Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chapter 2: Kick-off

A tale from one of the members of Team Supernova

Read the previous part of the story here

Tara Dutta’s mind was bubbling with various conflicting thoughts as she stepped out of her office, into the parking lot. Why did the Principal of St. Mary Girls School request to meet her at such a short notice? What could it be? Had Roohi’s disobedience gone beyond the acceptable limit? The Principal had sounded tired on the phone and this worried Tara.

Earlier in the morning, Tara had been busy covering an unfortunate mishap. A Churchgate fast local train had rammed into the rear of an Andheri bound train. Over 110 people were killed in the accident. The Home Minister was livid in the press conference and had announced that investigation was being carried out as they spoke. Tara’s team had come up with numerous possibilities, from negligence of the motorman to even a probable terrorist plot. Tara was annoyed at the incompetency of her team as none of them had remotely suggested the possibility of a signaling error. The call from Roohi’s Principal just agitated her further.

Tara ran towards her Ford Ikon; the driver was ready with the engine and air-conditioner on, and held the door open for her to get in.

The driver wasted little time and soon the car had crossed CST and was cruising along the JJ flyover. The cruise was short lived as the driver was forced to bring the car to a halt. A pulling cart had hit a motorcycle, which in turn, had come under a BEST bus, leading to pandemonium.

Tara didn’t like the sight she witnessed and cursed her luck. ‘These useless ghaatis should know better and follow the traffic rules. They are drawn to Mumbai like a moth to the flame. How I wish the city was rid of such vermin. Waiting here for the traffic to clear would be futile. Driver, doosra rasta ley lo.’

After twenty minutes of periodic start-and-stop motion, the vehicle left the flyover and was zooming past other vehicles in no time.

Meanwhile, Tara was lost in her thoughts.

At an early age, she had lost her parents in car accident. Her mind had blocked almost all memories of the orphanage. The only memory that she remembers vividly is of the day when her best friend was adopted by a young couple, leaving her alone. She had taken a pledge. She had decided that she would win at any cost; therefore she would win. She had no second thoughts about it. She basked in the small victories of her life until she met Shekhar Dutta.

Shekhar made her feel humane and played an essential role in transforming her from an ambitious and a self-centered girl into a compassionate and an understanding woman. Being with Shekhar, Tara had felt carefree and alive for the first time in her life.

After graduation, Tara joined a media house. It’s easy to get into media business. What’s hard is to get out. Tara knew she would control her destiny if she stood alone. Her work became her livelihood. While others took time to become acquainted and fraternize with one another, Tara wasted no time in her quest to become the best. Her competitiveness and will to win came back to her naturally; it had just been in hibernation and was lying dormant. Tara Dutta soon became a name to reckon with among the media professionals.

Tara’s success may have overshadowed Shekhar’s achievements in his work field but he wasn’t envious. Shekhar and she were like oil and vinegar; they went together but never mixed. They both adapted simultaneously to each other’s lifestyles without any complaints whatsoever.

Shekhar was on a trip and Roohi, as usual, had become unmanageable in her father’s absence. People are often dealt a bad hand. They have to struggle on and make do with what they’ve been given. Roohi would resort to numerous antics to get Tara’s attention. Tara knew her daughter very well to realize why she had been called to the school today.

Tara’s train of thoughts was interrupted at the sight of St. Mary Girls School. Tara exited the car and ordered her driver not to leave the vehicle as she would return soon to go back to work.

Being the mother of a notorious child, Tara knew the way to the Principal’s office having being summoned there numerous times but never under such a mysterious circumstance.

The door of the Principal’s office stood ajar which surprised Tara as the Principal was a disciplinarian and she always insisted that people inculcate the habit of knocking on a door before entering. Feeling a bit odd, Tara glanced inside the office and the scene before her left her speechless.

The Principal was bent over Roohi and was feeding her a bar of Snickers. Upon seeing her mother, Roohi jumped off the chair and ran towards her. Tara’s was amazed at her daughter’s sudden display of affection and she gave a quizzical look to the Principal.

‘Ma’am, if you could please settle down first.’

Tara made herself comfortable in the armchair beside Roohi.

‘That’s better now. There was an abduction attempt on your daughter.’

Tara couldn’t believe her ears and the colour drained off her face.

‘Ma’am, please listen to me before getting too worked up. The abduction attempt was foiled, courtesy our watchman. He had seen Roohi being accompanied by an unidentified man towards a van. Sensing something suspicious about the entire episode, he created a ruckus by howling at the passersby about a possible kidnap attempt. The chaos was enough to scare the kidnapper away. Your daughter wasn’t harmed in the incident, though she keeps insisting that the rogue was her father’s friend. Such traumatic experiences can take a toll on a child as young as Roohi. I request you to take Roohi to a doctor and bring her back to school only when she feels better.’

Tears welled in Tara’s eyes as the realization hit her that her daughter was almost taken away from her. She couldn’t thank the Principal enough. The Principal was right. Taking care of Roohi was her utmost priority. She cannot lose her composure now; she has to remain strong for her daughter.

Carrying Roohi in her arms, Tara headed towards her car. The driver was nowhere to be seen. Normally, she would have lost her cool, but at that instant her mind was preoccupied with the task of returning her daughter safely to home.

The driver’s number was unavailable and despite waiting for him for around ten minutes, there was no sign of him. Tara couldn’t wait any longer and decided to drive Roohi to home herself. She would deal with the incompetent driver later.

Once inside the car, an excited Roohi talked about the trick that she had played on her classmate. Her enthusiasm knew no bounds as not only had she left school early that day, she was also getting to spend extra time with her workaholic mother.

Seeing a hysterical and blissfully happy Roohi calmed Tara’s nerves. Looked like things would soon go back to normal. Little did she know that she was driving her daughter in a death machine.

The next part of the story is continued here

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Antarik Anwesan said...

I wasn't expecting that last line.
Good going Rafaa :D

Rafaa Dalvi said...

Thanks pal :)

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