Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Duplicity – Chapter 11

 Team “ Writers’ Express " 

                                               Read the previous chapter 10 here 

The silence on the other end disturbed Jennifer a bit; she checked her phone once, just to be sure that the line wasn’t disconnected.

“YES” Tara’s reply brought Jennifer back into reality.

“I tried to search Maya all by myself, the night she went missing. I got out of the hotel and started walking on the road checking with few shops/people about Maya. After a while I realized that there were three men constantly following me. I got scared like hell, taking long steps tried to reach my hotel fast as possible and eventually got lost on the streets of Delhi. An old couple who was taking a walk on the street helped me to reach my hotel that night, so I eventually called up Cyrus and decided not to do anything till he arrives. It’s better to stay safe then be prey to the leering men on the streets.”Jennifer sounded petrified.

 Actually I wanted to meet Cyrus as soon as he landed as searching for Maya was most important of all, but I could not do so as I had a prior commitment which was undone, as I had accompanied Maya to Delhi, and I could not decline in any chance “Sorry” I can’t make it would not have worked with the clients” Jennifer continued.   

“I had called Cyrus in the evening as soon as I got a speck of time from my unfinished job and we decided to meet over coffee next day morning and I wouldn’t finish my work till late night” said Jennifer. Being in the same vicinity where Cyrus lived so we thought will save on time and decide the further action plan” Jennifer tried to sound convincing.

We met at the coffee shop Cyrus was accompanied with Shailesh, and I think you all know him very well.  He is a wonderful person, Cyrus and you all are lucky to have him as a friend “added Jennifer.

“He is a Gem!” Shekhar did not need even a minute to second that.

“OK! Not deviating, we decided that first thing first, we needed to lodge a police complaint. 24 hours had passed since Maya was missing, so we were sure police would not have an issue doing that - we are all aware how stingy police procedures can get,” said Jennifer.

Tara and Shekhar responded in chorus “Yes”. Cyrus was amazed at their compatibility and how their minds worked alike. Tara did not want to intrude in between, so she let Jennifer continue without probing anything in between.

Jennifer further said, "We finished the police station formalities, but deep down we knew that police will follow their protocol systems which will take its own time. We could not wait till then hence, we decided that we will give our best shot to find Maya on our own”.

“Not a wise thing to do though,” Tara said, “But I can relate how it is when  someone so dear who is in trouble, you just can’t sit and wait for things to happen,” warmth was reflecting in Tara’s voice.

“Yes, exactly my thoughts! I could not wait for something bad to happen for Maya,” Jennifer confirmed.

“It was a difficult task on hand and none of us were detectives, but thanks to Cyrus and his “crime serials” gave us a start” replied Jennifer.

Tara and Shekhar looked at Cyrus for the first time, since the call had started. They all had a smile on their face though for a short while but it eased the tension in the house in Mumbai.

“Since Maya’s disappearance, we had been hanging on the hope that she was fine,” Cyrus added. “We needed to do something and that also immediately”, Jennifer punched in.  Tara and Shekhar were listening to the conversation in utter silence though their minds were ocean full of questions. 

Jennifer’s voice was shrill on the other end , “When I had spoken to Cyrus the day before , I had asked him to collect Maya’s photographs from a photo gallery near his residence , you know I thought if we had Maya’s pictures, it would be handy to show around to people and even for the police”. Jennifer said.

"We started our hunt from the coffee shop itself but no clue; we approached almost all the nearby shops and the vendors but no success. My mobile needed to be recharged, so I walked into a shop, recharged my phone and before I could ask the person sitting on the counter, he asked me "Madam, inko dundh rahi ho?" (Madam, are you searching for this woman?) pointing at Maya's photograph which I held. Suddenly there was ray of hope, my immediate response was "YES".

The shopkeeper said Maya had recharged her phone as well from the same shop the day she went missing. Jennifer was narrating the whole incident in one flow; there was no chance for Tara and Shekhar to feel that she was making it up.

The shopkeeper told us that Maya was very upset that she was not able to use her “Facebook”. It was now clear to me, why the day she was missing there was no update on the social site. I had completely missed to check that yet again after the day she went missing.

