The story, "The Mystery of the Cyber Friend", is woven around a schoolgirl. The plot of the lesson brings out the warning to use the Internet safely without inviting troubles to ourselves. The character 'Shree' is the protagonist of the story.
Shree lives with her parents in an apartment in Katpadi, Vellore.  Her parents were working: her mother in a  jewellery shop, and her father was a taxi driver. Shree was their only child, and they loved her. Her parents wished her to learn to work on a computer because they had both worked in blue-collar positions. As a result, Shree learned how to use a computer.
Shree personally liked to work on a computer. Shree's parents were happy to see their daughter using a computer to learn. Shree spent much of her time studying and using the computer because both of her parents worked.
Shree chatting at home.jpg
Shree with her computer

Days passed by. Shree got used to handling the computer in a better way. She spent time working on her computer regularly. Using her computer, she started collecting information for all her school projects; and she used it to send emails too. So, it has become a routine of Shree's life to spend time on the computer every day.

Shree's aunt stays along with her family. Everyone in Shree's house used to call her Akka. Shree's aunt spends most of her time in front of the television. She was fond of watching old movies. She was much addicted to the television that she sometimes sleeps while watching it.
Since both her mother and father were working, Shree was taken care of by her aunt. She always prepares hot dosas stuffed with spicy noodles for Shree every evening while returning home from school. Shree would enjoy her delicious food offered by her aunt during the evenings.
Shree's aunt making food for her.jpg
Shree's aunt preparing food for her (For illustration purpose only)
Shree would spend some time playing games after eating her evening tiffin. Shree, a modern-day teenager, considers the game her aunt plays with stones and shells to be an old-fashioned one. Shree play games on her computer.
Shree loves playing computer games. Shree uses her computer to collect information for her studies and to play games. During her free time, Shree uses her computer to chat with her school mates. She would return home, eat her tasty evening tiffin and tea cooked by her aunt, and began chatting with her school friends through the net.
Shree chatting with her friends.jpg
Shree chatting with her friends
Shree and her friends would discuss among themselves their routine activities every day. Shree became a member of this 'Friends net' two months ago, on her thirteenth birthday.

One day, as usual, Shree texted her friends that she had tea with more sugar that evening, to which one of her friends responded that she says the same thing every day. Shree also mentioned about her delicious aunt-prepared dosa, saying, "And I also got mutton flavoured noodles with my dosa." Another friend of Shree started teasing her again, texting that Shree never discusses anything other than eating.
Shree's favourite food.jpg
Shree's favourite food

Her friends' remarks on Shree angered her. Shree decides to break their relationship because they teased her.
Shree in a dpressed state.jpg
Shree's friends bullying her on net
There is a feature on the internet that allows you to accept friend requests or 'unfriend' them if you wish to block them. In an angry outburst, Shree blocked their contact to avoid their relationship, but she later regretted it because she missed them.
Shree blocked her friends on net.jpg
Shree blocked her friends' contact
Shree decided to accept her friends again and apologise for blocking their contact because she felt unhappy for ignoring them. When she was about to apologise, she got a friend request from someone unfamiliar.
The new friend's identity reflected a girl's name Chaitra. The profile photo looked like a movie star. Shree was impressed by the attractive profile photo, and the girl in the picture was that of Shree's age. These reasons made Shree to accept the friend's request. With a single click, Shree and the so-called Chaitra had become friends.

Shree's new friend began texting her right away. She started by asking Shree if she had many friends, to which Shree answered that she had lost a few of them that day. She also used a sad-faced emoticon to convey her depressed state.
Chaitra responded to Shree again. She stressed more on having valuable friends than having more friends. Chaitra also made her feel at ease by focusing on her relationship with Chaitra. She concentrated on strengthening their relationship further. Shree liked the way Chaitra texted her and enjoyed the messages. Chaitra's texts and commitment to friendship impressed her.
Shree then began to inquire about Chaitra's school. When Shree asked about Chaitra's school, Chaitra replied that it was close to her school. Shree was taken aback, thinking how Chaitra knew about her school's location. Shree asked her the same question right away as to how did she know about it?.
Chaitra's reply to Shree's question was much confusing. She said that she was aware of Shree's school because it was close to hers. Shree asked the right question but was puzzled by Chaitra's answer. Chaitra didn't answer her correctly. It was unclear if Chaitra had already seen Shree near her school or had learned about her school's details from the internet.

