey, please submit this laptop too. I found it in library just a few minutes back.’ she said to a grumpy old man who barely had four hair on his head. He looked through the tainted glass of his rusty spectacles and examined the laptop.
‘When did you find it, Ms Samantha?’
‘Around ten minutes ago.’
‘And did you ask anybody around you?’
‘Yeah, probably everybody in the reading-hall, but it belonged to nobody, so I decided to submit it here, rather than letting it get stolen away! You know how bad this world is, Dubey-ji…’
‘Aah, yes yes…it’s very nice of you ma’am, thank you!’ Mr Dubey gave her his brightest smile, and attached a slip on the laptop regarding date and time of its submission.
As she moved aside from the window, she saw Garv who was standing barely ten centimetres away from her.
‘Hey, what’s your problem, I said it’s my laptop, I left it accidentally in the reading hall. You can’t be so cruel!’ he said and moved towards the window. The students were pushing him aside for barging in the line forcefully, but he showed them his ID card. The kids calmed down. They knew it could be dangerous messing with a teacher!
‘Mr Dubey, that laptop is mine. The one that a lady deposited a minute ago.’
‘And who are you?’ Mr Dubey lowered down his spectacles to see his face.
‘I’m a teacher here. I joined last week…wait…’ Garv fumbled his pockets and took out the ID card. Dubey inspected it with extreme caution.
‘What is the colour of your laptop?’
‘Oh c’mon! You can’t do this, you just got the laptop a minute ago, and I’m telling you it’s mine!’
‘Rules are rules, son. I can’t break them for anybody, I’m sorry.’
‘What’s the operating system?’
‘What? You can’t switch it on, it is password protected!’
‘Fine, here you go. You have to sign here, and here.’ Mr Dubey forwarded him a form. He signed. Claimed his laptop and went to his dorm. He was living as a paying guest in one of the very-mediocre areas of Kolkata.
‘I can’t believe how stupid people can be sometimes!’ Garv placed his bag on the bed and took a hot shower. He came out of the bathroom, dressed up in light clothes and opened his bag to take out the laptop. He had a lot of work today! He switched it on. It demanded a password. He typed something, but the password was incorrect. He typed again, it was again incorrect. He pressed the ‘caps-lock’ button, in case he was missing something, and slowly typed again. It again said that password is incorrect. He knew that he was typing correct. In past one year, he had the same password of his laptop, and it can’t be incorrect now! He flipped the laptop upside down. The back of the laptop had a stick-note, which said –
Roll Number – 1478547
‘What the hell!’ he had fought in vain and claimed a wrong laptop. The student with this roll number, may have taken away his laptop and he brought this strange laptop to his home!
‘Well, people aren’t that stupid…’ he tossed the bag on the floor in anger and slept off.