When I checked her Facebook account, her last post was near Rajouri Metro Station. Jennifer stated. “When we arrived near the Rajouri Metro, it was almost late evening, but we finally had some clue and a point of start. We again started the trail of search, somewhere with a hope that Maya was waiting for us; she was waiting for help,” Said Jennifer in a choked voice.

We got success, after a long day and so much of walking and searching, we stopped near an isolated lane where, an old man in his eighties, who was selling tea, slumps on crate. We ordered tea and showed him the picture of Maya; he kept staring at her, as if trying to recollect his memory and then showed us a bungalow straight at the end of the lane. He mentioned that, Maya had inquired about the bungalow to him and he had guided her to the place. His confidence did not make us think otherwise.

We were relieved, that we finally have managed to find Maya; our search had finally come to an end. We dropped the tea cups, paid the old man more than his tea, and straight headed towards the bungalow.

“We were happy but even scared, our mind was not in chorus with the heart, but three of us decided to remain shut and not let the thoughts reach the mouth .When we reached the bungalow, it was dark, no lights and we were surprised as who in this time of the season, leaves the windows, and the gallery doors open and that also at almost in the late evening. We thought we have been directed to a wrong place, blaming the memory of the old man, we turned to return." Jennifer continued, but it was Cyrus who said, ‘Why not have a look, we might just get something, or maybe we won’t but any harm in going inside,’ and we all agreed.

Shailesh was pretty scared; he had been very quite the entire day.

 “We rang the bell first couple of times with no response, we knocked the door, but yet another surprise, the door was open and with the slightest knock it slide open, we entered into the dark hall room, looked for the switchboard and Shailesh switched on the light, and what we saw next is beyond explanation” Jennifer broke into tears finally.

“ What lay near our legs was brutally murdered Maya’s body , she was stabbed on the back , her body soaked in the pool of blood, and the room smelling like copper”.

Jennifer was still crying. “I felt my breath go out of me, I was standing there still, crying and angry but Cyrus and Shailesh handled the situation. They called the police and informed about the murder site and Cyrus took some pictures with my camera, Jennifer had gathered herself by now and it was evident in her voice to Tara, Shekhar and Cyrus.

“You get hold of yourself Jenny; I hope this conversation satisfies you Shekhar Bhaiya  ... Tara Bhabhi?”  Cyrus finally broke the silence.

“Please we are so sorry, we understand and empathize with you” Tara said.

“I can understand how you are feeling right now; the loss is beyond words. Jennifer you please take good care of yourself and let us know if we could be of any help. And thank you for telling us everything,”Shekhar spoke this time and hung up.

Tara felt they had been cruel to make Jennifer go through the entire episode yet again, but they were left with no choice. “Does that make me heartless?” Tara thought for a moment.


                                        Read the next chapter 12 here  

You can read the previous Chapters collaborated by " Writers' Express "

Chapter 1   Pawan Hegde 
Chapter 2   Partha Sadhukhan
Chapter 3  Sujata Tawde
Chapter 4   Shilpa Halwe
Chapter 5   Manjulika Pramod
Chapter 6   Shazneen Pathak
Chapter 7   Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
Chapter 8   Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
Chapter 9   Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
Chapter 10  Partha Sadhukhan 

Me and my team are participating in the " Game of Blogs " at "Blogadda.com " #CelebratingBlogging with us 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Story By " Writers Express " # CelebratingBlogging.

Random bloggers across the country brought together as team, to play the ' Game of Blogs " at Blogadda  this September.
These bloggers share their ideas, weave and complete a story with the characters provided .The process will continue over the period of 3 weeks with elimination happening every week, till the best story is selected 
by the Jury. 

The selection of the bloggers though random but has brought some wonderful bloggers under our team “Writers’ Express “.

 I  present to you the chapters of our story “Duplicity”.

 If you like what we have penned and decide to follow us us in our expedition towards the finale, do visit this page (Book mark it people!!) for easier access to our story as it unfolds……

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Duplicity – Chapter 6

 Team “ Writers’ Express " 


                                             Read the previous chapter 5 here 

 “Roohi, you are a rock star!!! You managed to finish 6 fraction problems in 15 mins!! Bravo girl “Cyrus saying that gave her a hi five.

