This is the 16thchapter of Memory Intrigues , a mystery series in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “ Dynamic Word Weavers” as a part of #CelebrateBlogging campaign by Blogadda.
The story so far
“I think I can help you. I am a blogger and am active in social media too. Send me the links to your best stand-up comedy episodes and I will publish it in my blog. I’ll also spread it in my social media channels. Who knows, it may reach the right people”.
As they say, life is a game of luck, and luck often favors people who work hardest. Mr. Ahuja knew that in the entertainment industry, especially, every bit of exposure counts. He gladly accepts Cyrus’s offer and they exchange cards.
“I need to take a picture, and ask some questions – I am planning to publish your interview too,” Cyrus says.
“Sure. You can come home today evening,” Mr. Ahuja says, and they leave. Cyrus goes along with Tara to her home, after work. He plays with Roohi for sometime, who accompanies him to Mr. Ahuja’s house. Cyrus sets up the camera on a Tripod for the photoshoot and Roohi jumps on Mr. Ahuja’s lap as she is also eager to get photographed. Cyrus drops Roohi at her home after the interview, says goodbye to Tara, and leaves the apartment.
Tara sets off for work, highly enthused about her new place. She thinks triumphantly “Won’t old man Motwani be delighted when he comes to know about this!”
“Trying to outrun the ‘Cheetah’, she tries to find a place to hide. The ruthless goons are chasing her. She wants to reach the police at any cost and divulge the secret only to them. The past three days has been tough and she has tried to protect herself from the goons in every possible manner. She hopes to reach the nearest police station today and protect this earth from the virus. After all, the secret to save the world from the deadly virus has been revealed only to her before the death of the scientist.”
Shekhar wonders how to end the fiction series he has been writing for a local newspaper.
“Lungi dance lungi dance lungi dance…..” the loud sounds from Mr.Ahuja’s house disturb the already disturbed mind of Shekhar. Though he is still worried about Jennifer, he is aware of his duties as a writer. He knows that he still has some way to go before he can establish himself as an author. While his counterparts who have chosen the conventional path of content writing for IT firms are flourishing, he is still struggling to settle and make a name for himself in his field.
Writing, be it in any form, has always given comfort to Shekhar – be it poems, articles, ongoing current affairs – it has always helped him to keep his usual bubbly nature alive. He has always been a good father and an understanding husband but unfortunately over the last few months he has been living in his own bubble and trying to establish himself as an author; this has been at the root of all the discord at home.
Shekhar chooses to ignore the noisy music, pulls himself together to complete the article he was originally supposed to submit to ‘The Hindu’ two days ago and plugs in his earphones with channel soothing melodies of Jagjith Singh into his ears. Music has always helped lift Shekhar’s spirits and unleash new thoughts.
“Inky pinky ponkey, father has a donkey”
“Inky pinky ponkey, father has a donkey”
Shekhar’s phone rings. That has been Roohi’s work! She has mischievously changed the ring tone to a nursery rhyme. Shekhar shakes his head and starts looking for his phone. He hopes this call is from Jenni and that she is safe somewhere. After the initial call from Jenni, he has been unable to tame his sub conscious mind and it has been a potpourri of various unpleasant thoughts.
“Mr.Shekhar Dutta, Ankit Mehra here.”
“Hello Mr.Ankit, how have you been?”
“I was doing very well Mr.Shekhar until I signed you on for giving me the articles for the Editorial.”
“Mr. Ankit, I understand that there has been an inadvertent delay from my end. I shall try to finish the column at the earliest.”
“Sorry Mr. Dutta, if the article is not submitted before the end of the day, you are not leaving us with any choices. We have a long list of writers just waiting to be given an opportunity. “
Dismayed, Shekhar wishes his worries would leave him alone and makes up his mind to submit the article today.
He slumps down in his chair, his glasses giving him a very erudite and scholarly look and starts to write his article “How the Scots reject independence in historic vote and the Scotland referendum”
“Shekhar, the international photographer’s conference will be conducted in Scotland and I have been shortlisted to visit the conference. All charges paid!!” screams Jenni in ecstasy.
“That’s great news Jenni, wish you all the best. I am sure you would be the best debutante photographer. Let me know if I could be of any help.”
The doorbell rings and Shekhar is shaken out of his trip down memory lane. The mention of Scotland made him fondly recollect his old memories with Jenni during his college days. Jenni and Shekhar always had a divine connect ever since they met each other. They loved spending time in each other’s company.
A lean boy with glasses stands in front of him with a handset to capture a digital signature. “Courier sir ji!!” He gets Shekhar to sign and moves on.
The phone sings the nursery rhyme again.
“Mr.Shekhar, this is Ankit again. This is just to remind you that we still trust you will send us the article by end of the day and we are waiting to publish it”
“Sure Mr.Ankit, I am almost done” lies Shekhar trying to open the courier.
Shekhar tries to read the sender’s address on the consignment through his glasses. The address is not too clear and is vaguely written. He cannot see anything other than the courier agency’s name ‘Pankaj Mishra Couriers’.
It is a small neatly packed brown cardboard box. Opening it he finds a memory card. “What could it be” he wonders. Has some fan, if he has any, written something appreciating his work? Could it be the photograph of himself with Deepika Padukone which was clicked at a recent mall opening ceremony? The photo with Deepika was a surprise gift he had won. Or does it have any connection to the missing Jennifer?
He sticks the card in the USB port of his laptop, thinking of getting himself a new laptop once he makes it big as an author.
“Looks like my lappy is also thinking of Jenni” he thinks as it takes its own sweet time to open the card. As he sits down excitedly, there is another knock at the door.
Roohi with her heavy bag runs to the bathroom to freshen up as she is already late for her favorite cartoon show, ‘Chota Bheem’.
Shekhar comes back to his laptop, curious to know what is in the memory card. The card demands a password.
“Please type the password to open the file” flashes the computer screen. How would he know the password!!! he wonders.
He tries to type in a combination of his birthday, first name, last name, the customary way for credit card statements; he tries various permutations and combinations of the same. He tries to call the courier office to find out the sender’s name but is unable to get any proper response. He tries to read the address himself but the efforts bring no results.
Seeing her dad confused, Roohi says “Dad if you are not too busy, do you mind making some ‘Maggi’ for me? I would prefer it not to be black this time!!”
Laughing at his daughter’s wit, Shekhar moves to the kitchen hoping to make good noodles this time.
You can read the next chapter here
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Me and my team ” Dynamic Word Weavers” Sulaiman Sait, Purba Chakraborthy,Kiran Acharya,Ruchita Shah,Rajesh K, Ganga Bharani, Satchitananda, Aditi Kasuhiva are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”
P.S : This post is a part of a fiction series and does not bear any resemblance with any one dead or alive.