Team: Tete a Ten
Read episode 18 here
The car was returning home carrying with itself a child who was reunited with its parents and the parents who were reunited with each other. As Shekhar smiled inwardly, half lost in his musings and half lost behind the steering wheel, Tara logged into Facebook.
Her timeline was deluged by messages from friends, from strangers, from known and from the semi-known. Though some of them were mere perfunctory formalities, she generously shared her gratitude with everybody, thanking each one for being by her side in her moment of terror.
She also ran an eye through the inbox and it was then that Jennifer's message resurfaced.
"Did you inform Jennifer," she swiveled her quizzical eye at Shekhar who was driving languidly, his face writhing in joyful relief of the kind only a father who has lost and regained his child can experience.
"Jennifer? Ah no, I think you should personally call her and let her know dear. We owe our Roohi to her-"
"Yes Shekhar, we owe our life to her," said Tara almost cutting him short. For a moment, she felt shaken but it was not the kind of quiver one associates with terror or with pain but the kind one associates with an orgy of unexpected happiness. It was a universe later that Shekhar had called her 'dear' and perhaps without even realizing so.
Partially drowned in her reveries, Tara dialed Jennifer's number. It was a peppy song intended as a ringtone that somewhat pulled her out of her reveries.
"Hello. Yes Tara, did you find her," Jennifer rushed straight to the point without wasting precious seconds over pleasantries. "I am trying to share the picture with as many people as possible. I hope to-
"You can relax Jennifer. We have found her. We have got Roohi. She is sitting by my side. Oh no, she seems to have fallen asleep. Poor child. I am so thankful to you Jennifer. Shekhar says hi too. He will call you once we are home, he says. Tell me Jennifer, what can we do for you," Tara felt a rush of kindness for this new woman in her life. She was a God-send, she kept telling herself.
Tara spoke some more during which the person on the other end of the receiver took the good news in.
"I am so glad and relieved....and happy that you found her," Jennifer finally found her voice. It was a happy shock which had kindled in her a bubble of new-found energy.
"But, is Roohi okay," Jennifer's tone suddenly turned grave. "Who was that man? A kidnapper? Did he harm," she let the sentence float in the air unfinished.
But Tara soon quelled her fears. Over the next few minutes, she recited the story. "So you see, Cyrus is not the criminal type. He just happened to be there. On hindsight, I am glad he found her instead of some mad man getting hold of our Roohi."
Some pleasantries later, they disconnected and while Tara returned to her tranquil world inside the warm car, Jennifer hung up still feeling jittery. "Is the man truly what he shows himself to be or is there more to it than what meets the eye," she soliloquized.
Roohi seemed fast asleep, back to her quiet dreams which a child of her age is entitled to. Meanwhile, Tara found herself leaning closer and closer to Shekhar till her head rested on his shoulder. Her hair bristled against his face, triggering a reaction which had erupted after several years. Two lips found each other and much like Roohi, Tara slipped back to some much-needed dreams. A kiss later, they kissed again which was followed by another long kiss.
Tara was privy to the message which beeped on her phone. But the reply she sent was quick and short as Dr. Aryan Ahuja found out leaning back into his heavy armchair in the deeper confines of his own home. The doctor was another lone figure in this obstreperous world. His admiration for Tara was silent but strong. Tara too had found solace in his warm words during her years of marital exile but their relationship had always been strictly platonic.
As Dr. Ahuja was reflecting about Tara, his pensive recollections were rudely intruded by a call from the hospital.
"Sir, some lady by the name of Jennifer is trying to contact you desperately," said the receptionist over the phone.
"Who? Jennifer? Okay, give me her number."
A few seconds later, Jennifer's phone screamed.
"Hello. I am Dr. Aryan Ahuja. Am I speaking to Miss Jennifer."
"Umm... yes. Jennifer here. Hello, Mr. Ahuja. I was trying to reach out to you-"
"Yes, tell me. How can I help you," the doctor politely enquired.
"I wanted to enquire about this man. Umm... Cyrus is his name. Do you know him?"
A pregnant pause ensued. Courtesy was gone when the doctor spoke next, "That's none of your business."
The call was disconnected. Jennifer continued to hold the phone to her ears for some time, quite dazed by her own thoughts.
Read episode 20 here