Mumbai On A High

The Public Views of a Private Life
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Mixed Feelings

We’re back! Our team The Spellbinders  consisting of Ankita Singhal, Ankit Mahato, Bushra M, Bhavya Nandkumar, Deepa Dutta, Farida Rizwan, Kunal Borah, Ryan Fernandes, Ritu Lalit and myself spent some nail biting moments over the weekend when Blogadda was declaring the results.

It was a wonderful experience to weave a story with complete strangers and to read other stories that the other teams have woven out of the same set of characters.

To find out about the story so far read here.

Chapter1 – Room No 4 by Ankita Singhal
Chapter 2– Table No 4
Chapter 3– If Looks could Kill
Chapter 4– The Flower That Never Bloomed
Chapter 5 – The Elephant Parade
Chapter 6 – Chance Encounters and Changed Plans
Chapter 7 – Relationships
Chapter 8– When Dreams Come True
Chapter 9 – Runaway Brat
Chapter 10 – Where is Roohi ?
Chapter 11 -The Investigation by Ritu Lalit
Chapter 12 -The Backstabber by Ryan Fernandes
Chapter 13– Breaking Bad

and now the story continues :

Chapter 14 :  Mixed Feelings

Gosh! I’ve got a splitting headache, thought Tara as she opened her eyes. It was way past her normal wake up time but her life was far from normal these days.  Was getting up with a child missing and a husband in jail normal? In fact she couldn’t even remember what normal was! She felt she was falling apart. What happened? she thought looking at Roohi’s slippers peeping from under her bed? Where are you my darling? I hope you are safe? Sorry, darling I am a really bad mother that I can’t find you! God please send my Roohi back to me safely, she said looking upwards, closing her eyes, clenching her fists and remembering God after a long, long time…….
She felt miserable at home and miserable at work. She just couldn’t concentrate on anything but was livid when someone suggested she stay home on compassionate leave. Honestly, that drove her mad! Why should she stay at home! How could she stay at home when everywhere she looked she had reminders of both Roohi and Shekhar. Yes , even Shekhar with his invisible ways still managed to make his presence felt. She sighed in regret. Was she too harsh with him? She remembered Malik’s remark that Shekhar was absent from the photos on her mahogany desk….
 Yes, indeed it did look as though Shekhar  was not a part of her life at all.  When did they begin to grow apart? And why?  In college he seemed like the perfect balm to her troubled soul when she was jilted by the son- of- a- gun whose name she even refused to say aloud. Shekhar was so different from him – quiet, studious and nerdy. Her friends were right when they said that he was the last person they expected her to marry but they didn’t know how he was the right person at that time. He was gentle, kind, compassionate and understanding. And there was something incredibly romantic about his thin specs and broody eyes.
But then chalk and cheese can never mix can they? It wasn’t long before her restlessness and her ambition surfaced and she just had to go back to work. It was there that she truly came alive – in the world of journalism and social media which had just begun to make its presence felt . It was exciting and challenging and a welcome change from the staid, dull as ditchwater Shekhar. Before long she found herself spending longer and longer hours at the office – but Shekhar too was spending longer and longer hours at the keyboard. He would spend hours either typing or surfing the net. Doing research he said for his writing projects. It was no wonder then that she began to fall for DD’s charms. Of course she knew he was a player but that was largely where his charm lay – imagine her,  a Ms Nobody from Nowhere coming in his sights –  he, Mr. Darius Daruwala who had all the women in the world lusting after him was finally snagged by her. She was flattered and thrilled by his attention and  it wasn’t long before they became lovers. Aaah – those sweet, stolen hours during work…..Even now when she thought about it, her eyes took on a dreamy look. She knew she wouldn’t get anywhere with the affair but she was happy with what she got-  her beloved Roohi.
But where was Roohi? She was going crazy with worry. And to think that silly inspector whatever he was Altaf Somebody, who was investigating the case actually insinuated things about Shekhar and Roohi’s DNA not matching? Wasn’t that intimidating a witness or asking a leading question? She should have asked Cyrus this when they had met last week. But that idiot, all he wanted was for me to meet Shekhar and get him out of jail. 
*****************
“Mr. Nanavati will meet you in half an hour sir,” said the secretary to Cyrus Daruwala who was waiting outside the office of Senior Counsel with Nanavati & Nanavati, his family’s solicitors. One of the oldest law firms in Mumbai, he knew that Mr. Nanavati would be able to help him get bail for that poor sod Shekhar who was rotting away in jail. Jail does something to you, it dehumanizes you, he thought and the poor guy didn’t deserve it. Even though he was a jerk for thinking ill of his wife.  But he was Tara’s husband after all and Roohi’s father. And something told him that Shekhar was innocent. He seemed too harmless to hurt a fly. On the other hand, he sensed some friction between Tara and Shekhar. Something was not quite right. Did they fight all the time?  I hope they didn’t fight in front of Roohi. It is the most miserable childhood a child can have, he thought  – to be brought up with parents at each other’s throats – remembering his own childhood . His parents were constantly bickering. Mama never liked his drinking, Mama never liked his smoking. Mama never liked his staying out. Mama didn’t like so many things that he always wondered what Mama liked in Papa at all? Ooh and how he used to dread those nights when Papa used to come home late. And Mama would rush to him and smell his jacket and ask who it was this time. And then Papa would rubbish her and Mama would get into a rage. Then Papa would slam the door and Mama would burst into tears. Poor Roohi. If that was what her childhood was all about, he could understand her confusion and pain.
********
The waiting room at the jail was dark, dingy and depressingly bare. The minutes seemed to stretch as Tara waited for Shekhar to come. She could hardly recognize him as he shuffled in. She was shocked. He was almost unrecognizable with his loss of weight and glassy eyes that hadn’t seen sleep for days.  She actually felt some of her anger melt away  and felt a little bit of pity creeping in. Was she wrong in making him suffer? Was Cyrus right after all? Should she really try and fix him bail? It wasn’t too difficult coming up with the money.  DD would help her get bail for Shekhar, all she had to do was ask.
“Tara?” said Shekhar in a helpless and pathetically grateful voice.  “Tara, you came?”
It brought tears into her eyes.  “Hello Shekhar,” she said.
He began sobbing hopelessly.  “Roohi, oh my God. I killed her.  I am such a horrible person.  I want to kill myself, but no one let me.  Have you got a gun?  A knife?  May be poison?”
She shook her head.
“No poison is too kind for me.  Help me Tara.  Help me die,” he said.
She said coldly, “No Shekhar.  I will help you live.”

**************

What will Tara do now? Where is Roohi?  Find out by reading more  here……. (Chapter 15)

AND here (Chapter 16)
AND here (Chapter 17)
AND here  ( Chapter 18)

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

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