Magical Story….

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them” – Ira Glass

And I believe in it. It is always an exhilarating experience to share stories, many known and some own with Dheer and his friends.

So, as I was shortlisted for the activity which involves story telling with  #ColgateMagicalStories Activity at BlogAdda, I was ecstatic. Colgate had been a trusted brand in my family since childhood. It was patronised by my grand mother and then my mother and now followed by me. And to be involved in an activity with such a brand was an experience in itself.

So, here it goes, our experience of Colgate magical stories activity:

As a part of the activity, I received a nice bright package with a  huge print of Colgate on it. With no clue of what this activity is going to be, we ( me and my son), were curious to explore. The package had 3 large tubes of Colgate paste. Each carton of the paste had enjoyable illustrations on their reverse sides.

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As we cut open all the cartons, there are some characters and interesting facts written about them.

Apparently, as we started our first job of cutting and pasting the characters, we spoke about space and satellites which made me realise that Dheer was apprised with some facts about the same. Some facts that he knew about space:

  • Space is very far from earth.
  • You go to space in rocket.
  • You cannot go to space in jeans, there is a special dress and helmet made for people who want to go to space. 
  • When you go to space, you do not have to go to school. 
  • Ananya, his friend also told him that in order to become an astronaut, he should learn how to operate a remote car so that it is easy for him to operate a space ship. 

After listening to the facts known to him, I tried explaining about gravitational force, for which he countered me with a question: “So, when you want me to read a book, I will not be sitting or playing around, I will be flying around. How will you get hold of me? “

I  replied, I will fly along with him and we can read a book flying around which sounded pretty exciting to him.

As we proceeded with the cut and paste activity, we prepared all the characters given. There were two astronauts, one alien, space ship, rover, couple of planets like Mars, Saturn, Juipter, sun and some additional characters.

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Dheer’s version of the story:

There are two astronauts Dheer and Tworoos. ( This name is inspired from Mickey Mouse O..tworooos!!!) . 

They take the rocket and go to the space. In the space, they find that the sun is troubling all the planets with his brightness. 

One day when Dheer and Tworoos were playing in the space 😮 , they find an alien. They realise that Aliens are dangerous. 

Dheer and Tworoos wear the helmets, go to the sun and request him to threaten the alien with his brightness. Sun accepts their request and goes near the alien. 

The alien runs away due to the sun’s brightness. Now, the Sun realises that he has been troubling all the planets and wants to change himself. 

He goes to Dheer and  borrows his helmet and wears it so that his brightness does not trouble other planets.

Tworoos and Dheer give their helmets to sun and come back to earth. After coming back to earth, they go to their school next day. 

As the sun’s brightness is reduced, it becomes night on earth and that’s how nights started on earth. ( I am sure he adopted this concept from various other stories we read as how leopards got their dots or how crow became dark or soo…). 

And finally he finishes his story saying every one is happy in the space!!! 

After few minutes, he realized that he did not tell me the moral of the story and says

Moral of the story is ” Do not go near bright objects. If you go, you will have to give your helmet to them 😮 “

I am now confused if helmet was the hero of the story or the astronauts :p , but regardless of all these, his extempore was beyond my expectation and it made me realize if given an opportunity, kids can go to a great extent imagining.

Well, we had a great time assembling the characters, building the story and also have stocked up Colgate toothpaste for next few months 🙂

P.S: “I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

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Is laundry only for woman?

Last evening when I was busy doing the laundry, I received a call from blogadda and they briefed me about the activity “Is laundry only for woman?”. This comes precisely at the time, when I am completely sunk in my daily chores and feel terribly apologetic of not being able to blog for quite some time. The woman hormones in me plunged out in joy and here I go with this post.

For past month or so, I have been juggling in between home and work. Cooking sessions twice in a day coupled with a dead line driven work, occasional cleaning, dusting and regular laundry sessions made me go into a vicious cycle of daily chores and I was left with no room for blogging.

When this activity came up on blogadda, I did not want to give it a miss. When I started researching on this,  I was aghast to see such harsh statistics as below:

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I have to openly confess that I fall in the above category of 85% and in 2/3rds of the women who feel there is an inequality when it comes to daily chores. I go even further to this post and think that this inequality is not limited to laundry, it is about the comprehensive activities we women do on regular basis.

