Heads Up: The True Story Of Why I Quit Journalism

Finally, I am strong enough to reveal the truth. This incident took place in the offices of a leading newspaper in the city. None of what follows in fiction. Unfortunately, and gruesomely, every word of it is true. This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I am a little apprehensive about sharing this incident with you all, but then, it’s about time I set the record straight and confess to everyone why I left journalism.

I’ll try to report exactly what happened, objectively and without any emotional bias. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m going to tell you exactly what happened. Trust me, this is scary…

It was 2 in the morning, and the office was deserted. I was on the night shift, and had just finished a satisfying smoke and was walking up the old staircase to my workplace. There wasn’t a soul anywhere in the huge office. The only sounds I could hear were those of the air conditioner clanking up a notch and the occasional roar of a speed devil out on the road. There was a chill in the night air, and I hugged myself for warmth and entered the office. If I stood still and strained my ear, I could hear the footfalls of the people walking on the pavement outside. I glanced at my watch and decided it was high time I packed up and went home for the day. Being on the Internet/technology desk of a newspaper isn’t a comfort. More than anything, it’s a hindrance. Unfortunately for me, this newspaper was widely read, and so I had to stay back till two in the morning to give those insomniac readers the latest update of who killed whom in the world.

I returned to my desk and started to close all my open windows in the computer, switching off the AC and the muted television, where the cricket match of the day was being shown again. As I heard the satiating jingle of windows being turned off, I switched the monitor off and picked up my bag, and stopped…

My bag seemed exceptionally heavy. I didn’t remember bringing any books to work and I distinctly remember the bag being very light. Now, I noticed that there was a slight bulge in the bag’s midsection also. My bag is one of those horizontal zipper bags that require to be slung across the shoulder. These kinds of bags are great for carrying books, but are woefully inadequate for anything slightly bulky like water bottles and tiffin boxes. They stand out like a pregnant belly. There was a similar bulge in my bag. I was confused.

I looked down at the bag again and placed it back on the desk. Frowning, I opened the zipper and looked inside. I almost screamed out…

There, lying in a pool of dirty papers was the most hideous looking head I’ve ever seen. And the fact that there was a HEAD in my bag almost made me faint. It looked up at me with this horrendous expression fixed on it. I couldn’t speak, my mouth was dry. I wiped the sweat off my head and looked around to see if there was anyone who was watching me. There wasn’t a soul…

Now, I’m a pretty rational guy, and my mind quickly switched on the rationale. I started thinking of how this head could’ve gotten in my bag. Obviously, someone must’ve placed it there when I wasn’t at my desk. Now, there were only two instances when I was out of my desk – once for dinner and once for my habitual two a.m. smoke. I could rule out dinner, because the office was packed more tightly than a circus at eight.

So, obviously, someone had put the head in my bag at two, when I was out smoking. This made me feel a bit frightened, as I was sure that there wasn’t anyone in the office!

Or was there…?

I felt goose bumps rising on my arms all over. A streak ran down my spine. “Relax,” I told myself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts!”

“Yeah,” replied my brain. “But there’re serial killers and murderer and psychos!”

Now, I felt really scared. I am a well-built guy, and I could hold my own against anyone looking for a fight, but the thought of defending myself against a crazed lunatic who’d just dumped a frikking head in my bag?
Well, I frankly preferred the quiet life…

The phone rang on my desk, suddenly and shrilly, making me jump put of my skin. The sound of the phone seemed unnaturally loud in the quiet office, and scarier with a head in my bag! I approached it gingerly and picked it up. I could hear my heart beating against my chest.

“H-hello…?” I said.

“Nikhil?” came a gruff voice that I couldn’t recognize.

“Yeah, who’s this?” I demanded, slightly strung out, hoping that the person, whoever it was, wouldn’t notice the tension in it.

“Are you alone?” the voice asked.

“What?” I asked, now scared. “Who is this?”

“Do you have the head?” the voice said.

I was terrified, and a bit angry. “Who the hell is this? And what’s the meaning of this sick joke? Whose head is this?”

