Twitter user @OrangeMug has been my obsession for a while. I had stumbled upon her profile when she posted a picture of the first rains six months back.
The beautifully clicked shot intrigued me even more because it was also the view from my balcony. It did not take me too long to notice that @OrangeMug was Priya, the eccentric girl who lives on the 9th floor of my building. I live on the 8th. Across the building. Her balcony opens up across my balcony, and she looks really pretty early mornings drinking her cup of coffee, with a cigarette in her hand. She smokes a lot, but she still manages to smell great. We’ve crossed paths a few times, you see.
Priya does not leave her house that often. I have monitored her online activities, her tweets and her Instagram feed, and whenever she posts she is planning to visit the Starbucks next door, I casually wander in too. She does not know I know that she likes to paint. She has a beautiful hand painted kettle on her window. The kettle has a money plant in it, and she changes the water every alternate days.
Priya is a freelance writer. Her parents divorced when she was a child and her mother moved to the US where Priya did her schooling. She came back to India to be with her father during her vacation and decided to stay back. Her father, as I know now, is a real estate baron, has given this apartment to his daughter along with two domestic helps who cook and clean for her. She has befriended this cat, whom she brings up to her house sometimes.
Sometimes, when I see her with her phone in her hand, I refresh her timeline just to see what she is tweeting about. Her tweets bring a smile to my face. Always.
I know her routine like the back of my hand.
I last saw her two weeks back. I saw her walk out to the balcony, look towards the street and walk back inside. I then saw her hurriedly walk towards the street, in her blue shorts and pink t-shirt which she wears only when she is sleeping. Her last tweet was, “why would they do that to me? I am their only child!” She has not updated her twitter since then.
I got worried. I called up the cops.
The police arrived and looked at me as if I am a mad person.
“Mr. Sharma, do you realise what you are talking about?” said Inspector Yadav.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Priya has been dead since 1998. Her dead body was found under mysterious circumstances on the outskirts of the city. She was wearing blue shorts and pink t-shirt. We had strong suspicions on her parents, but the case was closed because of lack of evidence,”
He has got to be kidding, right? I saw her every day for last 6 months!
“Mr. Sharma, that house you are talking about has been sealed since the day we closed investigation,” Inspector Yadav said.
I opened my Twitter account to find the profile. “@OrangeMug does not exist” it said.
I must have gone mad.
That night, hoping against hope, I opened her profile again.
It was back. This time, it had only one tweet.
“Gymkhana locker no. 198.”