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Friday, 3 October 2014

Memory Intrigues- Chapter 22

Note: This is the Twenty-second chapter of 'Memory Intrigues', a collaborative novel being etched out by a group of ten bloggers.

Join our team, the 'DynamicWord Weavers' as we #CelebrateBlogging with BlogAdda's 'Game of Blogs'

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Read the previous part of the story here or check out all chapters on our FB page here.

The story so far: 

What’s the matter Shekhar?  Who was it?”
Shekhar stares as if he’s seen a ghost.  Tara repeats her question.
They have kidnapped Roohi.  They want the memory card.”
Tara’s jaw drops and her eyes go round with fright.
Give it to them. I want Roohi back safe and sound.  Damn that memory card.  It has been the cause of so much trouble in this house.”
Shekhar listens and remains silent for a while. He is deep in thought.
And what if they take the card and don’t return Roohi?he thinks out aloud.
________________________________________________________________

Chapter 22 


Can we risk it?” Tara asks.
He just stands there staring vacantly into the emptiness. He knows the answer as well as Tara. Until now, Shekhar never really understood why people gave in to ransom demands.
An hour later, they receive the next call with information about where they need to come, in order to hand over the memory card.
How do I know she’s...” Shekhar could not complete the sentence; Tara covers his mouth with her hand.
There is no answer from the other side. Shekhar holds his breath. He hopes, he hasn’t angered the man. What if the man hurts Roohi as a punishment? The few seconds which follow seem like hours to Shekhar. Tara grips his elbow for support.
Papaaa....” He hears Roohi’s voice in the background followed by a man’s laugh.
Shekhar’s heart skips a beat. “Roohi ko please kucch mat karo. Main aapko memory card de doonga” (Please don’t hurt my Roohi. I’ll give you the memory card.)
7.30 sharp and don’t call the police.” The line goes dead.
*****
9.30 p.m. Dutta Residence
A pall of gloom has descended on the Dutta’s living room. Even the tube light seems dim, as if it misses the bright and cheery presence of little Roohi around. It has been two hours now but there is no sign of Roohi. Shekhar is pacing in the living room. Tara is sitting with her eyes glued to the door. With every sound, she leaps towards the door.
Why isn’t Roohi back?” Shekhar mutters again and again. He doesn’t understand where he went wrong. Though he wanted to, he hadn’t turned back once after leaving the memory card at the designated place. “I should have informed the police”, he thinks.
Tring....” Both Shekhar and Tara rush towards the phone at the first ring.
Meri beti kahaan hai” he yells into the receiver without even the perfunctory ‘Hello’. (Where’s my daughter?)
Aapun ko kya, ullu samjha kya? Locked card haath mein thama diya” an angry voice answers. (Do you take us for fools? Giving us a locked card...)
Aapne maanga, maine de diya” Shekhar tries arguing. “Jo maanga woh mil gaya na? Ab Roohi ko chod do. Meri bacchi.....” Shekhar chokes on his words. (You asked for it, I handed it over to you. You got what you want, now please let Roohi go, please our daughter...)
Writer saab, sun lo. Agar tereko bacchi chahiye, toh aapun ko bhi password chahiye. Password de do, bacchii mil jayegi.” (Listen, Mr. Writer we need a password, and you need your daughter. Get us the password and you’ll get her.)
Lekin main bhi password nahin jaanta.” (But, I don’t have it.)
Lekin wekin kucch nahin sunneka. Aapun ko kal shyaam tak password chahiye. Jo banta hai, karo...” the man pauses, “Roohi ke liye.” The call gets disconnected. (No buts, I want the password by tomorrow evening. Do your best...for Roohi)
Shekhar stands transfixed. “He wants the password,” he informs Tara, who is standing close to him.
What...how? Jennifer...she knows...” Tara starts sobbing when she realises they had no way of knowing the password.
We’ll find it,” Shekar says holding her. “We have to.”
He fervently prays for a miracle, which would bring Jen to Mumbai and Roohi back home.
*****
Next morning: The lady on the flight
She glances outside the glass window, and stares at the bright clouds. The sun is shining, clouds are dancing and everything is just as it should be. Without even realising, she clicks the pictures of the cheery clouds. She is winning, Shekhar and Tara are destroyed.
She remembers the apprehension in his voice. If a phone call could do that, then the news must have completely devastated him. He should have known that Tara was a self-indulgent woman. Her hand grips the camera hard as she thinks of Tara. That woman! She had no business taking something which never belonged to her in the first place. The bracelets clink as she drops her camera on her lap in a bout of rage. The tattoo on her right hand glistens in the mild sunshine reminding the world of Jen’s vivaciousness.
She takes some more photographs of the outside sky. Happy days would soon be here again. The universe is working in her favour. How lucky she is to have Motwani Uncle! He has kept her abreast of all the developments. First Cyrus came onto the scene; then he dropped crucial information about Ahuja into her lap through his blog. The rest was taken care of by calling Motwani Uncle two days ago.