Any happy family is the one which shares their responsibilities. I googled on the role definition of family members. During ancient period, the role of the father was defined as “bread winner”. He is the one who makes the major family decisions together with mother or other family members. The mother is the “manager and treasurer” of the family. She supervises and coordinates the household tasks, takes care of the children, prepares the family budget, plans and prepares the family meal.

Thanks to the inflation, education system, equal employment opportunities in today’s world, there is no argument on the fact that both the partners should be earning members to meet the expectation of the quality life style we all want to lead.

But, what I fail to understand is the inequality in terms of handling the daily chores of the family. Both as I grew up and when I got married and shifted my house, I have only seen women running the houses. The male counter parts hardly involve themselves in the daily chores. I am sure majority of the Indian families run their operations in the same way.

The fact that 85% of the Indian working women feel that they have two jobs, one at work and another at home does not surprise me much. Since ages, it has been globally accepted that women are entitled to perform the duties in the house while the male members of the family relax themselves in front of the television watching the live telecast of the cricket matches. This scenario has been accepted and when questioned society is not ready to answer. The woman who questions is made the object and made to believe that she is wrong in expecting her husband to help her and she is the one who needs to run around for the chores. I understand that this could be the scenario back then, when women did not have the exposure or necessity to go out and work for 8 hours as like her husband.

But today, the situation is changed. Women work as much as men do, the stress levels that they have at work are equal to that of the men. No employer is treating them specially because they are managing the house. It is the same level of effort women are exerting at work as like men, but when it comes to managing the house, why this disparity? Why women are expected to perform the laundry or rather the entire chores of the house?

There has to be a change in the society, a change in the thought process, a change in the way families function. Though no woman can be punished for not performing her duties, life becomes a bliss when each partner performs one’s duty along with sharing the other’s responsibility.

I strongly feel that best to bend while it is a twig. As we teach our daughters that education is important for life, we need to teach our sons that they have to deliver duties as a son, husband when it comes to managing daily chores. This thought has to be strongly rooted deep down in their minds from their childhood. Apparently, kids learn maximum by seeing and following us. We need to set an example as parents by ideally sharing the day to day chores there by grooming them to be good life partners for their spouses as they grow up.

And finally

Men…… please understand, women are not blessed with mystical energies. They need to relax as much as you do!!!!

And a big salute to the men who are already doing this. Great job!!!

 Washing instructions for lazy husband.

“I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.”

Blog to Feed the child

Experience:

Last weekend, as we were comfortably seated in our air-conditioned car enjoying our Ferraro Rochers, we had to stop by a signal. At the signal, we noticed that some kids wearing ragged clothes, looking starved for long, came running towards the car to sell coloring books, car cleaning clothes etc. We offered them some money, not wanting to buy the books. Very innocently, they threw the books inside our car from the window and went running to the next signal to continue their job. Every time, we pass this signal, this is a heart breaking experience we usually go through and we end up feeling sorry for those less fortunate kids.

Offering some money to them at the signal definitely does not solve their problem. We have only seen a sample of them, and so many of them suffering from poverty like this or worse than this.

Blogadda’s initiative:

Blogadda and Akshaya Patra came up with a fabulous initiative of “Blog to Feed a child”. For every blog entry Blogadda will feed one Akshaya Patra beneficiary for a whole year and how could I not do my part!! I started researching about this topic and I was taken aback by some of the statistics:

Statistics:

  • India is home to a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide.
  • India ranks 136th out of 186 countries in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index and 94th out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index.                                           

   (Source : here)

  • 836 million Indians survive on less than Rs. 20 (less than half-a-dollar) a day.
  • Over 20 crore Indians will sleep hungry every night.

     (Source: here)

and many more heart breaking facts……

Akshaya Patra’s emergence:

“A hungry belly has no ears”. It is unfortunate that in India, we still have many children who are struggling to have one time meal. Right to food is a human right and all human beings deserve to be served with adequate food, and especially the kids. Keeping this as a trigger, the first mid day meal program was started by Thiru K.Kamaraj, then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, first in Chennai and later extended it to all districts of Tamil Nadu way back in 1962-1963.