“Joke? Mr. Nikhil, I assure you this is no joke. Didn’t you find my note?”

“What note? Who the fuck are you?

“You don’t recognize me, do you?” he asked.

“Obviously not, asshole!”

“Check the note next to your computer. That head is mine,” he said, and the line got cut.

I held the dead receiver next to my ear for a long time with sweat running down my face, and finally put it down. I looked next to my computer and found a yellow post-it stuck on the side of the monitor. Why hadn’t I noticed it earlier? Curiously, I pulled it out and read what was written on it. And I almost fell down…

I looked at the head in my bag and back to the note I was holding in my hand, and vowed never to do night shifts again. I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Nikhil,” the note began, “please find the head of cabbage in your bag. Keep it in a fridge and bring it tomorrow. I don’t have a fridge at home. How was dinner? Thanks. Ranjit.”

That asshole colleague of mine didn’t even tell me! Imagine finding a head of cabbage in your bag when you least expect it! I am freaked out…

I resigned the next day. I prefer the quiet life. Without heads.

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54 thoughts on “Heads Up: The True Story Of Why I Quit Journalism

  1. Wow!! a photo of the funny guy himself!! Not looking scary though to fit the caption.

    LOL 😀 After many posts by you I have laughed out loud today!! good one 🙂

  2. Is that u in the pic? u didnt really quit for this reason :)..good one..cabbage head…hehehheheheh..wait till u come to Office tomorrow;)

  3. I was expecting something silly in the end so I just hung on and followed the narrative. I didn’t guess it would be cabbage though, so you had me there. Hopefully, this is not the real reason to quit your Journalism job 🙂

  4. That was good Nikhil. Not only are you a good writer, you can pen a great story. Whether it’s the truth or not is not the question, it’s how you built up the suspense, created the atmosphere, described the thoughts, and then the twist at the end!

  5. Thankfully I guess in the beginning that how this story was going to end. 😛
    And your pic seems to be taken using a webcam. What were you doing? Striptease?? 😛

  6. I hate horror stories!!!! and once you start reading, you jus cant ignore it too. Thats exactly what happened to me now, its 2.40 am buddy, 2.40am…..u scared the shit out of me!!!! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and cabbage….seriously??? I wudve really had Ranjits head in my bag the next day, if I were u !!!

  7. @Raji
    Hehehe!

    @Reema
    Hahaha! Thanks! Glad to know that!
    Welcome back! 😛

    @Xylene
    Haha! 😀

    @Sagarone
    Welcome to MirrorCracked! 😀
    LOL… Yeah, thats what this is! 😀

    @Varun
    LOL.. the pic was taken yesterday, just before I posted this!

    @Bhu
    Yeah, that’s me in the pic! 😀

    @InsaneTwit
    Hmmm, simley fest..! 😀

    @Smallstar
    Thanks!

    @Vishesh
    😛

    @Kaddu
    Hehe! thanks!

    @Apar
    Hehehhe! No that was a particularly disgusting farewell gift!

    @La Vida Loca
    Yup!

    @Dinesh
    Hahaha! Glad you stuck around till the end!
    No, I was just sensationalizing the facts!

    @Laksh
    Anytime!

    @Arvind
    Hehehe!

    @Nita
    Thanks a lot!
    It’s a sensationalized truth, though…

    @Rekha
    Haha! Wouldn’t you?? 😀

    @Amit
    Heheheh!
    It was taken from a digicam by myself… And no, it wasn’t striptease! 😛

    @Vimal
    Hahahaha!!
    Aren’t you glad you read it? Now you’ll be dreaming about cabbages! 😀

    @Chirax
    Haha! Thanks man! I’ll write the second one any day now!

    @Sakhi
    LOL… 😀

  8. Nikhil:
    So what you are basically telling you is that the reason for you quitting your job was that a guy called Ranjit gave you head at 2 am, and,too, an unsolicited one? I know, many people can’t take it from guys…. Would you have left your job if Ranjeeta had given it??