She hadn’t just photographed Ahuja once, but then Motwaniji didn’t need to know the other times. Cyrus with his innocent looks could easily charm Tara, but Ahuja was the real deal. No one would believe that the plump, smiling Ahuja would seem attractive to any woman. However, Jennifer and her camera know the truth. She taps her camera, Ahuja has to fall in line with her plan.
She smiles at the landscape below. “Bombay, here I come!” she thinks aloud. She kisses the memory card, which she wears as a locket on one of the chains around her neck.
Everything is going exactly as planned.
*****
Two days before Jen’s first call to Shekhar:
That’s how it is supposed to be,” the girl in the balcony reflects in a calm voice, gazing at a pair of sparrows chirping on the tree. She enters the room, and closes the emerald green curtain behind her.
She sits with her legs curled on the sofa, and dials a number, “I need help.”
She hears Motwaniji tapping the table with his fingers. Her father’s best friend is worried, “are you okay, beta?”
I am absolutely fine,” Jennifer assures him, “I’m talking about Tara Dutta.”
I didn’t know she was your friend.” Motwani’s voice is tense.
She’s not,” Jennifer hisses, “she is Shekhar Dutta’s wife.”
The tapping stops, “Oh! So this is the Shekhar!”
She closes her eyes and nods. Then she realises he can’t see her and replies softly, “yes.”
She clutches her locket with her left hand, “I have a plan.”
For the next fifteen minutes, she tells Motwani of her plan in a monotonous voice, disrupted by the occasional tinkling of her chains and bangles.
You think she’ll worry about some ethics?” Jennifer has never before associated the word ‘ethics’ with Shekhar’s wife.
No, no. Ethics!” Motwani laughs, “That woman would sell her soul for ambition.”
And he chose her.” Jennifer mumbles.
Just one more thing, the photograph...you aren’t really in danger, are you?”
I’m Jennifer Joseph, the minister doesn’t even know the photograph exists.”
Joseph used to always say, ‘my Jenny will make a great spy.’”
I’ll message you my new number. Got to go.” She blinks to stop her tears, her dad was the only family she ever had. When she got a tattoo, he had said, “Vivacious, that’s how you should remain; always.”
Her dad wanted her to be happy, unlike Shekhar’s parents who cared only about their family reputation. And Shekhar...he had lectured her on duty to the family. Now, his parents were no more. She would show him what sort of a family he had. She grits her teeth.
Jennifer takes out her sim card and cuts it, her plan has been set in motion.
*****
Present
Jennifer alights at Mumbai Airport, and crosses her heart. She has a feeling that the coming days would bring her great happiness. She switches on her phone and dials Motwani’s number.
When am I meeting Ahuja?” she suppresses the excitement in her voice.
Couldn’t find that man.”
What?” Jen almost screams, “I’m sure he would be at some screen tests.”
He was supposed to be at some local set at Andheri, but didn’t turn up.”
Where would the man go? He has many houses in Mumbai,” she thinks, but she wasn’t going to waste her time searching for him. Lost in her thoughts, she misses what the editor said next.
Jenny, Jenny are you there?”
Yes, I was just...”
It’s all over the news,” he continues.
What is?” she asks, having missed the earlier conversation.
Roohi, Dutta’s daughter is missing since yesterday.”
The words keep ringing in her ears, the hustle bustle of the airport seem like a distant dream. Roohi is missing, it is something she hadn’t taken into account.

Read the next part of the story here.
 
Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

14 comments:

  1. Excellent continuation. The new twist in the end makes it EXCITING. Team Dynamic Wordweavers is the team to WATCH OUT :)

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rajesh. Our team is indeed the team to watch out. ;)

      Delete
  2. I am on the watch out Dynamic Word weavers. So Jenny is going to take her revenge on Shekar for not marrying. How come Jenny did not prescript the kidnapping of Roohi. So it is Ahuja who has kidnapped the kid. So many tangles. keep going want to read the next chapter Kudos to all members

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for your appreciation. :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Kiran, the intrigue gets deeper and deeper! Am sure the readers are going to be holding their breaths! Fabulous job. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  4. CHAPTER 22
    The twists and turns are going through an interesting phase. Jennifer’s revenge for Shekar not opting for her as a partner is showing up distastefully. Ahuja’s role is also intriguing. The suspense is adding to the curiosity over what is in store in the chapters ahead

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot. I'm glad the twists and turns intrigue you.

      Delete
  5. Very well written - jeny herself has a shocker with roohi s kidnap !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot. Jenny does deserve a shocker after she put Shekhar through those stressful days. :)

      Delete

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