The Call that Never Was!!!

The Call that Never Was!!!

Short Story

When the school bell rang, Malu (Malathy Sec. X-C) ran out of the class with her bag and lunch basket. She collected her mobile from the office, went up to the gate and stopped for a minute. She switched on her phone and checked for messages. One sms: 'Your Brother Seriously Hurt -
Hospitalised - at Royapettah Government Hospital - Rush.' The number from which the message came was not found in her memory card.

The hospital was not far off. An autorickshaw would take her there in ten minutes. But, a question flashed in her mind: 'Why did not Amma or Appa call her. Who is the person who sent this message? Was it a hoax?'

April first was gone long back. It couldn't be April fooling. She became a little rattled. 'Should I call Amma now?' she wondered No. She would be busy in her business conference. She would be free only after 5.00 p.m.

What about Appa?... No. He had an appointment at 3.30 p.m. and would be in the Operation Theatre for a heart surgery. All calls made would be attended to by his secretary. Telling the secrectary would not be of any use.

The other day she had read in the newspapers about pranks and false alarms forwarded through sms by unknown people. To contact or call strangers would be risky

Nowadays, it was common to get phone messages requesting to send money to some one in need of surgery or college fees. Many a time, the message would say "forward this to five people and you will get Rs.50/- credit to make calls." What a way to boost one's income!

But what about Rishab? Did he meet with any accident while driving his two wheeler? Was it serious? Would he need surgery? Would the hospital require people to donate blood? As thoughts raced in her head, Malu was in a dilemma.

By then, all the school girls and their accompanying parents had left the campus. School looked a bit like a laid off factory. Only a few boys were at the basket ball court. 'I know none of them. 'Besides they may not give up their evening of sport to accompany me,' thought Malu.

Suddenly, she remembered... * RSP (* RSP – Road Safety Patrol) contact! She knew the head of RSP - a senior traffic cop. May be he would be of some assistance.

She immediately rang up Mr.Ravi, IPS, Deputy Commissioner (Traffic). Fortunately, she had stored his number in her memory card.

"Hello, Mr. Ravi, Sir. I am in a dilemma." And she explained to him about the message from an unknown number. "I am terribly worried about my brother, Rishab.  Appa and Amma are away at their work spots. Can't disturb them sir. Can you help me?"

Mr.Ravi replied, "You said your name is Malu? You are in our RSP? I remember you! Last time you were in our contingent at the Republic Day Parade at the Marina beach."

Malu responded, "Yes Sir, I am the same Malu."

"Don't worry Malu," consoled the Deputy Commissioner. "I will call you back in five minutes. But stay at the school campus till I get back to you!"

Malu kept looking at the timer in the mobile every minute. Normally when she was out of the school, she would play with her mobile. All fun games till the bus reached her destination. That day there was no mood for fun. Every second moved like a minute and every minute moved like an hour. Poor Rishab! If the news was real, he would be groaning in pain. With Appa and Amma not around, it would hurt more. What a pity that though Appa, was a famous surgeon in a city hospital, her brother lay helpless after an accident...!

Suddenly the mobile beeped. She took the call. "Malu this is DC (traffic). Good news. Nothing to worry. There is no one in Government Royapettah Hospital admitted over the last 12 hours with any injury by accident or otherwise. I spoke to the RMO and the Hospital Superintendent. They have checked up the records and the casualty ward too. No one in the name of your brother. The call must be a hoax. You forward that message along with the senders number by SMS to me. We will investigate through our Cyber Cell. Go home peacefully," said Mr. Ravi, IPS.

"You did the right thing by calling us. Even in future don't venture to contact strangers. I am sure you will realize that the RSP training has given you common sense and alertness. I will also tell this to your Principal and advise all students to follow your example. I will get back to you if there is any progress in our investigation."

Malu jumped happily into her bus and started to play games on her phone. Only when the conductor called out to her did she realize that she had to get off. She jumped out of the bus and rushed home.

When she opened her gate, she saw Rishab playing with his laptop. What a relief? After Amma and Appa came home that night, Malu recounted the whole story. Both Rishab and her parents felt proud of Malu.

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