Our Team Logo done by Ruchita
This is the Eleventh chapter of Memory Intrigues , a mystery series in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “ Dynamic Word Weavers” as a part of # CelebrateBlogging campaign by Blogadda.
The story so far:
In the bedroom, sleep totally eludes Shekhar and Tara. Tara recollects how she told the editor that she has some thrilling news that can boost their channel’s TRP. In return, they have to let her host the much hyped new talk show of their channel. The avaricious editor agreed at once and showered Tara with bouts of appreciation. Tara knows that she had not done right with Shekhar but this was the only option she had to resurrect her drowning career. She cannot tolerate being humiliated every day in office.
Shekhar tosses and turns on the bed as thoughts of Jen shrouds his mind. The newsreader’s words strike like a bullet in his heart “Is Jennifer alive or has been brutally murdered?” He prays God again and again to keep Jen safe.
In the absence of real cocks to wake humans up to a new day, Tara’s clock takes on the onerous responsibility of jolting her out of her happy reveries. She opens her eyes, not quite sure where she is. She takes a few moments to come back to reality and suddenly thoughts of all that happened yesterday flood her befuddled mind. That is enough to wake her up fully and get her out of bed, raring to go.
She goes into Roohi’s room to wake her up. Roohi looks so innocent, her long eyelashes falling on her rosy, chubby cheeks. The pink teddy tightly snuggled up in her arms only adds to the picture of innocence and vulnerability. “Who would believe this is the same devil who talks like she is 90 and gets up to so much of mischief when she is awake” Tara thinks. But then Roohi has changed so much in the past few weeks – how fractious she is getting these days, how cranky she is, how little interest she shows in her school work, how withdrawn she is! For a moment, Tara wonders what has happened to her little imp. She thinks of the phone call she received from Roohi’s class teacher informing her that Roohi is not quite herself in school these days and inquiring if all was well at home. Tara had curtly informed the teacher that there was no problem, every child has her ups and downs and this is probably just a transient phase. Then she remembers that she needs to get Roohi ready for school, finish her cooking and leave for work herself. She gets back on her invisible roller shoes and flies around the house to get all her tasks done.
It is 9 am when Tara reaches office. The boss is already there. The office slowly comes to life with reporters, peons and other staff trickling in. “No one seems to be concerned about punctuality these days! What has happened to good old fashioned discipline?” she wonders.
At around 10 am, Tara gets a call from Cyrus. “What now” she thinks as she rolls her eyes.
“Good morning Madam” says Cyrus from the other end.
“Madam, after talking to you, I talked to my head of department and he has agreed to allow me to come to Mumbai immediately. I am so delighted and wish to get off to a running start. I have booked my flight and I will be in Mumbai by evening. I shall report to your office tomorrow morning. What time would be convenient”?
“Ummm....let me see! I have a meeting with the Editor at 9.30 in the morning. Then I have some other work to do. You could come in by 2 pm. Is that alright”?
“Oh, that is perfect! Shall come in at 2 pm then”.
“A very well spoken young man”! she reflects. “His accent sounds very refined his diction immaculate and he seems eager enough to work. Well, that only time will tell”.
Tara leans back in her chair. She lets out a deep sigh of contentment. What could be better for her? She had just got a sensational piece of news aired on last evening’s news telecast. The boss, Mr. Raheja, has had no option but to give in to her demand and allow her to host the talk show.
Now she would have a lot of work to do. The routine jobs would of course be there to be handled. She would now have to work out a format for the show, short list the interviewees, send out invitations, fix up dates for the actual interviews.....there is not much time left for all this to be done. The channel wants to air the first show by the beginning of October and it is now end of July. Add to that she would be mentoring Cyrus. She can feel the adrenalin rush.
Back at home the scene is a total contrast to that in Tara’s office. Shekhar as usual sits with a cup of coffee at his table, his laptop open and his mind somewhere else. It is now almost a week since Jennifer disappeared. There seems to be no way of contacting her. Where is she? Is she safe? How can he find out something about her? Who would know? How was she surviving? Surely she would need money. How much money did she have with her when she went missing? A sudden thought occurs to him. She might have withdrawn cash from somewhere or the other during this last week. It would help to check her bank statement. But where could he get that? The last he knew, Jennifer used to bank with the State Bank of Travancore, Mattancherry branch in Kochi. Maybe he could get some information from there? He gets the contact number on Google search. Thank God for technological progress! They have made life so much simpler and faster.
“Good morning, Mr. Shekhar Dutta here. I am speaking from Mumbai. I wanted some information about my friend Ms. Jennifer Joseph, who is your customer”.
“Sorry, sir, but we are not authorized to give customer information to anyone”.
“Please listen to me. Ms. Jennifer has gone missing since the past one week and I am unable to trace her anywhere. I am extremely concerned about her security. I wanted to know if there would be any record of her transactions indicating where she last withdrew cash from”.
“What you are asking for, Sir, is totally impossible. I am sorry we cannot help out in this matter”.
Shekhar is exasperated and demands to speak to the bank manager. The bank manager is equally unforthcoming.
“Sir, you should understand that the bank cannot divulge customer information to just about anyone unauthenticated person who calls the bank. I am extremely sorry we cannot help you. You don’t even know her account number. So please Sir, it would be good if you stop wasting your time and ours”.
Shekhar hears a click of the phone on the other side and is totally distraught. He sits there holding his head in his hands. Maybe he will now need to do what he was trying to avoid all these days – involve the police.
He goes to the local police station and informs them about Jennifer’s disappearance.
SI (digging his teeth) : Sir, we cannot file FIR here. Ms. Jennifer lives in Kochi. You have to file complaint in police station in her area.
“But she said she was coming to Mumbai. Surely you could lodge an FIR here and then contact your counterparts in Kochi? How can you be so unhelpful when you are here to help the public”?
SI (looking contemptuously): “Saab, jaaiye, Saab. Humara time khali peeli waste nahi karneka. Dikhai nahi deta kya, hum kitne busy hain? Yeh nahi ho sakta”. (“Sir, please leave. Don’t keep wasting our time. Don’t you see how busy we are? This cannot be done”.)
Shekhar is fuming but it does not help. He stomps out of the police station and wanders around a bit. “Bloody bureaucracy! Each of them more corrupt than the other” he mutters to himself.
Source: Google Images modified for use.
Read the next part of the story here