A short Story “The Intern”

Radhika, a small-town girl, She is simple, down to earth and loves to listen to music. She hates putting on makeup whenever she has to. She has earned a degree in mass communication and just got a placement from collage in a media company and recently moved to the new apartment in New Delhi which she rented with the help of a friend.

It’s a one BHK apartment in a three-story building. There are three other buildings adjacent to each other. It took her a whole week to set up everything, there are still some things that she needs to buy to fulfill her appliances needs. She is new to the town and doesn’t know many people except a couple of fellow trainees and a middle-aged woman who lives below her apartment and had interrupted her two or three times in a week asking about some random things every time, things such as, has she moved to the above floor recently? How many members are you? And what she does? These are only interactions that Radhika has had with her neighbor or a matter of fact with anybody in the building so far.

Since she is new to the city and doesn’t know anyone, most of the time she is hooked up to the music. She mostly likes to listen to slow and melodious songs. Although she listens to every kind of music she is not a fan of hard rock metal music. She also loves to read stories. She mostly loves to read, romantic adventure stories, and also reads news on the web to keep herself updated about the current affairs. She also likes to write about current affairs, celebrities, and whatever is happening around her that she finds interesting.

Its summer season, a hot day of June, 45 degrees highest recorded a temperature of the day. Radhika has just returned from the office, it’s around 7:00 in the evening, she crashed into the bed after a hectic day at the office. She scored a little bad in weekly tests and got a bad review from her manager that has made her a little upset. After resting for an hour she gets up and enters the kitchen to prepare something for the dinner and was just going to plug her earphones as she always does while doing such unproductive tasks like doing dishes, cooking, and washing clothes.

Shit! She whispers with frustration, she had forgotten to charge her phone. She immediately runs to her room to get the charger from her bag but realizes that she had forgotten her charger in the office. Now, this makes her very upset as she doesn’t have any other source to listen to music. Standing there with disappointment for almost 30 seconds and suddenly there is a melodious voice singing “Kabhi Kabhi mere dil me khayaal aata hai” from the movie “Kabhi Kabhi”. And coincidentally this happens to be her favorite song of all time. She keeps quiet and listens to the voice and there is a widespread smile on her face as the song reaches to the end. And there he goes with the second song “Naina” from the movie Dangal, the boy from the adjacent building who happens to be singing while taking a bath. She keeps listening and start cooking her dinner. She is lying on the bed after finishing her dinner, the voice is still echoing in her head singing the songs, she starts to mutter the same songs and slowly fell asleep.

This routine goes on for three days, Radhika impatiently waits for the exact time so she could listen the boy singing and it’s not just songs that she loves, it’s the voice which is very intriguing to her. Now suddenly she felt like she knows someone in the city. It is the fourth day and Radhika is waiting in her kitchen like every other day for the voice but there was no song that day, she waited for almost an hour but no one sang that day. She didn’t cook in the disappointment and ordered food from the restaurant, .Finishes her dinner and plugs her earphones and fell asleep listing to the music on her phone.

The next day she kept thinking about the boy, what happened, is he going to sing tonight or not, is he sick or has he left the apartment or he simply went somewhere and will return today. She decides to talk to him if he returns today, and again there he was singing another melodious song while taking a bath at the exact time. He got stuck on a line like he forgot the lyrics, Radhika recognized the opportunity and completes the song by singing along, and when the boy listens Radhika completing his song he goes quite. Radhika waits for him to continue but he stays quiet, Radhika thinks she embarrassed him and he is being shy to sing the song further, so she starts the conversation, hey you are a good singer I have been listening to you for four days now and if I am not disturbing you can I ask your name. There is a silence for about 15 seconds then he goes “Rahul, My name is Rahul, what is yours?” there is a sweet smile on Radhika’s face while she replies “My name is Radhika”.

Rahul – Radhika! So what do you do other than listing to the people singing in their bathrooms?

Radhika – Smiles, and the answer “I am an intern in a media company”, and hopefully going to be a journalist one day. By the way, what do you do other than taking bath and singing in the bathroom?

