“So you’re telling me that there’s been a break-in at the chemistry department? Thurman ma’am, you cannot be serious about this!”
“Hello… hello? I can’t hear you over the phone sir!”
“Am I audible?”
Don’t you say it. Just don’t. Left without any response, it is only natural that Kanakasabapathy’s primal instincts should take control.
“CRs please respond, umm, I mean, Miss Thurman, are you there?”
“I’m able to hear you now sir, loud and clear. Ok anyway, a security guard reported a broken door in the second floor of the chemistry department at around 7 PM this evening, it has only been chaos since then.”
“Madam, do you by any chance happen to know the exact room concerned? I hope it is nowhere close to the CHEM69 lab.”
A moment of silence follows.
The conversation proceeds, eventually.
“Sorry sir, poor signal, had to bring my phone closer to the WiFi. But yes, it happens to be the very same lab you were talking about. Any reason you spoke of the particular lab sir?”
Kanakasabapathy is left gawking over the phone momentarily. He regains composure, and replies, “Madam, you gave me a mini heart-attack!”
“Are you sure we both are talking about the same lab? The CHEM69 lab has a historical significance for our college. Basically, it’s the hub of all important activity, research or otherwise.” His attempts were duly noticed, but Miss Thurman promptly brushed them aside with an intense hmmm.
“Since initial reports are yet to come in, we can only speculate. So what do you think is the motive for the break-in sir?”
Kanakasabapathy takes a moment to ponder, and responds, “Madam, was there any construction work going on nearby?”
“No sir, why?”
“We are currently in the process of studying the crystalline properties of some beryllium compound in the lab. It happens to be very “valuable”. Anyway, all the end semester examination question papers are also stored safely inside this very lab. So could it be students breaking in to steal…”
Sigh, he really thinks it’s worth the effort. Why would I break in to steal question papers when I could bribe the lab assistants to leak it?
Just as he is about to complete that, fateful static drops in and interrupts him. After a moment, he continues.
“Breaking in to steal the papers?”
“Yes madam, there is a high chance that students are involved. They will stoop to any level to secure marks. But not to worry madam, I will make sure these students face a tough time in the department once they are caught.”
“Sir, have you considered any other possibilities? I, Kanaka Thurman, have been known to be very student-friendly, I feel that we should consider other scenarios as well.”
She is indeed student-friendly, and is also known to display her affection to the students by referring to them as ‘pa’ and ‘ma’. A staunch custodian of culture (lest it goes away somewhere), she strives to be instrumental in student life.
“Yes madam of course, of course, I also think that we should consider other possibilities.”
A long silence follows.
“So, I can clear one thing. No one except a few high level staff, including myself,” he whispered, “…are aware of the existence of the advanced research equipment section located inside lab 69. Here we grow many potted plants and do other important research. This laboratory houses state of the art research equipment, and all advanced research takes place here on a daily basis. Recently, we were working on a biochemical project, it is quite interesting madam, we should meet up one day. I can tell you more about it.”
That was smooth Mr. Pathy, I will give you that.
“That is out of the question…”
“…The laboratory being a motive, I mean. Since you say it has very limited access, nobody could have known about that right?”
For the record, he actually tried. His tone grew sombre.
“I think this might have been an instance of institutional espionage madam. NUT-T has been ranked 9th in the country. Technological advancements in the CHEM69 lab have played a key role in this ranking as much as any other quoted factors did. So I wouldn’t put it past TiT&S (Trichy Institute of Technology and Science) to send in spies to steal valuable research documents from our prestigious lab.”
“Hmm, yes sir. It seems very probable. Very. Probable.”
“Ok sir, we will get to know more once it has been investigated. I have to leave now.”
“Sure madam, have a good night!”
Kanakasabapathy seemed reluctant to end the call, but he was forced to.
That was entertaining, considering they have no idea what the whole thing is actually about.