Chapter 5 – The Elephant Parade

The Spellbinders

Read the previous parts of the story here:

Chapter 1- Room no.4 by Ankita Singhal

Chapter 2 – Table no. 4 by Bushra M

Chapter 3 – If Looks Could Kill by Ryan Fernandes

Chapter 4-  The Flower That Never Bloomed by Kunal Borah


Tara took a quick glance in the mirror before she let
herself out. She was pleased with what she saw; 
her hair was perfectly in place – thank God she hadn’t allowed Bomsi to
experiment with a new hair style – and she looked the epitome of chic in her black
skinny fit jeans, the silver grey Pashmina flung carelessly over her  shoulders and her black stiletto booties and
low slung bag. Gosh ! Jaipur was cold she thought, rubbing her hands and
blowing into them,  especially compared
to the coldest Mumbai day which never really got cold.
“ Ready Roohi?”
Roohi nodded, barely able to mask her excitement.  How she loved watching her mother dress, the
way she put her makeup ever so carefully, adding just the hint of colour to her
pale cheeks and outlining her dark eyes with smoky kajal. She looked like a
dream.How she wished she could be like her mother – smart and sophisticated. Oh,
but she forgot! She was working with
Mama today.
“We’ll take a busman’s holiday,” Tara had assured her as she
booked a ticket for the two of them online.
“Why can’t Daddy come too?” questioned Roohi, a bit
disappointed that Mama would be combining work with pleasure.
“Beta, this is not a real
holiday. We’ll go on a real holiday all of us together soon.”
“Really, Mama?”
“Of course. Really. Promise.”
“Then why are you taking me if this is not a real holiday?”
“Because I want you all to myself sweetie. Just you and
It was a call from the principal’s office three weeks
earlier that made Tara take this decision. It was a reality check on how she
had to spend more time with Roohi if she wanted to get her on the right track.
Pranks were pranks but they could get out of hand. She recalled all the shenanigans
that Roohi  had come up with all these
years : the day she came home finding her room inundated with Chanel no5. And
Roohi   holding the empty bottle in the basin “ I
wanted to get the bubble in the bottle but it escaped….Mama,” she wailed .  Or the time when she woke up to find a raw egg
on her face! “I wanted to see what you would do!” she guilelessly told her
mother when she woke up with fright. Gradually she became bolder and would try
things like scaring old people in the building by shouting out boo while they
were walking round the corner. How she loved seeing their surprised shocked
faces. And she loved annoying Mrs. Panthaky by dancing on the chalk designs
outside her front door. She also loved pressing all the buttons in the lift
before getting out so that the next person had to stop on every floor. Or even
locking the neighbours’ front door so that they couldn’t get out! All these
harmless pranks earned her the reputation of a prankster and trouble maker. Some
of the residents in the building found it cute but Mrs. Panthaky actually
called her a junglee and said that Tara had better watch out because her
daughter had all the makings of a terrorist!
But this last call from Roohi’s school  took the cake. YTV was going in a new
direction and Darius had asked his producers to think out of the box. Whilst in
the middle of the presentation that would take her places, her incessant
buzzing mobile forced her to leave the meeting and make a quick trip to
school.  Even now, thinking of that call
made her blood run cold. Mrs. Pinto, the school counselor had told her to get
Roohi’s eyes checked as soon as possible. She was complaining about seeing
double in class and all the students started saying the same thing. It was very
disrupting for the teachers and the counselor thought it was just the child’s
way of demanding her mother’s attention. Luckily Tara managed an appointment
with Dr. Desai the pre-eminent ophthalmologist who corroborated with the

“There’s nothing clinically wrong with your daughter’s eyesight, Mrs. Dutta,”
he had assured her. “It’s just severe stress and tension that is causing her to
see double. I suggest you spend more time with her. The problem will automatically
go away.”
So when Darius asked her to cover the Elephant
Festival in Jaipur she jumped at the chance. Even the school authorities agreed
to let Roohi off from school for two days and Tara looked forward to these two
days of intense bonding with her daughter.
Chal, let’s go ,” she held out her hand to Roohi as
the two of them made their way outside into the early morning mist of Jaipur . There
was an air of festivity ,the streets 
crowded with people waiting to see the elephant parade.
 “Look Mama! There are
the elephants,” shouted Roohi excitedly  as they approached  those majestic animals dressed resplendently
in their finest elephant jewelry  with magnificent
head plates and anklets that jingled at their feet, with their imperial looking
mahouts sitting in gilded howdahs and velvet brocade blankets as the umbrellas
danced overhead in the breeze. Indeed they were impressive and Tara began
clicking on her DSLR to record this wonderful sight. So engrossed was she in
taking photos that she didn’t realize Roohi had slipped away. Suddenly there
was a commotion as the parade came to a halt.
Within seconds, there was a huge crowd that gathered in
front of her. She heard the screams of a child and a scramble of feet rushing
towards the elephants.
“Stay back, stay back,” urged one of the policemen scared of
causing a stampede. All of a sudden Tara realized that Roohi was not by her
side. Once again her hands turned clammy. 
“It couldn’t be could it?” she thought to herself as she pushed her way
through the crowd. “Think positive! Think positive!” she admonished herself.
Bach gayi, bacchi bach gayi,” she heard someone say as Tara beheld her daughter in the arms of a strange man.
Roohi,” she screamed in panic and ran towards the inert
form of her daughter.
“Don’t worry ma’am, “ said a soft gentle voice. “I got her
in just the nick of time.” Tara looked into the stranger’s vaguely familiar, bespectacled eyes and burst into tears. 

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

TEAM MEMBERS – Ritu LalitFarida Rizwan, Ryan FernandesBhavya Nandakumar,Ankita SinghalBushra MKunal BorahAnkit Mahato, Deepa Dutta & Sunita Rajwade

Read what happens next  at :
Chapter 6 : Chance Encounters Changed Plans  By Bhavya Nandkumar
Chapter 7 : Relationships by Ankit Mahato
Chapter 8: When Dreams came true  By Deepa Dutta
Chapter 9 : The Runaway Brat  By Farida Rizwan
Chapter 10 : Where is Roohi  ByRitu Lalit

Our Team has entered the second round. Find out what happens to Roohi, the Duttas, Cyrus and Jenny.


A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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