“All credit to you Cyrus Uncle “Roohi said. “ She is right Cyrus you have taken the burden of my shoulder by helping Roohi in her studies, especially mathematics “Shekhar endorsed what Roohi had said.

Roohi had been an “A “Grade student but since Cyrus moved in with them, she had shown tremendous improvement in Mathematics.

“Roohi, you should be doing your studies on your own now. Without anyone’s help “Tara said keeping her purse on the dining table and sitting on the empty chair next to Roohi. “And if you have problems, then papa and I are there for you correct?” Tara finished her statement. Ignoring the presence of Cyrus totally in the room.

“And Cyrus Uncle Roohi added.  Tara behaved she hadn’t heard what Roohi had just said and started flipping the pages of her books. Cyrus got up and made his way to the Kitchen to see if he could help Shekhar.

Tara and Cyrus were not able to meet eye to eye, since Cyrus had returned from Delhi last month .He had practically taken all his belongings and to Tara’s surprise had returned in 4 days with just a single Backpack.

Everyone was awkwardly silent on the dinner table. “Voila Madam Tara, You should try this special desert on the menu today”. Shekhar tried to break the silence. “It’s one of the iconic desserts Parsi’s are known for “.he said and all credits to none other than Chef Cyrus.

What is it called Cyrus?  Yeah “Lagan nu custard” right? Shekhar got that right he was sure.

Cyrus lifted his head, while eating and said, “Yes Shekhar Bhaiya, but when this is made at the Parsi weddings its more rich, with almonds, pistachios and stuff “.Cyrus replied.

“I am too stuffed today to try anything more, may be tomorrow Tara said in a cold voice and got up to wash her hands.

In the morning, as Tara reached the dining table with the tea cup in her hand, she saw a note under the flower vase placed on the table which read:

“Shekhar Bhaiya / Bhabhi, some urgent work has come up and I have to leave for Delhi by the morning flight! Didn’t want to disturb your sleep hence leaving a note!!  Regards Cyrus.

She kept staring at the note for a while and then she crumbled it and threw into on the ground.


 Crew announced to fasten the seat belts, Cyrus opened his eyes stretched his legs and followed the instructions. The flight was about land, he looked outside the window, still feeling a bit somnolent. The choking winter fog had blanketed the Indian capital New Delhi.

His diagnosis was quite simple, the Delhi winters have arrived!

The aircraft touched down, Cyrus looked at his watch, in spite the fog the captain had managed to land on time. As usual ignoring the cabin crews request to remain seated, till the seat belt sign was on and aircraft came to a complete halt passengers were already removing the hand baggage from the overhead lockers. Cyrus was in no hurry to deplane early or play the game of push and squeeze, so he waited for queue to clear. Thanked the crew and walked down the aerobridge.

He could already notice his bag revolving on the conveyer belt when he reached the baggage claim; he picked it up and walked towards the exit.

The morning zephyr took its first gash on his bristled cheek!!.

“Taxi “he called out. “ Rajouri  Garden " he told the cab driver.

The driver carefully kept the car centered over the white dotted line, and Cyrus marveled at his calm while the other frantic drivers jolted to the left and right.

“Are you visiting Delhi, sir? The driver asked “No, I stay here “Cyrus responded.

Cyrus realized he had not yet switched on his mobile, he removed it from his shirt pocket and switched it on, just to find out he has 5 missed calls from Shailesh.

He tapped the touch screen, and redialed the missed called number!!

“Hello! Where are you? I am trying to get in touch since long? Thought your flight might be delayed? Asked Shailesh.

“No, landed on time! I just switched on the cell!  I have stuffed the house with the basic necessities; I know you will need your “COFFEE “first thing! Shailesh told Cyrus!!

“Yes thanks! I will talk to you later Shailesh “and Cyrus hung up.

He wanted to keep the conversations limited, and wanted the phone to be free as if expecting some urgent call or a message which he did not want to miss.

The taxi driver stopped in front of a huge building offloaded the luggage from the boot .Cyrus paid the taxi guy and pulled his trolley baggage towards the elevator.

He opened the door, of his apartment on 15th floor, picked all the leaflets and home delivery menus and tossed them to the table next to the door along with the house keys!

