Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chapter Fifteen - Facing the Fear

Team: Wings of Change
Context - Blogadda is conducting a contest (Game of Blogs) where it chooses 10 random bloggers per team to write fiction based on 5 character description it provided. Each blogger has to continue the story from where the previous team member left off. 
Read the previous part of the story here.
Chapter Fifteen - Facing the Fear
When she first heard about the client she took over from Megz, she had discarded the coincidence of the name with nonchalance. But when she took the file and read the complete name, she couldn't believe it. She did not know if it was just chance or there was a higher purpose behind. Otherwise how can someone explain such a overwhelming coincidence? But there was nothing she could do. After wasting lot of time she explained to herself that the whole situation was in her favor. If her stars are good, she might see her child again, and possibly more than once. This made her mind stable and cheered her a little. She was now looking forward to the meeting.
The only fear was Mr.Dutta. Her only contact with the man was his last and only call to her. There had not been any contact after that but she had gathered he was a man of kind heart. On the other hand she herself had not shown any trait of a mother. She may have tried her best to be around the child but that was all in unawares to Mr.Dutta. To them, she was just a woman who had responded emotionally on a phone call after which never cared to call back. The thought made her tizzy. She sighed. She could do nothing. The ball was in his court now and all she could do was wait and watch.
Shekhar scribbled on the notepad as Roohi played in the swimming pool. He was watching her but his mind was engrossed in the magnanimity of the sudden turn of events. Who would have known? The woman who they have tried to stay away from was brought back to them by the fate. He tried to connect the dots but it was beyond logic. However, the writer in him was mesmerized by the randomness that converged their destiny. What was he supposed to do? He knew nothing of the woman. He did not want to cancel the meeting with Jennifer as he had accepted the decision made by the higher, to bring them face to face. But his mind kept whirling, What kind of mother Jennifer was? She didn't care to even call back....he watched his little girl, and thanked God repeatedly to bring the child to them, she deserved better care, and Tara and he would give Roohi their best.
Finally it was the evening of their meeting. Shekhar sat shifting weight as he watched a woman approaching him. "Hi, How are you?", she spoke first. Shekhar even though a freelancer, wasn't an uncommon face, his articles getting published regularly in leading People's magazine. They smiled artificially and greeted each other. Each of them noticing the hint of uncertainty in the greetings exchanged. They had agreed to meet at a beachside open restaurant. Silence lingered at the table as they took in each other and the reality of the meeting. Shekhar cleared his throat and took the initiative. "Jennifer, I don't know what to say (pause) But I would appreciate if we jump in to our reason why we are here." Jennifer nodded, she had expected it. When she had arrived, her eyes had searched for her daughter, even though her mind plodded her with the reality. Holding herself together she nodded. "Yes", she said.
Shekhar began explaining, "I believe you have the transcript of my article. I am planning to release it in parts. I am in touch with the planned magazine. Sorry I cannot give you the details until it is finalized. I actually had a discussion with Megz and we had decided about the approach. I am not sure how much of it has been transferred to you. But I am okay with discussing again and listening to your ideas".
Jennifer nodded. He continued after a silence, "You are native of Kerala. And I have seen your work. And I must say I am impressed."
Jennifer nodded. This time she took over, "I have read your transcript and have talked to Megz. I understand you had decided to show the story in progression of the local industry. However I feel, in case of Kerala, it's about people. It's their dedication and their tenacity to hold and flourish the culture is what makes them special. What I feel is, instead of showing the Kerala cultural industry in terms of periodic progression, why not add it a human perspective. Why not capture how people saw the their living and how they and their culture evolved"
"I like your idea. But how exactly would you want to execute it?", Shekhar enquired.
"I have a lot of friends and families who have started from zero and are now a big name here. They might have some old pictures. I know they would not contribute to my work but they would certainly compliment my photos of the new era of Kerala. It would add a dimension to our portfolio and make it complete. Besides I know Kerala in and out. I can take you to places less known but not necessarily less valuable, be it beaches or industries", she answered.
After hearing her, Shekhar was confident Jennifer would do justice to his article. He smiled. She acknowledged with a smile and the tension in the air turned a bit lighter. For the next thirty minutes they made plans on the places to visit and their approach. By the time they were done, the coffee they ordered was cold. With business already discussed, the sullenness returned to the table. There was no question they would spill a word about their personal life. Each had a thousand questions to ask the other but they held it inside. Fear lingered. After looking at the watch, they both got up in unison calling it a day.
He watched her as she walked away. A decent woman. What could have ...? his mind mined questions and doubts. He was a non-judgmental person but today with his daughter at stake, his mind questioned and judged the woman, walking away, who called his child as hers...still watching silently, saw Jennifer turn.
To her, the business went well but there was still something incomplete. Thousand of questions mixed in the dizziness of emotions in her mind. She felt a bit unsteady. She wanted to ask him. She turned around and looked him into his eyes. "Shekhar", she mumbled. "Would it be possible....?" she held her words as she saw his eyes turn wide. She shook her head and walked away...
Shekhar stood watching her, his heart now beating faster...he almost thought she would ask him but she didn't. He collapsed in the chair and watched her. Would he call her selfish or a figure of strength?
Continued here.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Beginning - Chapter three - Sleepless nights

