Question Mark

Time: Mid Afternoon; 3PM
What: A light flashed on the bottom screen. Interestingly, the message had two question marks.

Aryan was engrossed in checking the new laptop that he has just received. He thought that the things might be turning around for him. And this might have just been the start of it all. The circumstances still seemed quite unfavorable to him, but well, everyone has to start somewhere and perhaps this was the start that he had always been waiting for. He was trying to get the laptop to fully functional by overloading it with applications that he doesn’t even need. He was just like that, he wants to keep everything handy and never use any. Because well, he is good at being lazy. One might find him busy in front of his system but busy sleeping. Though he would be complaining about people walking all around and not letting him sleep.

Neil hovered over Aryan who seemed to be engrossed in his laptop, still stuck at trying to figure out why some of the software wasn’t getting installed on his laptop. He was so engrossed that he didn’t notice the blinking chat icon. Siri had messaged him a while back to ask him to inform her when they would be leaving for lunch so that she could join as well. He checked the status of the applications that have progressed halfway and while he eyed at the corner of the screen in front of him to find that it was almost past their lunch time. He immediately replied to the blinking chat window that they were set to have lunch. He finally shut the laptop and decided to investigate the cause for the applications that were refusing to install after they have had their lunch.

Neil was holding his trademarked blue box which seems to be working just fine without breaking a sweat. While Siri who already has a strict diet is trying to cut it more down. The lunch box in her hand is so small that it is not even visible. That being said, she still feels that she has eaten a lot from that tiny box of hers. While Aryan never carried a lunch box after he got into high school, he still prefers to never carry one. It will be quite bizarre for him when one day he does decide to take one. The reason for him not carrying one is unexplainable, he would probably say that he wants his hands to be free and other baseless reasons. The time taken for the lunch is quite less compared to the waiting the other two have to do for Aryan to get his order. They are kind enough to wait for Aryan to come back with his plate of a standard order, the same one he eats continuously close to a year unless something new comes up in the canteen that he likes. But in retrospect, trying out new things isn’t Aryan’s best forte with the past bad experiences that he had had, wherein he thought it would be better to change things up and tried something new and that quite didn’t work out well, which actually was a disaster. That sort of happened a couple too many times and since then he just sticks to his routine which doesn’t blow up in his face.

The lunch routine has two things always done diligently in succession every afternoon. One was taking a walk around the office campus and the other was having a drink after the walk. However, it wasn’t a hard or a soft beverage, but it was a juice to wash down the food, per say. This tradition of inspecting the campus and paying a visit to the juice counter was started long back keeping in mind the health perspective at the top. Walking was a way to burn the family packs that each of them were carrying except may be of course Neil, who doesn’t go out of shape like ever no matter what. After a refreshing walk and drink, Neil, Aryan, and Siri settled at their seats as the AC run cold. The decrease in the number of people on their floor was causing the imbalance in the temperature. It is either too cold or too hot. The perfect temperature is yet to be achieved when the number of people become consistent. As they settled in their seats and logged in their systems, Aryan wasted no time in pinging Siri. The message that was sent was quite distinctive and it just had two question marks. Bizzare. She understood what it meant and though she didn’t have to she immediately looked at the bottom right corner of the screen as a reflex to find the time just ticking at 15:00 hours.

It was time to seize the badminton court. There was just one court in the campus and it always had people playing even though the court was architecturally not built properly, and one might even say it was unplanned and the someone is very true as well. However, this particular time had the least people and sometimes none, mostly because it was the lunchtime and there were not many people who would play immediately after lunch. Like who would? The ones who don’t like to wait would, apparently. So, it was decided that it was the ideal time to play the game instead of going in late and waiting for hours to play a game for 5 min and then wait again. It was quite a tiring process, to wait since playing didn’t take much of the time anyway. Siri, Neil, and Aryan walked to the court and settled themselves in the game. It was an odd number to play a game of four. But then there came she.

( To be continued … )
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The Fifteenth Hour Featured