Team : The Maverick X
Read the first 7 posts here :
Shekhar was typing away frantically. Roohi was fiddling with a Rubik’s cube, trying to get all faces right by tallying her steps with the Youtube video on the iPad. Sunday mornings were a leisurely thing at the Dutta’s. Tara was bound to return from Ferozabad in an hour’s time.
Shekhar thought she was acting weird in trying to play Byomkesh Bakshi because of the conversation she had overheard. Now she wanted to know where did Pakistan figure in all this. It was a blessing that her Boss did not allow her the extra time she’d asked for, in Ferozabad. Shekhar hated trouble of any sort. He sighed and ran a hand on his bald head.
Finally, the doorbell rang. Roohi put the cube on the table and ran towards the door. Shekhar noticed that its 3 faces were perfectly done. Oddly enough, the colours were saffron, white and green! Another patriot, he thought.
Tara hurled her travel bag in a corner opposite to the shoe rack and flung herself on the couch. Even in the exhausted state, she managed a graceful posture as she reclined her head on her hand, bent at the elbow which was engulfed in her short tresses. “So what’s the plan today,” she asked.
Sunday evening was family time for the Dutta’s. They went out to the movies, hung out at the mall or took walks at Shivaji Park and had quiet dinners at exquisite restaurants afterwards. “Shivaji Park!” Roohi shouted, bobbing up and down on the sofa. She loved doing that, as it made both her pony tails do a funny dance.
“Alright then, I’ll grab some sleep till then”. Tara headed to the bedroom.
Shekhar resumed his article. Roohi wondered what did an article for a robbery which happened last night have to do with her Daddy scribbling mathematical formulas and doing complex permutations and combination calculations. Talking of permutations and combinations, she had one to solve herself! She went back to the Youtube video.
Tara’s phone gave a loud buzz and vibrated so violently that it woke the three of them from their afternoon siesta, which was more like an afternoon slumber! “Drats,” exclaimed Tara as she picked it up. “Uh huh, uh huh, okay. I am on it. I just have to make a couple of phone calls and I’ll get the story out tomorrow. It’s just that I think we need to involve the police in this.”
Shekhar’s bald head shined in the afternoon sunlight which crept through the light curtains in the bedroom. He looked sleepily at Roohi, who was snoring away happily and then at Tara, who was wide awake. “Where are you off to love?”, he said.
“To the Gateway of India. I am sorry Shekhar, I can’t make it to Shivaji Park today. I have a lead on the phone call that I was talking about. If everything goes as planned, we’ll have nabbed the miscreants trying to stage a full-fledged riot at Ferozabad,” Tara said in a single breath.
I did not know siesta’s give one so much energy! thought Shekhar. “Alright, is your new camera girl coming with you?”
“No,” snapped Tara. “ I am better off alone. Why are you interested in my camera girl by the way?” She raised an eyebrow.
As Tara went to the washroom to freshen up, Shekhar picked up his phone and typed a message. You better head here. SPUNKY is heading out. He hit the ‘send’ button and waited for delivery receipt. Your account balance is low. Please recharge your account to continue sending this message, it buzzed back. Shekhar stumbled as he hurried towards the landline. He hastily dialed a number and practically barked in a hushed voice, “Head over here ASAP. SPUNKY off in unmarked territory.” He heard a mumbled acknowledgement at the other end as the phone disconnected.
Tara was ready as the clock struck 5.30 PM. Roohi had woken up and was surprised to see Momma heading out. “Heyyy,” said Roohi. “Not fair! Why you go out?! We are going to the park!”
As Tara was about to utter some pacifying sentences that all mom’s say, the doorbell rang.
“Jennifer?! What are you doing here? How did you know where I live?”
Jennifer gave a cocky smile. “It’s my job to know things. I mean, as your camera girl I have to have a knack for picking up details, don’t I?”
“Jennifer Aunty! So cool! Now you can come to park with us!” exclaimed Roohi.
Tara ignored Roohi and went forth with the interrogation. “What brings you here?”
“I am coming with you,” she said.
“Whereever you go!”
Tara was irritated beyond control. “How did you know I am going after the story?”
“Ladies…ladies,” intervened Shekhar. “ Before you continue, can we have the pretty lady inside the house please?
Tara let Jennifer in reluctantly. Her phone rang again.
“Yes? What? You want me to write a dummy script? Now?! Can’t it wait till I finish my lead?”
She put her phone down with a long face. “I am not going anywhere. I gotta write this stupid dummy script. Jennifer, you can go back. I’ll let you know when you are needed. Probably tomorrow morning.”
Shekhar held back a chuckle as he read his received message. SPUNKY to be grounded by boss. Don’t worry. But I’ll be there, in case it doesn’t work out.
Roohi was still restless trying to get everyone to park. “Momma, Jennifer Aunty can come with us no! Why you have to stay? Okay then, you stay, Jennifer Aunty will come with us.”
Tara looked accusingly at Shekhar, as if she wanted him to step in and take control of the awkward situation that Roohi was putting them in. Instead, Shekhar said, “Why not? It’s a lovely evening. Why don’t you join us? Shivaji park is only a ten minute run from here.”
Jennifer picked up her bag without a word to Tara and began tying her shoelaces at the door. Tara glared angrily at Shekhar who shrugged and pointed at Roohi, with a ‘it wasn’t me!’ look. Roohi now had one more face of the Rubik cube in place. Blue. For the Ashok Chakra!
As the wheels of their i20 wheezed past the gate, Tara tried to push the picture of Roohi in between Shekar and Jennifer, holding their hands and walking down the steps. She really had to concentrate on her stupid assignment. Only then she could work on what could be of national importance.
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