After that dreadful conversation at lunch, Amira had consciously started avoiding Samreen. It was a busy afternoon at the office when Nabeel hurried past Amira’s cubicle to Kamal’s office. His expressions were grim and multiple creases stretched across his forehead. After a while, both Kamal and Nabeel came out of the office. Amira tried to focus on her work.
“In conference room, everyone,” said Kamal conclusively.
Amira grabbed her notebook and a pen and followed Kamal. Within minutes the whole team was in the conference room.
“A certain anomaly has come to light. This is the third instance of theft in the department. Whoever is involved in it is not one ordinary thief that snatches away valuable belongings like gold, money, gadgets etc. This is a business theft, the stealing of colleagues notes, important sheets, official documents.” he paused, glancing warily across the room.
“We are taking this matter seriously. There will be an official investigation. In the meanwhile if you suspect anyone, please come to me. I assure you your identity will stay confidential.”
The meeting concluded and Kamal left the room. Instantly hushed and loud chatter filled the place. Amira tried to eavesdrop on some of it.
Who could that be?
I am surprised this is happening in our department. Why didn’t I know about it before?
Do you suspect anyone?
“Oh yeah I do,” Amira thought.
There was no way Amira was going to rat on Samreen. Besides she didn’t even have a proof.
“Proof” she mouthed the word as her eyes widened. Her gaze was fixed on the camera in the conference room. “I know a way!” she almost screamed out loud. Rushing out of the room, she made her way to the IT department.
Mr. Hameed Raza who overlooked the department allowed her to come in.
“Sir. I have a request to ask of you.” she said politely.
“Yes?” Hameed asked dully.
“I would like to access footage of print room camera from here.” she said holding her breath.
“I am afraid we do not allow that, kid. First years do not have the privilege.” his tone was adamant.
DAMMIT! What am I gonna do now?
“Thank you Mr. Hameed. I appreciate your help.” she said and left the room.
She knew what to do. The only person she was at talking terms was Sidra, the third female in department. She had been in the department for 3 years working as a Public Relations Officer.
But how do I tell her why I need her favor? Think Amira, think!
She approached Sidra and asked her for a moment alone.
“Hey, what’s the matter Amira?” she asked with a pleasant smile.
“Actually I need a little favor. I have lost my printer card, I just wanted to see the print room’s camera footage to see if I left it there accidentally. But you know, Mr. Hameed won’t let first years access. Can you help me please?” Amira tried an innocent expression.
“Oh yes sure, just give me a minute.” She went back to her desk and locked her PC. Smiling she joined Amira and they went to the IT room.
“Mr. Hameed, please I would like to access the print room footage.” This time it was Sidra.
He glanced at Sidra and then at me.
“Very well. What date and time?” he asked scrolling through the files on the screen. Amira gave the date and time she thought Samreen might have gone to the print room. This was the time before her first meeting with Murad.
“You lost your ID so long ago?” Sidra asked surprised.
“Uh yes…I got the emergency duplicate for the time being. But I will eventually need the original one.” she said. Amira was regretting all the lies she had to tell but then she thought: Investigators and detectives commonly lie to get information. Don’t they?
“Here.” said Hameed pointing at the screen.
Amira watched the clip closely. The printer room was empty. Few seconds passed and a girl came in. Amira tried to recognize her but she wasn’t Samreen. The girl gave a print command and waited. Suddenly another girl entered the room. Amira gasped. It was Samreen! And she was holding something in her right hand! Amira drew closer to the screen. Sidra watched her confusingly.
Samreen made her way to the corner where the dustbin lay. She threw the pile of papers in the bin, talked briefly to the other girl and left the room. Amira’s felt her eyes burning in their sockets.
“Can you please forward slowly?” she asked.
Amira kept an intent gaze on the screen. She wanted to make sure that no one else dumped any papers in the bin after that time till the time Amira retrieved them because from such pixelated screen she could not tell if that was infact her draft. The clip passed until Amira appeared and she asked Hameed to pause and play. Surely no one came near the bin in that time until she took the draft and went out of the room.
“There! I gave the print command and left the room without my card!” she exclaimed pointing at the screen. “I will check from the ID office once again. Thank you so much Mr. Hameed and Sidra.”
“Not a problem.” she said. Mr. Hameed waved his hand indicating it’s nothing a big deal. They left the room.
Amira almost hopped on her way back. She didn’t know what she was so excited about. Maybe she felt as if she had solved a crime like a mini-Shelock Holmes moment.
Ugh! Look at you. This was nothing compared to Sherlock Holmes. How stupid of you to compare yourself to him!
She face-palmed herself and went to her cubicle.
This was beginning of an adventure. A revenge was on the way.