Home finally!! 

The only thing he could think of at that time after quick hot water shower was a hot cup of coffee.

He grabbed the coffee mug in his hand and picked up the phone.10 missed calls it was not from Shailesh this time but an unknown number displayed on the mobile screen. Cyrus was about to dial the number back!! And the number started to flash again on his screen!!

“Hello “Cyrus said.”  YES !! YES  " !!! I know. I am aware!!  His voice was getting louder.

I had to be in Delhi again, so what "? Cyrus answered.

“I know I have to be in Mumbai, but I had some unfinished work here in Delhi and it needed attention so I had to take this trip “Cyrus replied

“I am working on it; Give me some time “his voice was stern this time.

“IT WILL BE DONE “replied Cyrus and hung up throwing the phone straight on the bed.


Cyrus woke up to a dark room .he emitted a bit and turned on the side. He sighed with anger when he saw the unknown number flashing on the mobile screen, 6:00 p.m. he checked the time on the mobile , he realized he had practically slept for a long time and picked his phone .

“Hello, I am sorry I slept off ".he said in a groggy voice.

“What time should I collect it ? “ Cyrus asked yet drowsy. “Ok! Its fine by me “he said and disconnected.

He made himself a cup of coffee, looked down from the balcony and saw some meticulous health mutants, donned with woolies were taking a walk. Cyrus was disturbed in his thoughts when he suddenly felt a human presence behind him.

His visit to Delhi was quite fruitful, he was able to finish almost everything on his “ to do “ list .He once again checked that if has kept all his belongings in his bag pack and noticed the Big Brown Envelope was left on the bed , he gently picked it up and placed it in the bag.
Cyrus landed a bit late than the expected arrival time in Mumbai, reason obvious as the flight took off late from Delhi due bad weather. 

“Cyrus Uncle “exclaimed Roohi and was about to get up and run towards him!! Tara held her hand and said “Roohi! Finish your dinner first “! Without making any eye contact with Cyrus and continued eating

“Hey, Cyrus!! You are back? How was Delhi? Pretty cold, I saw in the news! Come join us for dinner?  Shekhar said in one breath.

“No! Bhaiya, I am a bit tired will freshen up and sleep!! Thank you though!!

Tara picked up her and Roohi’s plate put them for wash!! Grabbed the bottle of water in one hand and pulled Roohi with the other!!!

Good Night!! Papa!! "Good night Cyrus Uncle “before Roohi could finish, Shekhar and Cyrus could hear was a big bang of the bedroom door being closed.

“I will also call it a day Good Night Cyrus “Shekhar said placing his plate in the sink as well.

Good night Bhaiya replied Cyrus and making his way towards Roohi’s room …….


 “What on the earth was that behavior Tara?!!!   It’s unlike you? Shekhar said trying to keep his calm.

My Behavior?  That’s what you are saying Shekhar? Can’t you see what I am seeing?

There is something terribly wrong!!  He is not what he is trying to project?   Trust me Shekhar!! Tara’s anger was boiling, after all this fits of rage did not come every day.

“Shhhhhh, keep your voice low, Tara! Please!! Shekhar said in requesting tone.

“I don’t care, even if my voice reaches him. Which law student gets to go in and out of cities the way he does? I wonder. I need him out of this place, Shekhar!!  ASAP!!!  Do you understand!! I don’t sense good!! Tara’s voice was louder now!

 Did you not notice,  the last time he went with his entire luggage and returned only with a backpack? This time he left leaving a note for us without mentioning anything a day before on the dining table? Does this all look normal to you? Tara said arguably.

Tara I will see what I can do, I just can’t tell someone to leave!!  And more over what will I tell Shailesh, you know how old our association with him is, Yes I can understand you are not able to trust this man called Cyrus , but  you can at least trust Shailesh , will he ask someone who is not worthy of trust to stay with us “ Shekhar snarled .

“You do what needs to be done and as soon as it can be, Talk to Shailesh if you have to “.  Tara replied in rage.

“Ok!!! There is no end to this argument!!! Shekhar walked out of the room!!