As per supreme court’s decision, in 2001, all government and government-assisted primary schools are to provide cooked mid-day meals, which not only eradicated hunger to some extent but also encouraged the kids to attend schools.

Akshaya Patra in partnership with the Government of India and various State Governments, and inestimable support from many businesses, philanthropic donors and well-wishers, is the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme serving wholesome food to over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India.

Headquartered in Bangalore, India, Akshaya Patra was started by Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami when one fine day he saw a heart-breaking incident of  a group of children fighting with stray dogs over scraps of food in 2000. Since its inception, the organization has worked towards reaching more children with wholesome food on every single school day.  More about them:  www.akshayapatra.org

Our responsibility:

As every weekend approach,we as urban middle class group are exposed to swanky shopping malls, are on a google hunt to find out the best eateries and interested in exploring various cuisines across the globe. At the same time,out there is a set of population who is struggling to sleep with at least a full stomach with basic food.

“Little drops make an ocean”. If we all take an oath to contribute a little towards this noble cause, the hunger and malnutrition in kids who are struggling can be reduced to some extent.

Some things I personally vouch for:

  1. Teach children at home to show gratitude for having their share of food, and the importance of getting a full meal. Let them be aware of people who cannot afford for a full meal so that they do not waste food. Not only children, it applies to all of us as well. After all, charity begins at home.
  2. With no hard offense to anyone in specific, I totally don’t believe in the abhishekams done to the idols / movie stars. I understand that there is a certain sentiment behind it, but I am sure even that the supernatural power or the super star would be happy seeing you donating food to a lesser privileged person than pouring gallons  of milk over them.
  3. Large corporates/ gated communities can initiate movements, like 5 rupee / 10 rupee movement. In the corporates where the strength exceeds more than 10K employees, if each employee contributes 10 rupees in a month, it amounts to 1 Lakh in a month, 12 lakhs in an year , 10 such corporates, 120 Lakhs in an year. I am sure that is a huge amount to be donated.
  4. In events like marriages, receptions, the amount of food wastage is so huge. At the least, if even the  left over food is donated, it would make a great meal to the kids.
  5. Last but not the least, we can donate. Please look at Akshya Patra’s link here to know more about how we can contribute.

As I was writing this blog post, I  had an apple, I gave chocolates to my son and offered coffee to my husband. Each time, only those pictures of the unfortunate kids and statistics flashed in my mind and I think I am motivated from the bottom of my heart to do my bit. Hope you all do it as well, sharing some of the heart-touching  pictures:

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I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild

with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Quick, Quikr, Quickest!!

Hey, did you notice the title? Yes, I spelt the word quicker as quikr, as that is how the shopping experience in quikr has been, so quicker!!

The tune “quikr, quikr” (Singing) has always been fresh on my mind. Though I saw their colorful flex posters, all throughout the city, I did not bother much to shop at their website until last week, when blogadda announced a contest for a sponsored shopping on quikr. Who would not want to shop when it is divinely sponsored ? I was right up there :-). More about the contest here

Blogadda has shortlisted 100 bloggers out of the all the applicants and I was one among them. Thank you blogadda for considering me worth it and so here goes my post about my experience of shopping with quikr.

Logging into quikr (www.quikr.com) and creating an account was as easy as buying a candy at a local store. The first login prompted to select my city.

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Most of the cities were marked in the list, and I chose Chennai to start the shopping extravaganza.

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Once I selected my city, look what I found just at the top, “download the app”, what better way to flaunt my new iphone in this post 🙂 , I immediately downloaded my IOS app of quikr from the appstore. Just in few seconds, the app was downloaded and I was ready to make quikr my shopping partner for next quik moments!! (Yes, quick is spelt as quik)

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On my phone

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While I was doing this, I also made a to-shop list:

  1. Dresses
  2. Tupper ware
  3. Household items
  4. Books
  5. Mobile
  6. Tablet

This list will go on if I don’t force myself to stop doing it.