Team: Wings of Change
Read the previous part of the story here
Jennifer looked at the red circle marked on the calendar reflected in the mirror. Only five days to go. Nine years had passed and it wasn’t once that she slept free of turmoil of her past. She was a successful woman today and had handled every situation thrown by life with courage. She was strong and independent and was ready for future.
But past six days were more than what she could take. She had never felt so desperate and helpless. It had started after the call from the adoption agency. Jennifer had found herself collapsed when she heard she could meet her child. The new parents were ready. She was shocked. After all these years! She felt minuscule and happy at the same time. ‘Roohi’, she whispered. That’s what the adoption agency said the parents named her. It was a beautiful name. Indeed. ‘Only five days to go’, she whispered again.
Should she tell this to her husband. Kumar was gentleman. She had not kept her past from him. ‘I want to be your present and future. Your past does not worry me', he had said. He was a gem, someone to have more than she deserved. He was her present and she was extremely happy to be with him. She remembered the time she confessed. She almost asked him if the day comes, when she wants to be with her child, would he be ready for her? She had almost but had stayed mum instead. Probably it was too much to ask from him on their first wedding night. Or probably she was afraid of the answer.
The breeze was blowing and was bringing in the fresh salty air from the sea as Shekhar and Tara cuddled in each other’s arms. Mumbai had been lucky for them. Each had found their niche in their career and most importantly they had been gifted Roohi here in Mumbai. How much they love her. Tara knew Shekhar was very emotional about Roohi and he was totally unaware of the circumstances that will follow the meeting. The question remained, how would he tell a child what is adoption. She looked affectionately at him as he talked about Roohi with twinkle in his eyes. It was as if he had found the meaning of life with Roohi. Tara felt a sting of jealousy of the little devil.  But Shekhar looked adorable as a father. It was when Shekhar sensed the passion arousing in her and pulled her towards him that they heard Roohi behind the door, banging and crying violently. Shekhar ran to the door and pulled her in embrace.
‘Please don’t leave me, papa’, Roohi was crying. ‘Papa is not leaving you, Roohi. I am here, mama is here’, he assured her but Roohi kept sobbing, occasionally stopping to catch breath. Shekhar looked at Tara and she saw his eyes wide with concern, a question. ‘Probably a nightmare’, she whispered to him. He took the child to the bed and held her close and sang lullaby until slowly she slept off.
He laid Roohi between them on the bed. They had not yet revealed Roohi about her birth. ‘Of all the time, now? How did she sensed? It’s not that we would be leaving her, but how?’, he sighed. ‘She is not ready, Roohi’,he whispered. ‘Probably it’s not a good idea for her to meet her biological mother now. You were right’, he replied.
‘But we are a little late Shekhar. You have already contacted her biological mother. And did you hear the yearning in the woman's voice, to meet the child, after all these years', Tara replied. ‘That doesn’t matter. What if we don’t tell her when we reach Kerela’, Shekhar fought back.
‘You messaged her mom's address, Shekhar. That woman is probably counting days. On the day, she is going to be at our door, be it the end of the world’, Tara answered trying to bring to him the complexity of the situation. He gave an angry look to her, his mind judging, What kind of mother is she. But then she isn’t. Tara had adopted Roohi… He had too. But.. their father-daughter relationship were like blood relation. Why she couldn’t understand. He sighed. ‘Well in that case we are not going to Kerela.’ He retaliated.
Dissapointment creeped in Tara's voice. ‘I would be meeting my mom after years. ‘So what do you want? Do you want to hand over the girl to that woman who abandoned her?’ he yelled at her. ‘What has happened to you, Shekhar? Listen, I am not saying anything like that. It was your decision to meet them up.’ She replied. She had never seen him like this. Just a child’s dream could do this to him?
But then sighed and crossed Roohi towards him. ‘Listen. Nothing’s going to happen to Roohi. She just had a nightmare and would soon forget it. She won’t even remember it when she wakes up tomorrow. Believe me’. She held his head in her arms. ‘We can take help of a counselor if you want. Or if still you don’t want to go ahead, then we have to be honest to the woman. We cannot keep her in dark. We will have to call her and tell her that Roohi is not yet ready. Don’t worry, baby. Everything will be fine. Roohi will be fine… With us.’ He looked in her eyes and she could see he had relaxed a bit but the thin film of tears in his eyes was a warning to her. Roohi was his life. A reason to live. She wiped his tears and hugged him tightly. He felt relaxed. They glanced at the little girl. She looked peaceful in her sleep. Tara pulled him closer and hugged him tightly untill they slept off in each others arms. 
Jennifer unable to make peace with sleep, tossed and turned in bed. Then giving up, she sat up. Passing her hand over her stomach, she felt the years coming back to her cursing her for abandoning her child. How cold was she? How could she do it? Was her heart dead? All the rational and circumstances then looked sham now and she just felt drenched in guilt. Does she have the courage to meet the child? Does she have the answer that the child will ask? Thousand Questions! Thousand curses! She might have been stone then but if so the stone was now melting. It was late but not too late. Was it? She has to meet Roohi. She has too. Passing her hand over her womb, thinking of the child she gave away, she closed her eyes and whispered, Just five days to go’.
He was standing by the door for the past fifteen minutes but could not make up his mind. Then he heard footsteps above. If he doesn’t act, one might mistake him for threat. He took a step and rang the bell. As he had expected, the man opened the door. ‘Yes’, he said. ‘Uh?’, Cyrus stammered. ‘Yea..hi.. I am Cyrus. Uh….actually I wanted to talk to you. About…about…uh…’, no matter how much he had prepared he saw himself weakening. His legs were giving up and he thought he might fall down. But thankfully they were still holding up his body, but his mind might fall to pieces anytime now. Then suddenly he heard the voice. ‘Papa, papa’, came running the small girl. In the frill frock. With two pony tales. Roohi….his lips synced the name but ..’Yes, How can I help you?’ the voice brought Cyrus back to reality.
When he looked up, a woman, probably his wife, was beside the man. Both looked puzzled and waiting for an answer. ‘Uh?...I am sorry’, Cyrus mumbled and fled. That night his mind was a whirlwind. Years had passed. But he was still the same chicken. Wary of commitments. And how much he hated himself for it.
Continued here 

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