Shree was overjoyed and messaged Chaitra to meet because their schools were so close, but Chaitra didn't respond about meeting near their schools. She said 'Yes,' but her focus was once again on building a friendship bond. She texted Shree that they would be best friends forever, showing Chaitra's intention to build intimacy with Shree.
As Shree was getting ready for school the next day, she decided to look up to her nearest school(s). As Chaitra said, she started searching for schools around but could not find any. Only during that time, Shree then slowly recalled that there were no schools near her school.
Shree's school.jpg
Shree's school

Shree was certain that Chaitra's words were not true about the school's location, but she didn't care about it. Chaitra was different from her previous friends because she was impressed by Chaitra's unforgettable, impressive words. She was delighted to have Chaitra as a friend.
Shree happy about her new friend.jpg
Shree happy about her new friend

As usual, Shree returned home from school. Her aunt made a special evening tiffin of Shree's favourite: chilli chicken noodles but Shree skipped her tiffin as she wanted to talk to Chaitra.

When Shree's aunt asked why she was skipping her tiffin, she explained that it was due to her hectic schoolwork.

Shree's aunt accepted her words and asked her to continue with her studies without having tiffin. Meanwhile, she informed Shree that she would have a short nap.
Shree told her aunt that she was going to do her schoolwork, but Shree didn't do that. Instead, after her aunt had gone to sleep, she opened her computer and prepared to have a chat with Chaitra by being online. She was expecting a message from Chaitra.

As expected, she received a message from Chaitra. Chaitra started to type. She addressed her as a friend and inquired, "How are you today?". Shree was happy about her new friend's message as she awaited to chat with her friend Chaitra.

Shree told Chaitra that she had skipped her tiffin. When Chaitra inquired why she had missed her evening tiffin, Shree answered that she wanted to converse with Chaitra. Shree also told Chaitra that she had just finished her tea and that too in a hurry.
Shree Chatting with Chaitra.jpg
Shree Chatting with Chaitra

Even though Chaitra had been a day's friend to Shree, her awe-inspiring and influencing messages prompted Shree to engage in conversation with her.
During Chaitra and Shree's chat, Chaitra suddenly requested a selfie photo of Shree. She also asked for Shree's phone number to call and chat with her, to which Shree responded very sadly that she does not have a camera phone and therefore cannot send her selfie. Chaitra had not stopped there. She told Shree that Chaitra had an old phone and could give it to her.

Shree had long wished for a mobile phone with a camera. As a result, Chaitra's proposal had an immediate impact on Shree's reaction. "Where shall we meet?" she inquired immediately.
Shree, a thirteen-year-old teenager, had no idea what would happen if she met an unknown person. Still, she believed Chaitra. When Chaitra asked Shree to meet her at the railway station alone, Shree replied without thinking about her safety. When Shree asked when they should meet, Chaitra said they could meet when the Bengaluru train arrives at the station.
The story does not explain why Chaitra asked Shree to come alone or why she requested to meet her at the railway station after the arrival of the Bengaluru train. If Chaitra's school were closer to Shree's, she would have been able to meet her there. All was still shrouded in mystery.
Shree had just finished up a chat with Chaitra. Her aunt had awakened from her sleep by this time and entered Shree's room to clean it. She was shocked to see Shree in front of the computer and inquired about what she was doing there despite having the hectic homework to be completed that she had previously told her about.