Rahul – Smiles, me? I am a software engineer. I work with an MNC and write codes.

Radhika- So you are multi-talented, a singer and a programmer.

Rahul- talented, hmm, I don’t know about that, but yes I try to do both, one to earn my living and other for my own amusement and now for yours too.

Both smiles, this goes on for the next two days. Some conversations with two or three songs daily and then third day Rahul asks for Radhika’s phone number which she declines with a meeting proposal. She says let’s meet this weekend and then decide that whatever this is between us, we want to take this any further or not. Rahul agrees and the meeting is set for the coming Sunday which is after two days, in a nearby restaurant.

Now Radhika is waiting eagerly, having mixed feelings kind of excited, nervous, and A little afraid too. But the final day is here “the meeting day” Radhika reaches half an hour early. Her heart is beating faster than normal. She is a bit nervous and excited, eagerly waiting for Rahul. An hour passed, the second hour is gone third is also towards its last minutes. Nobody came, Rahul didn’t appear. Radhika leaves the restaurant in disappointment with a hundred questions in her mind. Why he didn’t come? What happened? If he didn’t want to meet, why did he ask for my number?

In the evening she waited at the exact time in the kitchen and even called his name in an inquiring tone but there was no reply and there was no Rahul. She went looking for him in other adjacent buildings. She inquired to people if there is someone named Rahul who lives in the building nobody knew about any Rahul. She spent the whole week with many questions in her head and then her training was completed and she was transferred to another branch in the city. She moved to the new apartment in New Delhi and moved on with her life.

It has been three months, and she has been designated as an assignment reporter which is actually her area of interest. She always loved stories and writing about community events and whatever interesting happening around her.

There is still some time to get her first assignment, meanwhile, she is helping her colleague with her assignment, which was, to find some interesting and true events or stories those were reported in local newspapers within the last ten years and to write them in their own style on their company’s newly launched blog page named “10 years stories”.

Radhika was going through old newspapers and reading stories and keeping notes of the ones she liked and then suddenly she froze, she was holding paper very close to her eyes, her eyes were wide opened and her skin looked pale, her heartbeat was raising constantly with every next line she was reading. The story looked similar to the recent events that happened with her, A new girl in a flat alone and a singing voice from the adjacent bathroom and then the boy disappeared and what surprised her more there was her old apartment’s address mentioned in the story and it was reported by an intern in that newspaper seven years earlier and there was more to this story. She started reading the story further with curiosity.

“There was a boy who lived in an apartment in the same building. The boy was a software engineer named Rahul and was an amateur singer who used to sing with a local band. He had a girlfriend, who he was planning to move in with, she used to live in the exact same apartment where Radhika lived. Rahul used to visit his girlfriend and sometimes he sang for her while she played guitar. Both seemed to be deeply in love. They decided to move in together after Rahul returns from his upcoming office trip. Everything was perfect until Rahul went to Bangalore on a 7 days office trip. But the project was completed a little sooner and Rahul returned one day earlier so he could surprise his girlfriend but everything shattered when he found her with another boy. She was cheating on him. He was heartbroken and he felt betrayed and just couldn’t take it he immediately ran away to his apartment. He cried the whole day and then hung himself from the ceiling fan the same night. Rahul died!”

Radhika just set there completely shocked with tears in her eyes she had mixed emotions about the whole situation, while she was shocked by the fact that she was talking to a ghost and on the other hand she wanted to empathize with a heartbroken boy who loved someone so deep that he couldn’t imagine his life without that person and he ended it.

Then she looked closely at the end of the story there was a signature of the girl who wrote this article seven years earlier, the story was signed under the name of “Radhika”. Now she became more curious and wanted to know more. so she called his ex-landlord and told him the whole story and asked him about the incident that happened seven years earlier. The landlord told her everything and said that there had lived many tenants in the same apartment but nobody heard any voice. Radhika thinks for some time and asked, “what was the name of Rahul’s girlfriend ? landlord said “Radhika” and it explained all. why only the girl who reported the story seven years ago or she could hear Rahul’s voice. The common thing among these three girls was their name “Radhika”.