Cyrus was just right there, standing in the kitchen with a bottle of water in his hand overhearing the entire argument Shekhar had with Tara.

“Don’t mind!! Cyrus!! She is just a bit upset!!!  Shekhar tried to cover up.

“That’s Ok with me Bhaiya; I will see how fast I can find another PG accommodation” saying that Cyrus switched on the television.

Shekhar walked out of the house closing the door behind him.


Read the next chapter 7 here 

You can read the previous Chapters collaborated by " Writers' Express " 

Chapter 1 Pawan Hegde
Chapter 2 Partha Sadhukhan
Chapter 3  Sujata Tawde
Chapter 4 Shilpa Halwe
Chapter 5 Majulika Pramod

"Me and my team are participating in the "Game of Blogs  " at "Blogadda.com ". #CelebrateBlogging with us "

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Out Of The Blue !!!!!

“Sorry sir! But in that case you are short of few Omani Rials “, said the cashier,

Oh!!! God I neither have dollars nor dirham’s to adjust the balance!! Said the man standing ahead of me at the cash counter!

 I had already started putting the items on the counter by then; this is going to take a while now!!!  I was sure.

Is there a money exchange counter? Man asked.”Yes sir!!! It’s to the right, next to the Costa coffee shop “cashier replied.

Not realizing, he hasn’t moved ahead I just pushed the trolley hitting his leg .He almost tripped. He turned. I am so sorry, “it wasn’t intentional! Before even I could finish “……..“Shanu “!!!  The handsome, broad shouldered burly looking man in front of me said.

“B.B”!!!!!  I exclaimed back already quite certain that it was him! Is that you? what a strange meeting ? I asked.“Yes indeed!!”  He replied.

Suddenly I looked; at the cashier he was silently but yet anxiously waiting when would our pleasant surprise end!! I will pay the balance for the gentleman !  I told the cashier.I made the payment for him and cleared my billing,

We started walking towards the exchange shop , “ How did you recognize me ?  Don’t tell me I haven’t changed beyond possibility of recognition since college?” I asked.

“Oh! Most definitely you have!!  Thanks to the technology, I am on Facebook. Though I am hardly ever there, and truly there is no change in your face what you have today then you use to have it in those days!!! “He assured with a smile.

My meeting finished early so thought to take a stroll in the mall “he said.

We started walking together, we have loads to catch up I said, “Why don’t you come home for dinner, my family would be very happy to meet you?” I offered .

 “I wish I could but have a flight in 3 hours to Dubai “he said “coffee shop is here, would you mind if we have a cup of coffee and I have to return you the money as well?  “Money please don’t bother “ I said  and  “ yes  “ coffee on me !! after all you are in my town !! I smiled .

He also did not persue it further. He did his money exchange and we proceeded towards the coffee shop. We told each other the abbreviated stories of our lives. We reminisced some of the good old days, some episodes of our lives we both did not recall at all and some of those we wished we did not live it at all. The days of youth, the days of freedom and those challenges to strive in life and achieve something.

That’s 30 minutes of coffee time, took me in the yester years. The friends whom I miss and do not get the chance to be with often and the life which was less of responsibility, fuss and more carefree.

Memories, either confirms or refutes is own very existence!!

 We both were aware, we might not meet again ever, or may be at least for years as neither was he going to come to Muscat again nor was I going to go to Delhi. Where he lived now.

As we were about to part ways and give each other that awkward hug, I asked “so how was it, so far “!!

He understood me, “Life “you mean he replied.  “Yes “what else I chuckled!!

Good!!!  Better!!! Can’t complain!!! He said and how about u?  “Interesting!! Very interesting “ I replied!!!

We hugged each other, bid good bye and then remembered. We didn’t exchange our numbers till now, yes we were aware we aren’t going to meet again but we can keep in touch through phone!!!!  We did what was not done!!!  Numbers Saved!!! Good bye’s said!!

He walked away towards the main entrance of the mall!!  To grab a taxi to head to the airport!!!

While I pushed the trolley towards the escalator feeling nostalgic! Sometimes, something remarkable takes you off guard a surprises you. The most unexpected mostly brings a smile on your face and its worth celebrating.

Today was one such day I celebrated the most unexpected!!!!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.