Shree replied that she had a chat with her friend and told her aunt about Chaitra. She showed her Chaitra's profile photo, introducing her as Shree's new friend.
Shree introducing Chaitra to her aunt.jpg
Shree introducing Chaitra to her aunt (For illustration purpose only)
Shree's aunt was surprised when she saw Shree's profile photo. The reason was that it was a photograph of a movie star named "Madhoo." Shree's aunt enquired about Chaitra again, wanting to make sure it was her friend because she thought it was a photo of an actress. Shree refused to consider the facts told by her aunt. She disagreed with her aunt, adamant that it was Chaitra.
She also told her that Madhoo was of the same age as Shree's aunt and that this was not the latest age photo of Chaitra, as Shree says. Shree's aunt was so confident about the profile picture to be of actress Madhoo's.
Shree was not ready to accept the fact that her aunt had told her. It may be because Shree can't seem to hold someone else's words against Chaitra. After all, she was so impressed by her words and her offer of camera mobile for Shree. Shree was furious with her aunt instead of trusting her.
Chaitra and her lovely words influenced Shree. Shree didn't want to hear about anything against Chaitra.
For Shree, Chaitra seemed to be of her same age, a favourite friend who was better than her other friends. Chaitra's messages persuaded Shree to trust her. Nonetheless, she messaged Chaitra again to confirm her age, to which Chaitra responded that she was the same age as Shree.
Shree was relieved to receive such a response from Chaitra for two reasons. Firstly, as a thirteen-year-old kid, she refused to believe what her aunt told her. Secondly, She trusted Chaitra.
Shree happily texted her again, saying that best mates would be of a similar age and complimented on her hearings on how nice it looked. Might be Shree had messaged about Chaitra's earring to check Chaitra's response toward it. Shree wanted to recheck if the profile picture was that of Madhoo's or Chaitra's. Chaitra thanked her for her pleasant words. She also told Shree that she did it by herself.
Shree was impressed with Chaitra's earring work and asked her to wear the earring the next day when they meet. Chaitra immediately agreed and asked her to come alone to their meeting. When Shree asked why, she gave a lame explanation that Chaitra would also go alone, so she prefers Shree to go alone to their meeting at the railway station.
She also mentioned that their meeting was a secret one. Shree didn't even think about anything and agreed to go alone. When they were about to finish their chat, Shree recalled something about Chaitra's incorrect information that her school was closer to Shree's.

Shree mentioned that she had not seen any schools near her school, but Chaitra was no longer available online. Shree had a strong suspicion that there was something fishy going on. Shree began to doubt Chaitra at the stage when she went offline. Shree then began to relate events one by one.
Shree worrying about Chaitra's identity.jpg
Shree is worried about Chaitra's identity

Initially, Chaitra said that her school was close to Shree's, which was not a true fact. Shree's aunt told her the next day that Chaitra's profile picture was that of actress Madhoo's. Above everything, Chaitra instructed Shree to go to the railway station by herself.
These strange things began to bother Shree, and it was working on her mind somewhere. She began to wonder if Chaitra was telling the truth or not.
Thoughts on and about Chaitra pervaded Shree's mind. As a thirteen-year-old kid, she was confused to distinguish between a lie and a truth. Since Shree was disturbed, she was not able to focus on completing her school homework.
Shree suspecting Chaitra.jpg
Shree suspects Chaitra

As a small girl, she was confused to arrive at a final decision regarding Chaitra. Then Shree decided upon something. She immediately called upon her aunt. By this time, Shree's aunt had sensed something wrong with Shree. She immediately responded to her call and asked her about the issue that's bothering her.
Shree and her responsible aunt .jpg
Aunt's care for her niece (For illustration purpose only)

She didn't delay further. She wanted to be honest with her aunt, who takes care of her like her own kid. After all, it is her aunt who spends time with her rather than her parents. It's her aunt who prepares her favourite food.

Moreover, the advice of an elderly person would always be helpful for anyone, especially for a teenager like Shree. Being an honest girl, Shree told her aunt everything about her new friend Chaitra. She also requested advice from her aunt on how she can handle the situation better.
Shree's aunt helping her neice.jpg
Shree's aunt helping her niece (For illustration purpose only)

