Euphoria is addictive. When one reaches and emotional high about something, logic often goes out the window. When it ends though, one comes crashing down to their senses and tends to regret the decisions made in the euphoric state. Ashu was caught up in one such mania when he decided to stay back at work but when he came to, he kept thinking, “How could I have been so naive? Thinking I could spend a night in the office and go on the dark web?!! This isn’t a movie and I am certainly not a hero who breaks the rules. The dark web is not a place to mess around. Everyone knows the urban legends where innocent people go on the dark web out of curiosity and end up getting stalked, robbed or killed. Imagine if I had used my office computer to access the dark web and the IT team had tracked it! There was a severe warning coming my way! This news has really upset me and that’s probably why I got so carried away. My judgment is clouded and I am not thinking straight”, he told himself. “It’s best I go home before I attempt to rob a bank or something. “
Feeling foolish about all this back and forth he booked himself a cab. Then took the elevator back to the ground floor and snuck out of the fire exit. He felt sheepish throughout the entire cab ride and the driver’s well-built body and hard-set face only deepened his uneasiness. Back home he fixed himself a light meal, grabbed a beer, slumped in his chair and looked up episodes of Corporate Whales hoping to get his mind off things. He scrolled through various episodes of his favourite TV series in which aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life pitch their business models to a panel of investors and persuade them to invest money in their idea. Watching these episodes and seeing the underdogs achieve their dreams always fills him with hope. He began looking for one episode that he had not seen. He found one and clicked on it. As the theme music began to play a tall, thin man with thick glasses walked in. The voiceover said, “Our next bait facing the Whales is Siraj Apte hoping to obtain investment for his innovative technology. The name felt familiar to Ashu. As soon as the camera rested on the contestant’s face he instantly recognized him as his old friend from college. Like most people, he had lost touch with many of his friends. He watched the episode with keen interest. As it turned out, the day had been very beneficial for his friend. He was able to get an investment of one million dollars and walked out very happy.
Ashu had no idea that Siraj was in America let alone know about his business. He looked at the description to see the date on which the episode had aired. The date was three years ago, which surprised him even more. He quickly Googled to find out what his friend was up to these days. A bit of research revealed his friend won various collegiate entrepreneurship competitions. He was doing very well for himself these days and his company was valued at around 100 million dollars. He felt happy and proud that his friend had made it big.
Being a gangly but intelligent boy with thick glasses who constantly corrected peoples grammatical errors was no easy feat. Siraj constantly got beaten up by pubescent boys eager to flaunt their newly gained strength all through highschool. He was pushed, shoved, flicked poked and beaten up just because he was not one of the largest boys around. The abuse continued in college, though it was more mental than physical. Although not the most handsome or brawny or even one with the best social skills Siraj still possessed a brilliant mind and a pure soul. He was always engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and gladly served as a teacher for all the students who came to him for help. His shaky confidence in himself would be restored when he would see the results each semester and see his name as the topper.
Ashu remembered one instance very clearly. In their third year, a group of hooligans who took the most pleasure in Siraj’s misery befriended him with the sole intention of taking his notes and essentially getting him to make their projects. Ashu who was on amicable terms with Siraj had seen this development and had told him about their intentions. However, Siraj who liked the increased attention brushed the matter off citing humans’ ability to change over time. During that time the college had revised its drugs and narcotics policy due to an increase in the number of students caught smoking and destroying property or getting themselves seriously injured. The college administration had vowed to catch people using and supplying drugs and suspend them.
One rainy afternoon the authorities were conducting a surprise check of the hostel rooms. While the search was being carried out Siraj stood outside his room with Ashu while the men went about their business. Siraj was not too bothered as he had nothing to hide and was breezily chatting away with Ashu when the authorities discovered a few needles and syringes and a big stash of weed in a plastic bag stored under Siraj’s mattress. This discovery had shaken Siraj as well as the authorities who couldn’t believe these items had been found in such an academically bright and dedicated students room. Siraj went through a tough time emotionally, he locked himself up in his room for the next two days and coming out only to plead in front of the authorities of his innocence. Ashu had tried to support Siraj as best as he could during this crisis, taking time off his classes to make sure that he was okay. He also was successful in convincing the authorities that Siraj was framed by one of the boys who bullied him. He personally helped in conducting an investigation in which the real culprit was found out, who had hidden the drugs in Siraj’s room to frame him.
The day he was acquitted of the accusation Siraj gave Ashu a big hug, and with teary eyes, he said, “Thank you so much Ashu. You have no idea how much what you have done means to me. If I was suspended, my entire career would have been ruined. Today I am nothing, but I promise you if you ever need me, do not hesitate to ask. No matter where I am I will always be there for you doing, whatever I can. I am deeply indebted to you and I will never forget this.”
Ashu still had Siraj’s email id although there was a slim chance that the account would be active yet he wondered in the midst of his problems he could use a friend’s support. He thought should I message him?
Choose your answer to proceed
Should Ashu email Siraj?