September 26, 2014

Missing - Episode 16


Ramada Hotel;
Floor 9, Room #211.
Juhu Bach, Mumbai.

Jennifer Joseph, finally yielded into temptation. She lit a cigarette, inhaled, held it for a few seconds and then exhaled. Jennifer got up from the bed and walked to the window to tap the ash off her cigarette. The window frame captured the sunset, some nameless faces on aimless shores,floating in and out and the Arabian Sea.

The room was lit with two lampshades which highlighted the bronze shade on her hair. It had one empty coffee cup with stains at the bottom,and a maroon lipstick on the rim. A muted television played in the background, light curtains half drawn, the air conditioner set at sixteen degrees, an open laptop with the wireless light blinking, and the balcony window slightly open to let out the smoke.

“Jjo think, think think...what does a movie blogger have to do with Juhu beach and a child? What’s the connection? Oh God don't tell me he could be a paedophile,but then the girl seemed happy with him,but then he could be luring her...oh dammed this is not right”

“There’s got to be a logical connect,” she muttered. She sat down in front of the laptop again. She went through the blog repeatedly. She read a few posts, some movie reviews and made a character sketch in her mind.

“Ok so he likes movies,is detail oriented,visual, is descriptive,must be the chatterbox types.” Yet every-time she glanced at the photograph the analysis was quite the contrary. He looked a bit lost, a bit out of place and shy.

Cyrus had ninety nine followers on the blog “MoviesRus” Jennifer raced through a few posts and reviews until her eyes stopped on “Brokeback Mountain”. That particular review had fifty one comments while the rest averaged five or six. However one commentator featured in as many as twenty one of them –it was Aryan Ahuja.

Jennifer flipped back to another review, the name appeared again. She went to some other posts in a random selection; each one had Aryan Ahuja commenting at least once.

“Ok so he has a fan following all right – Aryan Ahuja – now why would you be so interested in movies Mr.Ahuja? Or are you interested in Cyrus?”she said while her nostrils emitted smoke like a slow waterfall. 

She clicked on Aryan Ahuja’s profile and found out he was a doctor. Her fingers searched for  “Aryan-Ahuja-Doctor-Mumbai” on Bing.There were multiple options but one made her eyes widen.

“Roohi Dutta, stand-alone case for Duodenal Atresia, operated by Dr.Aryan Ahuja” on the Indian journal of medicinal research.At the end of the article she found the name of the hospital he worked and the names Shekhar and Tara.

“Hello, is it  Cloud Nine Hospital” she asked.

“Please hold”

“Dammed, it hurry up”

The hold music continued to play. Jennifer started to scratch the tip of her thumb with her index finger till the skin rolled up.She stood up from the bed, and tossed the remaining cigarette out of the window.

“Come on”

“Good Evening Cloud nine – how may I help you?”

“Erm eyes yes, uh I need to know about Aryan Ahuja”she blurted.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh am sorry, I mean can you connect me to Doctor Aryan Ahuja”

“Who shall is say is calling?”

“ Uh this is— ” Jennifer was interrupted.

“I just checked,If you’re looking for an appointment then “it’s not possible, he’s on leave till next week”

“What – uh look this is an emergency can you please let me know his mobile phone?”

“I’m sorry ma’am I ‘m not authorized”

"Listen lady,I need that Doctor's number right now" she said grinding her teeth.

The phone disconnected."Uh what, wait,I'm sorry,hello..."

Jennifer Joseph slumped into the soft bed once more.She lay down staring at the ceiling wondering what to do next. "I can log back into Facebook and inform Tara...but with what evidence? Just a hunch? She might just freak out to know that her child is with a paedophile? But not telling her could be the worst thing to happen"

Jennifer logged back into Facebook to see so many comments on Roohi and there was Aryan Ahuja's comment - with a phone number. Curious she clicked on his profile page and the first words startled her What you seek, is seeking you”. 

Rumi was her favorite too.

September 24, 2014

Missing - Episode 10

Read Episode  9

Daruwala’s residence.

Greater Kailash, 
New Delhi.