  9. @Lively
    Thanks! 🙂

    @Rambodoc
    If Ranjeeta had given me head at 2 am, I’d still be working there! Unfortunately, there were never any women on night shifts! 😀

  10. First the pic scared me..and then the mention of head..
    Yeah right- you duped me once more..I thought for starters you are serious and someone framed by putting a head in your bag! (too much of bollywood it seems….)

    How silly and dumb I feel now macha..

    EAT the CABBAGE!! I am still shocked,annoyed and feel silly…

  11. Senor Nikhil…

    when are u in chennai ????? me would loveeeeeeeeeeeeeee to know!!! *evil grin* [ not evil by nature, got that from one of the Aparna’s.. i swear it!! ask them… lolz]

    ya, so wen are u here???? do tell!!! 😀

  12. and man, u left a job cos of cabbage???? yikeS!!

    N: walks into a new company for interview
    interviewer: reviews cv, looks up wtih a ?? look
    So, nikhil, why did you leave your job at xyz pape?

    N : ohh, errr, well, u see sir…
    there was this head in my bag

    I: Head, care to elaborate????
    are u an ostrich? did u put ur head into the bag cos u were scared of something???

    N: No sir, it wasnt me.. it was actually for my friend Ranjit….

    I: what head are u talking abt???[breaking into a sweat with a get to the pint already tone]

    N:err, actually, it was a head of cabbage sir

    I: get outttttttttttttttttttttttt!!! :d

  13. @Machi
    Come on! 🙂
    I hope you’re not too annoyed! 🙂

    @Aaarti
    LOL… Ok, I’m gonna be in Chennai soon… Will let you know! 🙂
    And ROFL at the conversation! 😀

  14. 😆 while I start to read itself i know that u gonna make something funny 😛 that’s correct.
    Cool post. I really enjoyed it. gr8

  15. @FanOfMC
    Welcome to MirrorCracked! 😀
    And if MC in your name means MirrorCracked, then I’m honored! 🙂

    @Teky
    Haha! Thanks man! 😀

    @Balu
    Hehehe! Trust me, it is! 😀

    @Ms Cris
    They should face it HEAD on..! 😀

  16. Journalism is a great profession where you have the power to control the ideology of the majority public! Journalists can rule with their words, and not swords!
    Neways, you resigned because of this incident really?!? 😛 Unbelievable..

  17. Wow. Now I know the real story behind you quitting on journalism. But hey, I have been in the field for more than five years and I haven’t found a head of cabbage in my bag (touchwood!!) till now. So it can’t be the profession, eh?
    Maybe you just gotta find less weird friends 😛

  18. I was imagining serial killer X from one of the most spine chilling game last year. But the end kinda ruined it for me 😀 Was expecting a duel b/w you and serial killer X.

  19. My god my god!!! U do have a strange sense of humour…nice story…would love to know the real reason for quitting journalism:-P

  20. @Ameya
    Haha! No, I was just sensationalizing the fact, that’s all! 🙂

    @WIAN
    Hehe! Yup!! 🙂

    @Anu
    Haha! Gotcha! 😉

    @Mojo Jojo
    Dude, you probably know better than anyone that this might be true! 😉

    @Dinu
    Nooo!!!
    Don’t go! Please come back!! 🙂

    @ T
    Hahaha! Wouldn’t that be fun! 🙂

    @Bina
    Thanks.. I quit due to international pressures! 😉

  21. Geeesssh!!! A cabbage made you resign ..and you call yourself a well built guy!! Geeeeesssshh Niks – I didn’t expect this from you! 😛

  22. oh my! you almost got me! haha. brilliant story (*story*). Didn’t realize until I saw reema’s comment that that’s you in the picture. very apt :p

  23. boooo…I thought you was gonna tell about some bhoot when I reached reading the sound narration..But honestly I expected the end to be humorous as you are that kind of a guy.. Take it as a compliment..Its easy to make people laugh,but not smile..And you made me smile 🙂 Kudos..Keep writing..

  24. xcuse me,i’m suing u ,u almost gave me a heart attack !

    Ps:i’m catchin up on all ur posts today 🙂 so commenting like crazy ! 🙂 RESPOND esle u r DEAD

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