The Mysterious Package
I looked at the contents of the package for the nth time with a sense of trepidation that was growing out of proportions every second. Moments before, on a balmy Sunday evening, a drone had made an unexpected landing on my 10th floor balcony and had deposited the package.
To give you a background about myself, I am a freelance technology consultant earning my livelihood by implementing cutting edge next-generation technologies for my clients across the world. And in my line of business three things always happen with clockwork efficiency,
- Living out of a suitcase (yes, literally!)
- Getting packages, mails, and calls at all sorts of ungodly hours
- Working on a Sunday
My long-suffering (and of course understanding) wife had long given up all hopes on me. And this Sunday also like the umpteen Sundays before, she planned an impromptu visit to her friend leaving me to my own devices. It was as usual another working Sunday and I again promised her for the 100th time that I would make it up next weekend. She smiled and surprisingly made no fuss about it as she left the house in a chirpy mood.
Coming back to the package, the drone delivery did not surprise me much. As a top-notch consultant, I am accustomed to such optics every now and then. But the contents of the package left me in a quandary,
It contained a one-way pager and map of my city with certain routes marked in red, interspersed with black crosses at certain points. And then the pager bleeped,
“Good evening, Mr. Roy, we would like to discuss a next-generation technology opportunity with you. Please follow the instructions as communicated on this pager. Your consultation fees have already been sent.”
“Is this a joke? “I voiced aloud. But then the text came on my mobile confirming the credit of my consultation fees in my bank account.
“Wow! These guys are serious.” I thought aloud as a low whistle escaped my lips.
The Run Around the City
I was in two minds. On one side, my practical mind advised me to ignore this hogwash. Somebody was playing a prank on me, and I have no time for such idiosyncrasies. On the other side, my curious mind was intrigued. Who is it? Where does it end? What is the objective? These questions tormented me.
Finally, my insatiable curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to play along. The pager beeped,
“Turn left from your building and walk 1 km along the length of DB road. At 1 km, turn into the cul-de-sac on your right and walk for 500 meters till you reach “Savile Row” tailor shop marked “X” on the map. Wait for further instructions.”
And here it was, the run across the city had begun in all earnest. I was surprised at myself. I had closed my all-important client’s work and was going on a wild goose run with unclear objectives following the instructions on a pager. “This better be good,” I told myself for the nth time.
The pager beeped.
“At the shop, ask for Subhash. Mention your name, and he would hand you a package. Collect the package and come out without asking any questions. I repeat. Any questions and the deal is off. Walk to your right for 1.5 km towards SV road.”
Subhash just handed over the package and went inside without saying a word. It was a big package. “What is in it? Am I involved in some drug business or something? “. My mind starts churning with fearful possibilities about gangs and dingy prisons. Again, my curiosity overcame my fear, and I continued with the charade.
“On SV road, look for the intersection of Anand subway. Walk inside the subway and turn right into Turner Road. Walk along the road for 700 meters to reach the “Jimmy Choo” shoe shop. Go inside, ask for Aldrin, and collect a package from him. Again, no questions!!”
I now had two packages in two hands, and my mind was numb with fear. I was absolutely certain now that I had unwittingly become involved in something illegal. “Perhaps, I should inform the police. But will they believe me?” I thought aloud with despair, cursing myself for having fallen into the trap.
“Wait, let me see where this end. I will catch the bugger red-handed and then call the cops. That is the only way to prove my innocence, “I decided.
The pager beeped again.
“Now turn left from the shop, cross the road, and walk parallel to Greens Road. At about 400 meters, you will find the “Fabulous Florists” shop to your right. Ask for Joseph and collect the bouquet of violet chrysanthemums.”
By now, I was thoroughly confused. “Flowers, what the hell is happening? “My mind was in a whirl. Then the pager beeped again,
“Walk another 200 meters from the shop, and you will come to the entrance of Hotel Ritz Carlton. Walk to the reception, tell them your name, and ask for your room booking. Again, I am repeating it, no inquiries.”
“Ok. Finally, we are getting somewhere. Time to unmask this bugger. “I rubbed my hands in glee and entered room number 303.
An Unexpected Ending
As I switched on the light, I saw a note on the bed,
“You must be tired after all this exertion. Just take a long, relaxing bath and come down to table number 7 of the Frangipani restaurant on the 1st floor around 8.00 PM. You will find all that you need in the packages you brought along with you. I will be waiting. Don’t be late.”
I opened the packages. They contained a finely tailored designer suit in Navy-blue color (my favorite) along with a matching pair of Jimmy Choo suede shoes. There was also a bottle of Davidoff Cool Water, again my favorite perfume.
I sighed in relief. “At least there are no drugs involved here. So, it is some sort of elaborate prank. But who is this person? How does he/she know so much about me? My mind was in utter confusion, so sleep and relaxation was out of the question. I bathed, dressed, and waited desperately for 8 PM to happen.
At 8 PM sharp I walked down to the restaurant and sitting at table number 7 discreetly placed in a corner, I saw her. She looked mesmerizingly beautiful in her flowing chiffon dress and turquoise necklace set.
“Happy marriage anniversary, my dear hubby. Hope you like my surprise,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
Yes, I had committed the cardinal sin of forgetting our anniversary, our most important day, and this was her way of getting back to me. I always knew that she was an incorrigible prankster at school, but this was the first time I had become a victim of her prank, and I must say I was outwitted, outgunned, and outplayed by a huge margin.
For a person who prides in his knowledge about designing and building next-generation technological innovations, this next-generation surprise designed and executed by my wife with perfect finesse would forever remain one of the best (and, of course, eye-opening) anniversary gifts ever given to me by anybody.
More than the surprise, her prank added the much-needed spice to our relationship, wiping away the mundanities of our daily routines and ushering in a new beginning of zest, fun, and frolic for the years to come.
Hats off to you, and a happy marriage anniversary to you, too, my dear wifey!!
© 2023 Ravi Rajan