Fanus Mistry sat down on the carpet near the teak wood bookshelf on the corner of Cyrus’s room. Boman Daruwala had beckoned his son’s only friend in desperation.
There was a poster of a “Blue Morpho”, one of the most beautiful butterflies in the tropical South Americas, just above the bookshelf. With a wingspan of eight inches of rich blue color blended with black and dull brown shades over a porcelain white background made for a stunning visual.
However, what always caught his attention was the little reddish brown caterpillar on the bottom left corner of the poster, with a caption that read “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly”.
Boman Daruwala walked across the room and sat on the deck chair in front of the bookshelf.
“So son, are you going to talk or not?” He asked.
Fanus kept on staring at the poster after momentarily lowering his eyes and said “what do you want to know?”. Boman Daruwala slumped back into the chair.
“Tell me everything, you’ve been his friend for so long, tell me, where is he, where could he possibly go, who else did he meet with, did anyone want to harm him, did he hate someone, speak up and say something Fanus dikra”
Fanus Mistry offered no response.
“What are you drunk or what man? Why are you not sharing anything? Are you hiding something? Is something wrong? Tell me the truth. Tell me now”.
Fanus kept quiet again.
“Dikra, I don’t understand this silence, don’t you want to find your friend? Aren’t you worried? And if you are worried , what are you doing about it? Is there something we need to know? Your aunty and I have run out of ideas - but I’m not able to find what seems to be the problem?”
Fanus looked away without offering a response. Unable to get through to Fanus, Boman Daruwala got agitated.
“Ever since school you both have been friends, you know he is the shy type, he’ll never talk to me, and it turns out you are the same. What is it with you boys? Did you guys have a fight? Tell me,Is it about a girl ? Is there a girl in his life, did she dump him, is he heart broken, is that it, or is it something else, come on speak.Its been two days and we have no clue, no phone call, except for this message” Boman said raising his voice.
“I don’t know uncle Boman” he said.
“Then what do you know,  Boman thundered, dislodging his bifocals momentarily.
“Its not a girl. He said keeping his voice down.
“Its not a girl, what do you mean its not a girl, is it a ...?” Boman stopped as he realized the implication of what Fanus said.
Fanus looked up and reconfirmed his fears ”yes, it is a boy Uncle Boman”
Boman Daruwala rolled over his eyes as realization began to blur with each passing second in the quietness of the room. Boman clutched the armrest of the chair trying to check his emotional outburst.
“So he’s gay - my son is a homosexual, what a cruel joke. We will have the whole community laugh at us. He has shamed us. Let me get hold of him and I will fix him. He needs to get back to his senses.” Boman Daruwala shook his head in anger.
Fanus, expected the reaction and again, chose to remain silent. A few moments later Boman spoke “why didn’t he tell me?” Boman’s lowered his voice down to a whisper.
“He always did, Uncle Boman, he always did, its you who never heard, its you who never saw, its you who never cared to understand him, he just wanted to be loved the way he is, you are so insensitive”. He said.
“What nonsense is this, are you telling me I don’t know my son, are you telling me you know him better than I do,? Give me one good reason why should he be unhappy, I have given him the best of luxuries that my income could provide, he has always enjoyed freedom, he has never had to ask me for anything, how do you even have the audacity to say I am insensitive, what is it that you know and I don’t, how dare you say I don’t understand my child, who can love my son more than me?” said Boman as he stood up from the chair.
“You don’t get it Uncle Boman, do you?”
Fanus Mistry finally looked up and saw the “Blue Morpho” partially peeping out behind
Boman Daruwala and said “no one loves him the way I do, because no knows how much he is hurting right now, just the way I do. Because no one knows him the way I do.”
Sherry Daruwala just walked into the room to catch the last bit of what Fanus had to say.
She didn’t take a step after that. The couple looked at each other in a  momentary lapse of reasoning.
Fanus covered his face to hide the tears. The room was charged with multiple emotions yet not a word was exchanged. The only noise came from the air conditioner vent periodically vibrating.
“And two days earlier, he was …” Fanus couldn’t speak as tears burst out.
Sherry asked “What happened two days earlier? Tell me, tell me now , speak up, what happened to my son?”
“He was raped”

Read Episode -11

Image Courtesy : Here

September 17, 2014

Meet Roohi

Stars dance in the moonlit skies,
Figures prance around and around
Dreams glow like fireflies,
Moving from lost to found.

