This is the 17th chapter of the mysteriously riveting story "Memory Intrigues". This novel is being written by "Dynamic Wordweavers" for the Game of Blogs organized by Blogadda #CelebrateBlogging
You can read the previous chapter here or follow our facebook page to read all the chapters here
The story so far:
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.
Tara hums the melodious tune of a Jennifer Lopez song on her way back home. She feels good about her life, her work, her new friend, Cyrus and her family too. She recalls the line of many celebrities whom she has interviewed, “Change is the spice of life.”
How true! She ponders over the enigma called change. A different job, a fresh ambience and a new friend has thankfully eradicated the harrowing monotony in her life. She feels so good to have resigned her job at 24X7. The editor and sub-editor of that channel were megalomaniacs with no respect for others.
“I should have done that much earlier. Anyways, better late than never”, Tara mutters as she climbs up the stairs to her flat. She feels blessed to have found a new job within just a day of her resignation. She rings the bell and Roohi opens the door without a word.
“Hi baby! Why are you looking so depressed?” Tara says looking at Roohi’s bleak face. Roohi does not respond and walks straight back to her room.
“Shekhar, what’s wrong with Roohi?” Tara looks at Shekhar who is sitting in front of his laptop with a befuddled expression.
“Can’t you see I am busy with some work, Tara? Please ask Roohi what the matter is.” Shekhar goes totally beserk. He has been trying to guess the password of the memory card since over three hours but to no avail. He is miffed at himself for his inability and this only adds to his desperation to know about the contents of the card. Something tells him that it is surely related to Jennifer. He assumes that the memory card contains the photograph that Jennifer was talking about. This conjecture only heightens his anxiety. It is while he was cooking ‘Maggi’ for little Roohi that this thought passed his mind. The result was awful tasting ‘Maggi’ of which Roohi could not eat even a morsel. They were not burned like earlier, but were completely tasteless.
(Source: Google images)
Tara runs to Roohi’s room after getting such an unresponsive reply from Shekhar.
“What happened Roohi? Why are you not talking to mom?” Tara asks, pinching Roohi’s soft baby cheeks.
“I am hungry. My stomach is growling” Roohi says softly.
“Did you not tell your dad that you are hungry?” Tara embraces Roohi, feeling dismayed.
“Dad made ‘Maggi’ for me. But…” Roohi pauses.
“What? Did he give you black noodles to eat again?” Tara says angrily.
“No, not black but they tasted so bad. I couldn’t eat more than a spoon” Roohi says.
“Just give your mom ten minutes. I am making delicious cheese sandwiches for you” Tara says in a disheartened tone, feeling bad that her little girl has had to stay hungry.
Tara goes to the kitchen without changing her clothes and makes sandwiches within a couple of minutes. A delighted smile lights up Roohi’s face as she happily wolfs down the meal prepared by her mom.
Tara finally changes her clothes and prepares dinner. She does not want to indulge in a heated argument with Shekhar. So she tries to keep calm and thinks about her new office. She thinks of ways to impress her new boss.
When dinner is ready, she calls Shekhar.
“I am not in a mood to eat” Shekhar says, irking Tara further.
“What the hell is wrong with you? You cooked awful ‘Maggi’ for Roohi, you didn’t care that our little girl was hungry and now when your wife is serving you dinner, you say you are not in a mood to eat. You are pathetic” Tara loses her calm.
“I am stressed Tara. Try to understand” Shekhar says looking at his flustered wife.
“You work from home, have flexible working hours and yet you are stressed. If you ever have to step into my shoes, you couldn’t have walked for even a mile” Tara says and leaves Shekhar to his own devices.
Tara goes to bed early after having dinner with Roohi. She feels Shekhar’s presence, sitting beside her but she does not feel like asking him why he is so restless. Shekhar assumes that Tara has fallen asleep. He dials a number after studying his contact list for half an hour.
“Hello Sylvia” Shekhar says.
“Who is it?” a female voice asks.
“This is Shekhar, Jennifer’s friend, if you remember. I am so sorry for calling you at this hour of night but trust me; I desperately need your help. It is about Jennifer” Shekhar says in one breath.
Sylvia is like family to Jennifer and stays close to her house. Shekhar has met Sylvia many times, so he thinks of asking her about Jennifer.
“Of course I remember you Shekhar. Tell me, what’s wrong?” Sylvia asks.
“Do you know that Jennifer is missing since a couple of days?” Shekhar asks.
“Yeah I have seen the news. I am deeply worried for her.”
“Do you have any idea where she could be right now?” Shekhar intrudes.
“She has a couple of photographer friends in Delhi and was going to attend the Delhi photography festival within some days. So perhaps she could be there. This is just my guess” the girl says, feebly.
“Delhi? Okay, thanks dear. One more thing, I have received a memory card via courier today. My gut instinct tells me that it is sent by Jenny and it has something to do with the photograph that she had clicked. But it demands a password and I don’t have any clue. Has Jenny told you about any such memory card?” Shekhar asks, hoping to get some positive answer.
“I don’t have knowledge of any such thing, Shekhar”.
Shekhar thanks her and disconnects the phone. He also calls a few other friends of Jennifer but nobody is able to help him with the password of the memory card.
Feeling helpless, Shekhar lies on the bed and soon sleep overtakes his tired mind.
Lying beside him, Tara has heard every bit of the conversation that he had with Sylvia and other friends of Jennifer.
Her hyperactive mind conjures up an idea. She is quick to perceive the import of the news that she had just heard and the impression it will make on her new boss.
Suddenly, a small cloud of guilt passes through Tara’s mind.
“Am I doing the right thing by Shekhar? Should I leak this confidential information to the world? Does he deserve that”?
A rational voice yells at her that very moment.
“Are you thinking of this man, Tara? He is least concerned about your life. Did he ask you once how your day at the new office was? Does he even care for Roohi? He just lives in a bubble. Stop thinking of him so much and focus on your career. You deserve better!
Tara knows what she needs to do. All her doubts are cleared and she sleeps tranquilly.
You can read the next chapter here