Registering in quikr was just about 5 seconds, thanks for not prompting irking instructions like “password should have a combination of words, letters etc etc”. I got a confirmation email right in my inbox within next 5 seconds, with clear instructions written.

pic4At this juncture, I was not aware that the process of shopping in quikr does not even require you to register, it is simpler than that. I will explain in the post further about this.

I started looking for options. The categories were divided into 12,  It made life look so simpler now.

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Vow!! Quikr is surely one stop shop for all the services. One can virtually, study ( Education and learning), get a job (Jobs), fall in love (Community & events), get married (Matrimony),plan a honeymoon (Travel agent services), give birth (Doctor services) buy a house(Real estate), have a pet (Pets & pet care), buy a vehicle (Cars & bikes), the entire life cycle of a human being is virtually mentioned here.

Out of curiosity, I tried surfing in all the categories to take a look at the span of services offered by quikr. You will not believe it till you see it below:

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Look at the amazing services they offer!!! Inspite of all these, if you do not find what you want, look what quikr has to offer, it gave me a customized free alert

pic6I spent some considerable time in  quiking around ( yes, like googling around, this is quiking, as quikr is also like an ocean) and saw all the options available. In the process, I also found some funny ads..

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See the ad, murthy richards, may be brand competing with murphy richards 🙂

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Camera mad in Japan or made in Japan 🙂 and it is a madical stores and not medical stores ( These ads are shared just for a laugh, not to belittle anyone in specific, Read more, you will know what I meant).

Yes, yes I am coming back to my shopping experience, I thought it was not a bad idea to take you around for a tour.

After having quiked ( Past tense of newly invented word quiking) all the criteria, I have shortlisted Home and Lifestyle. This category was neatly divided into various sub-categories.

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As an obvious choice, I chose clothing and Garments. You can check their clothing and Garments Section of Chennai here

Quikr has given me whooping 7614 results for the clothing garments section.

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Out of these abundant options available, I had to shortlist  goods worth Rs.5000. This process was made easier with various options available to refine the results on the left hand side of the page.Slide1 (4)

Since my budget was fixed at 5000/- (though I would love to shop more), I refined my results with the criteria upto Rs.5000

The results were now  reduced and I got 3722 to choose from. ( Yes, I still have 3722 to choose from). Quikr also gave options of having the latest ads first ( you see the Date in the highlighted area of the photo), price of the product ( can be ascending, descending)

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In the options to refine results, I find refining with sub-categories really impressive. So, I further shortlisted the results by selecting, casual and ethnic wear. Now, I am left with 2938 results

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I started shortlisting the ads, there was another good feature I have to mention. Once we open the ad and we like the product, there is an option to Save the Ad, and a separate list of all the ads are saved. Good for confused shoppers like me, who want to see more and more and more before shortlisting.

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I was surprised when I realized that I do not need to register on quikr for making a purchase.  (This is what I meant earlier when I mentioned about email registration), Interesting, isn’t it? Want to see how?

Once you arrive at your results, there is a reply button on the right hand side, which allows you to directly contact the seller without any need for registration. It also prompts if you would like to be the mailer list for the Email/ SMS alerts for the similar search.

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I cant stop writing about good features, navigation to the next ad or back to the results was user friendly, the navigation to the next photos in the album was also just at the click of the mouse.

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Now that I shortlisted couple of vendors, I started interacting with them. Most of them had detailed description of the product, with mobile numbers, email ids, personal websites.

While I was quiking on my phone ( yes, I used the word quiking again), there is a nice feature of calling the seller directly from the app. I have highlighted in the photograph below:

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After quiking through several pages, talking to couple of vendors, I finalized two sellers and we had great conversations on whatsapp. One of them was sweet enough to bear with me when I asked for more varieties. She sent me about close to 80 choices to choose from and finally I have shortlisted two of them.

Sharing some of the snippets of the discussions we had

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After long discussions and elaborate choices, I selected a saree from one of the sellers and two anarkalis from another vendor. (yippe!!! I defined it as an extended shopping for Diwali so that my husband dear do not deny buying new ones for upcoming New Year and Pongal)

Adding to my pleasant experience, next morning, the courier was delivered to my home and the saree was in my hands. I had always shied away from shopping online for dresses, but now I am very confident that I found a good online shopping partner for the same. My son was more excited than me, blame the genes  🙂

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Overall, it was a great experience shopping with quikr. It had the options of calling a seller, meeting, emailing, whatsapping, as per our convenience to make a purchase sitting comfortably in  my couch at my home. In fact, some of the sellers offered to come home with their stocks so that I can make a choice.