It was a good thing that Shree had shared everything about Chaitra with her aunt. Because of that, her aunt accompanied Shree the next day, hoping to find out the real face of Chaitra and safeguard her niece. They reached the Katpadi junction before the Bengaluru express arrived.
Katpadi railway station.jpg
Katpadi railway station
Shree and her aunt decided to find out the real identity of Chaitra. Before the train could arrive, Shree's aunt decided to meet and inform about Chaitra to the Station Manager so that he could help them; so, she went to meet him, leaving Shree alone.
The train was about to reach the station. Still, Shree's aunt didn't return. Shree was alone when the Bengaluru train arrived at the station, and she had no idea what to do. She took a look around. Her eyes began to search for both Chaitra and her aunt. She was unable to notice either Chaitra or her aunt among them.
Shree awaiting Chaitra's arrival.jpg
Shree awaiting Chaitra's arrival
During that time, Shree couldn't recall the message of Chaitra as to whether she was asked to wait inside or outside the railway station. Shree was scared and looking about for her aunt to come and rescue her. Unfortunately, her aunt was nowhere to be found. She kept staring at passengers leaving the Bengaluru express train.
Shree's fear grew when she saw that none of them resembled Chaitra. Suddenly, a man of Shree's father's age approached her. Shree was taken aback, looking at a stranger approaching her. He smiled at Shree and said 'hello'; Shree had never seen him before in her life. She was shocked as he addressed her by name. Everything was clear for Shree that Chaitra was not a small girl, and this person had used the picture of Madhoo as Shree's aunt said and had been cheating Shree.
Cybercriminal's approach.jpg
The Cybercriminal's approach toward Shree (For illustration purpose only)
The strange person continued to talk. "It's nice to see you!" he told her. Shree was at a loss for words during the situation. Her voice began to stammer. She spoke to him with difficulty, claiming that he was not Chaitra.
The man agreed to Shree's claim and told her that he wished to be Shree's friend. Shree had finally realised the fact. For the past two days, the same person had been chatting with Shree with the name Chaitra using the profile picture of a Bollywood actress. He gradually revealed his identity, claiming he wished to befriend young girls like Shree.
Shree couldn't tolerate his approach toward her any more. She started to shout. "Eeeeeeee!" screeched Shree. Shree's aunt emerged behind him in a matter of seconds. As she said, she had brought the Station Manager along with her.
The Cybercriminal recognised his dangerous condition. He hadn't expected those two adults to be by her side.
Shree was relieved from severe mental stress when Shree's aunt and the Station Manager arrived, but the fraud-who-is-not-Chaitra was shocked and scared. He had no idea how to handle or get out of the situation.

He realised that he had been trapped. Shree's aunt was shouting angrily at this point. She was angry that the stranger had attempted to deceive her niece and started to beat him. The Cybercriminal couldn't bear the pain anymore when she had hit him strongly. He then shouted and cried with pain.

A train began to move during that moment, and the Cybercriminal took advantage of the opportunity to flee from the dangerous situation. He hurried toward the moving train and entered through the bogey door.

The Station Manager didn't leave him. He ran behind him in an attempt to catch the person, but he was unsuccessful. Since the train was overcrowded, the fraud-who-is-not-Chaitra took advantage of it to hide from Shree's aunt and the Station Manager.
The crowded train.jpg
The crowded train
Then, Shree, along with her aunt and the Station Manager, decided to inform the police and thus went to the police station.
Shree and her aunt had boldly complained about the cybercrime fraud, which pleased the policewoman. "You are a brave pair!" she complimented them. She thanked them for bringing the issue to the attention of the cops. These days, only few people come forward to share their bitter experiences of cybercrime.

Only when people bring out their issues, cops can take action against the offenders. The officer thanked Shree for being open and honest and informing her aunt about her friend. If Shree had not shared Chaitra's information and gone to the railway station alone, things would have turned out worse.

The officer then asked Shree to put up a poster about cyber safety that she had given her.
Cybersafety is important.jpg
Cybersafe is important
Cybersecurity is all about using the internet safely, securely preserving information, and acting responsibly.
The policewoman also insisted on conducting a Cybersafety class at Shree's school, which would teach people like Shree how to stay safe online and avoid being harmed by criminals.
Policewoman helping Shree.jpg
A Policewoman helps Shree

The policewoman also informed them that a Cyber Crime Cell professional would examine Shree's computer and assist them in determining Chaitra's true identity. As the police officer said, a cybercrime officer went to Shree's house the next day. The officer examined Shree's computer and found all of the information about the Cybercriminal who pretended to be Chaitra.
Cybercrime officer helping Shree's family.jpg
The Cybercrime officer
The Cybercrime team tracked him (Cybercriminal) down and found him in his Bengaluru office. He was then taken into custody. The real fact was that the offender had internet friendship with many young boys and girls, which was shocking. Shree knew that she was too young to have internet friends because she was not matured enough to use the internet safely.

Shree had gotten herself out of a dangerous situation. Shree vowed herself that she would never repeat the same mistake. She wanted to avoid talking with strangers on the internet, so she decided to have friends from her school.

She was more confused and disturbed by the incident as a teenager. She also wanted to share her thrilling experiences of the incident with her friends, although it was not pleasant. Chaitra was a name Shree will never forget.
Finally, Shree understood the dangers of trusting a stranger on the internet and realised how important it is to safely use the internet to prevent problems for ourselves, as it has both advantages and disadvantages.