( Note:  This post has been written as a part of Blogadda's #CelebrateBlogging. My team is ' Tandem Tensome ' and this post is...

Chapter 19: A Palace of Mirage

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(Note: This post has been written as a part of Blogadda's #CelebrateBlogging. My team is 'Tandem Tensome' and this post is the nineteenth chapter in the novel we are writing. You can read the eighteenth chapter here).


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“What a day!” Jennifer thought, “First this Cyrus and now Ice Lady, argh!”. “Hello?” Tara questioned in her stark tone. “Umm, Ma'am…” was what Jennifer could mutter before Shekhar cut her short with his explanation “She is here for the dinner party I am hosting tonight, for Roohi.”. “Oh, you could have informed me at least?” Tara said, her voice sounded frail. “Would that have made any difference? Shekhar cross-questioned, trying his level best to drag the conversation. “Nevermind” Tara quipped and walked straight into her bedroom.

“It always happens…..always has to happen with me” Tara thought as she entered the shower. She wondered why she even tried to be emotional; “These things just aren't for me; all these family melodramas”. These days, no matter how hard she tried she couldn't shake off this weird feeling inside her; she suddenly began caring for her family after the incident where Roohi went missing.

Even her close friend-cum-colleague, Reema, had remarked that Tara has achieved enough on the professional front, “Concentrate on your family now, they need you” she had said. Tara had brought that conversation to a full-stop by saying, ‘The moment one becomes content with their current state, the desire to aspire comes to an end’. “From tomorrow onwards, only work” Tara repeated in her head a few times and slipped into her bed.

“So your wife, eh?” Jennifer asked Shekhar. “Hmm, fortunately or unfortunately, that’s your call” he shrugged and quickly gave a playful smile to cover-up. Inspite of him smiling, Jenifer sensed that something is indeed wrong, but she didn't press the matter and instead called out for Roohi and went inside.

“I scream, you scream Jennifer aunty, we all scream Ice-cream” was what Roohi was chanting when Jennifer found her in the living room. “So Roohi wants ice-cream it seems?” Jennifer asked in high spirits. “Yes, call Papa. He has this whole secret stash of ice-cream hidden somewhere in the house, aunty.” Roohi said. “Have you ever checked the freezer, kiddo?” a bemused Jennifer remarked. “It is never there! Dad says it is the fairies, like the one who is on your hand, who delivers him tubs of ice-cream whenever I am a good kid” Roohi chirped. “Wait then, me and Jennifer aunty will just ask your magician dad and get you some ice-cream, what say?” Cyrus interrupted the ongoing talk. “Either you or me” Jennifer said, her expression bearing annoyance.

Shekhar and Mr. Ahuja’s entrance at that very instant took away Cyrus’s opportunity to continue. “Princess wants some ice-cream, yeah?” asked Shekhar and got a reply in affirmative. “But today the fairies won't be able to deliver it, see there….” Shekhar spoke pointing towards the sky “it is dark now, fairies aren't night creatures.” On hearing this Roohi’s face bore disappointment. “Or maybe I and Roohi can go out and buy some instead?” Mr. Ahuja spoke. “In that way, our Princess’s desires will be fulfilled and I would get a little walk too” he added further.

“Oh no Mr. Ahuja, you are our guest, it would be wrong to do so on my part” Shekhar said. “I insist, Shekhar” Mr. Ahuja pleaded. And finally after being reluctant for a while Shekhar too gave in.

Mr. Ahuja’s persistence made Jennifer suspicious. She already felt a little uneasy having him around Roohi; the way he touched her inappropriately. “How can Shekhar’s turn a blind eye to this!” she thought. “Or maybe he is just too fond of kids, given that he has none” her thought process continued, “Can’t be so, his sly smile says otherwise”.  After a heated debate with her own self she finally decided that she is going to follow them, just to be sure, and maybe in the process she'll end up with some candid shots of Roohi.

Hence, within a few minutes of Mr. Ahuja and Roohi leaving, Jennifer made an excuse of forgetting her mobile phone in Shekhar’s car and made an exit.

“Ahuja Uncle, we are supposed to walk right from this point to reach the shop.” Roohi said looking perplexed. “Oh are we? I was thinking of going to my house and get some ice-cream for you, you know, and you can meet Fluff too.” Mr. Ahuja said, trying to lure Roohi. “Fluff, yes, you don't even bring her to the park these days! I want to meet her. Now! Now! Now!” Roohi replied. “Yes, baby” Mr. Ahuja replied with a peculiar grin on his face.

“Why the hell is he taking Roohi there?!” Jennifer gasped in shock. “You are so busted Mister” she thought to herself.
***

(Me and my team are participating in 'Game of Blogs' at Blogadda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.)

P.S. You can head here to read the twentieth chapter of this story.



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