Pros of shopping with Quikr:

Quikr is a great platform for all the individuals who cannot afford for a retail outlet. Some of  the sellers could not have the basic spellings in place (This was what I meant with those mispelt ads) , but are using this platform to expose themselves to a wider audience, which is a great encouraging experience for budding entrepreneurs.

Gone are those days, when we did not have a clue of what to be done with unused goods at home, today we have a modern day genie called quikr. Instead of moving an used article to the lofts, move it to quikr and sell it quicker. Lazy husbands be aware, ladies of your house  might  even click your picture and sell it on quikr :p

Budgeting shopping. Not at all times, we would be willing to splash thousands of rupees to own a commodity. Sometimes, when it is for a temporary purpose, we might look at used goods for the clouds to pass by. Quikr is one such avenue, where we can choose the goods we want, at the price we want, in the condition we want.

And finally, our difficulties to find a parking lot, billing ques are answered. Shopping is just a click away now!!

Cons:

Too much of anything is too bad, Yes, I had so many choices to choose, which left me confused and had to take an opinion poll with my friends and family.

Some of the ads posted are not genuine. Quikr can do an initial verification before the ads are placed to check the authenticity.

Some sellers still keep their ads active, though the product was sold out. Keeping a check of this would save time for the buyers.

Thanks blogadda for giving me this opportunity to shop with quikr.

Little information about Quikr: Quikr is one of the India’s largest online and mobile classifieds portals based in Mumbai, India. Quikr was launched on 12 July 2008 and is currently present in 900 cities across India. Quikr provides the local community with a platform to help them buy, sell, rent and find something and address needs across many categories. These categories numbering over 12 and sub-categories over 140 range from Mobiles, real estate, cars, services, jobs, entertainment, furniture, electronics etc.(Source: wikipedia)

Now that my gifts arrived, my little son is questioning me when he would get his gifts from quikr? @Blogadda, any new contests??

This post is a part of Quikr.com activity at BlogAdda.com

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Memory Intrigues – Chapter 27

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Our Team logo done by Ruchita

This is the 27th chapter 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.

You can read the previous chapter here , or check out all the chapters on our FB page here

The story so far

After a while Cyrus comes out of the house.  Jenny looks at him carefully.  This is the first time she is seeing him so closely, in person.  Can she take the risk of approaching him and talking to him?  She might be running a risk in doing so.  Her instincts, however, tell her that Cyrus is not like Ahuja.  Ahuja is a dangerous man with criminal tendencies.  Cyrus looks like a normal young person and is in all probability seriously misguided.  She approaches him.  

 “Cyrus Daruwala?” she asks.

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

8:00 am:

Cyrus looks up in surprise. He is rushing out to get some breakfast for Roohi, Ahuja and himself.

For a moment he wonders who she is and retorts, suspicion and fear evident on his face, “Who are you? What do you want? And how do you know my name?”

Cyrus…..” she begins, pushing her hair behind her ears. Cyrus notices the tattoo on her right hand and it all comes back in a flash.

“Hey, aren’t you the missing Jennifer Joseph who was all over the news recently?” he asks, looking amazed.

Listen, I want to talk to you about something very important; let us just walk out for a bit and discuss this”.

Cyrus warily walks along with Jennifer, curious to know what she’s doing here. “Cyrus, I know about you from your blog. I happened to see it last week and being a professional photographer, I don’t  forget a face very easily” explains Jennifer.

“…..” Cyrus listens in silence, not knowing what to say.

Listen carefully Cyrus, there is something important I have to tell you. I have been in this profession for a long time now. My job involves dealing with a wide spectrum of people such as politicians, people in the field of entertainment, lawyers, criminals and many others. Believe me, Cyrus, I know the real faces of many of the people” explains Jennifer.

