Note: This is the nineteenth chapter of 'Memory Intrigues', a collaborative novel being etched out by a group of ten bloggers.
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The story so far:
“And guess what, Aryan Ahuja is Shekhar’s neighbour!” she squeals excitedly. “Yes-Yes, I know him, photographed the loser when he was a stand-up comedian in Delhi and I small fish!”
"The ball is in your court young lady. Their days are numbered. I can feel it in my bones"
“Cyrus Daruwala is our man of the hour! Mr. Editor, here is the plan...” the scheming minds and whispering voices travel across the cables through the rainy night and chalk out a plan for the Dutta family, sadly endangering someone’s life.
Shekhar is still totally baffled and angry. He is not able to concentrate on any of his work either. Picks his cell phone to call Tara but decides to speak with her once she is back. The phone doesn’t seem to be quite the right medium for a fight.
Not a very pleasant evening at the Dutta residence. Roohi is pretending to watch cartoons on TV fully aware of the fact that once her mom steps in things will be different.
Shekhar looks angrily at the clock and stares outside the window. Come what may, he isn’t able to shake off his worries about Jen.
“Where could she be? What state is she in? It’s such a cruel world out there; she asked for my help but …”
Wish I could help her in her tough times, be with her, comfort her, console her……
Life is never easy for any media worker especially when politics is involved and some minister’s reputation is at stake.
Anything can happen anytime”.
“I am back home” Tara enters, interrupting his train of thoughts.
Shekhar gives her a withering glare. Tara senses that something is wrong.
“Is everything alright Shekhar? What’s wrong with you?”
There is no response from Shekhar. Ignoring him Tara starts walking towards her room.
“Hold on Tara” Shekhar shouts. “How did your channel get the news about the memory card”
“What memory card are you talking about Shekhar? Why are you asking me”?
“Don’t pretend Tara, who other than you knew about it? I am not going to tell your editor, so who else could have done it?”
“Are you accusing me of leaking it out?” hisses Tara. How am I supposed to know it? What memory card? I have never heard anything about any memory card. Have you even told me about it?”
Roohi switches off the TV and slowly slinks away to her room. She knows she is not required there.
“I don’t know how you came to know, but I am absolutely sure, beyond any doubt, that you know about it. May be you heard me talking about it last night’?
“Oh please Shekhar! Why on the earth would I do that?”Tara raises her voice, worried at the turn of events.
“You know Jennifer is my friend and she is already in deep trouble! Now you have gone and done something so stupid! Do you even know how much trouble you are getting her into? Or are you doing it purposely? If we cannot help her, let’s at least not go out of the way to drag her into more threatening situations.”
“C’mon Shekhar think rationally. What will I get by doing all this? When will you learn to trust me” Tara snaps back.
“Tara please tell me the truth, don’t lie”
“Shekhar, now this is too much!! You are accusing me of telling lies for that girl, Jennifer’s sake? You seem to be intent on starting off a quarrel for the heck of it. For God’s sake, spare me. I have a lot of other things to do in life.”
Tara is unusually worried this morning. She knows very well that Shekhar will not spare her and in order to avoid him she gets ready fast. As she enters the room, she sees Shekhar sipping his tea and going through the newspaper. Roohi is having her breakfast silently, keeping her eyes fixed on her plate. Tara quickly kisses Roohi good bye, grabs a toast and rushes out, leaving a furious Shekhar behind. Soon Roohi also leaves for school with a friend and her mother, who luckily enough for Roohi has offered to drop her to school. The school bus is not coming today. Tara enters her office in a foul mood, but wants to leave her fight behind and concentrate on her work. It’s a new place, new boss and she wants to prove herself. She starts off her day by checking her mail.
Back home, Shekhar rests on his chair with hands covering his face and feeling helpless. The clock strikes 12 pm. Shekhar recollects – no school bus today; Roohi has to be picked from school. But he is in no state to go out. His mind is a mad jumble of thoughts and confusion, not to mention his anger which has not yet cooled down. He picks up his cell to call Tara and ask her to pick Roohi up from school. He tries calling about 5 times, but all in vain. She doesn’t pick them up.
The intercom beeps in Tara’s cabin.
“Tara, could you please drop by my cabin if you have some time”? It is Mr Murthy.
Tara collects some documents and notepad but leaves her mobile behind and makes her way towards Mr Murthy’s cabin.
“Is this paragraph quite in line with the article? Hmmm.. Not so sure. Well can we make the text more exciting?” Cyrus thinks, tapping his finger on his desk. ”Let me clarify with Tara ma’am”
He enters her room searching for his mentor. Not finding Tara around, he decides to wait for her.
The phone rings a couple of times more. This time Cyrus decides to pick it up, assuming it could be some urgent call. He hits the accept button but before he could even say “Hello”:
“Why are you not picking my call?? It’s you who has done a mistake. It’s you who has leaked the news about Jen and the memory card and now you show me attitude and refuse to pick up my calls! Tara. you are just impossible!!”
Beep..beep..beep… the call gets cut. Cyrus stands there cogitating about what he has just heard.
Agitated, Shekhar decides to pick Roohi up from school.
You can read the next part of the story here