“But Ms.Joseph, why are telling me all this? We have just come on a weekend outing with my niece” says Cyrus looking around furtively to make sure no one is watching them.

It’s no use trying to spin me that yarn, Cyrus. I know the truth, so spare yourself the trouble of lying to me.” She tells him that she knows all about the Dutta family and that she also knows about Roohi’s abduction. “Believe me, Cyrus, you are playing with fire. Ahuja is a dangerous man. He is a swindler and a charmer, who makes a living by seducing rich women and subsequently black mailing them. That is how he manages to own a flat and a guest house in posh localities in Bombay.   Do you think a struggling artist can afford all this?

Cyrus, I am sure you are a brilliant student, I have seen the list of awards you have won and the various social initiatives you have undertaken, on your blog. Ahuja is not someone that a person like you should be involved with.  Let us work together to get Roohi out of this mess” pleads Jennifer.

“I am sorry Ms. Joseph, how can I trust you? Ahuja has been ever so sweet with Roohi; in fact he cares for Roohi a lot more than her own parents do.”

Cyrus, I have proof for all this. I once happened to work on a series of ‘Mystery Unfolds’ for a television channel which also involved this pimp amongst many others. Unfortunately, the program did not go on air due to political pressures. Please trust me and let us get Roohi and you out of this mess” persuades Jen.

Cyrus is now totally confused. He is uncertain about whom to trust – Jennifer, whom he met just a few minutes ago or Ahuja who has promised him good money. On one hand, he can’t help but co-relate what he has just heard with some marked changes he has noticed in Ahuja’s attitude before and after Roohi’s abduction. He also remembers Ahuja hurriedly hiding away some pictures when he had visited him at home for the interview for the blog. On the other hand, he finds it hard to trust Jennifer who works for the media and might want to make some money by divulging this incident to the world.

Trust me Cyrus, Ahuja will not hesitate to kill Roohi and implicate you in the matter; he is quite capable of going to any extent” explains Jennifer.

Cyrus now slowly pretends to trust Jennifer; he wants to hear what she is trying to say. He thinks of getting the entire plan out of Jennifer and then helping Ahuja to move Roohi out of this place.

“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back. You aren’t like Ahuja.” She tries to persuade Cyrus to change his mind.

Jennifer explains to Cyrus that ACP Sameer Thorat is a very close friend and he can surely help Cyrus get out of this entire trouble. A totally confused Cyrus listens intently to Jennifer, his mind vacillating between trusting Ahuja and trusting Jennifer.

Ahuja will not hesitate to kill Roohi because she can identify you both and she will inform her parents about this once she is released.” Jennifer tries to win the Cyrus’ confidence.

His mind now slowly starts leaning towards trusting Jennifer and he murmurs softly, “But, how will I earn the money Ahuja promised me? How will we get the password now?”

Cyrus, don’t worry about the memory card!! Trust me and let us get Roohi out of this

“But Ms.Joseph, how do you know about the card?” asks Cyrus taken aback.

Jennifer explains to him that it was she who sent the card to Shekhar and it is a blank card. It does not have any data and no politician would pay for a blank card.

Confused, Cyrus agrees to listen to Jennifer’s plan, as she explains some details

Listen Cyrus, now that we trust each other, our first duty is to get Roohi and you out of this mess” and she shares her plan with him.

Cyrus listens carefully to all the details. He picks up some breakfast for Roohi, Ahuja and himself, and walks back to the guest house.

Jennifer is not sure whether Cyrus has actually understood her or whether he is just pretending. She feels that it is better to give him a chance before she calls in the police. She believes it to be better for Roohi and that she is safe as long as the police are not involved in this.

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The next chapter is here!!

You may please like our FB page to get automatic updates in your newsfeed here

Me and my team ” Dynamic Word Weavers” Sulaiman Sait, Purba Chakraborthy,Kiran Acharya,Ruchita Shah,Rajesh KGanga 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.

Memory Intrigues – Chapter 16

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Our Team logo done by Ruchita

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.

You can read the previous chapter here , or check out all the chapters on our FB page here

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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P.S : This post is a part of a fiction series and does not bear any resemblance with any one dead or alive.