Somewhere in the mischievous mind,
Images float on a horses hind,
In the gardens of endless surprise,
Laughing nights and the happy sunrise.

Figures roam in the darkness of shadows
Hope hangs within the gallows,
Moving clouds and singing rain
Butterflies on the ramp again.

Farther than the running man
Snowcapped mountains on the ceiling fan,
Dreams drift into a sleepy thatch,
Reality closes a delicate latch,

Angels sing and fairy's tell,
Hundred stories in a sea shell,
Bells ring and time to fly,
Roohi's eyes wave goodbye.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

September 14, 2014

Missing - 2

Read Missing - 1 here.

Radcliffe School 
Principals Office
Juhu Vile Parle Scheme.
Mumbai –16:30 HRS. -18:30 HRS.

He had never seen Tara Dutta look flustered.It took three years and nine months for Chenthil Kumar,Chief Editor of Ulka Communications,to experience that moment.
He entered into Tara’s half tinted glass cabin noticing her perspire profusely.

'Tara,did you know, horses sweat,men perspire and women glow?'He asked.

Tara Dutta looked up, slowly sliding the rimless glasses above her crease less forehead. The short pixie hair cut was a contrast to her soft white top,the hairstyle was slightly darker, with an espresso tone to the color.The point-cut fringe angled to the right side of her face and made her eyes appear more intense and focused. Her eyes perpetually seemed to ask a counter question without really verbalising it.Questions, which people at work always wanted to know, but would never dare ask. 
Those high arching brows added to her look of slight surprise and continuous interest. Smartly dressed in a soft cotton white top and a beige skirt, with minimal accessories but for a pair of elegant pearl earrings just about making their presence felt. The long tip of the nose pointed towards her boss.

Chenthil,stood at the door expecting a reaction.But it didn’t come from the expected source.After a few uncomfortable moments of silence he broke the ice.

'Err no, just checking if you were ok?'

'Chenthil,I need to excuse myself for a couple of hours, something has come up.'

Chenthil knew she would preempt all questions he could possibly ask.

'The submissions are ready and I’ve looked into the copy you sent  - its ok -I think we can go for print, the meeting with Ismail Associates is taken care of and the
final deck for Dupon Energy is ready -it should be in your inbox as we speak'.

'Perfect as ever,thanks,I will be around when you come back'Chenthil remarked with a hint of disappointment.

'Yes, I will be back, soon' she said.

The ride to Radcliffe was no more than thirty minutes, but today it tested her patience. The counter on the traffic signal snapped her patience.

'Don’t take that road, how many years have you been driving a taxi? Don’t you know which roads to avoid? Come on step on it.' 
The driver looked suspiciously at the woman passenger on his rear view mirror. The kohl had smudged, the short hair fell across her forehead. Tara looked up at the mirror at the same time and saw the driver staring at her. She put on her Prada shades to avoid further contact.
The taxi halted at a signal as she thought of Shekhar, her grip on the mobile phone tightened. She clenched her teeth without  breaking a single crease on her face. The fights, the nonchalance, the ignorance, each incident floated in her mind one after the other.

The cab started to move again as she flipped through Roohi’s photos on her smart phone. Memories of Roohi’s premature birth, the  subsequent slow development had accentuated the cynicism in her life. Her dream of being the perfect mother had been shattered nine years ago when she learned that Roohi developed "Duodenal Atresia" or a double bubble in the intestines. It was hard for her to take this shock after a near perfect seven month planned pregnancy. Doctors couldn’t convince Tara that it was not her fault.Remarkably,Roohi had caught up with the class,and by the time she turned nine,she was like just any other kid.

Finally, the taxi stopped in front of Radcliffe. Tara paid off the cab and rushed inside. The principals office was a quiet place in spite of so many people in the room. Shekhar turned around and looked at Tara,but before he could say something,Tara took charge.

'Ok,here’s what we do now. Shekhar inform the police. Principal sir can I speak to the class teacher, the helpers, the security guard and the janitors right away?' Both the gentlemen looked at each other.

'We already did that' the principal offered.

'No, I want to talk to them again. We need to form a team and comb the entire school' she said keeping the turmoil inside her tightly capped. As Tara went through the drill of speaking to each staff member it became clear that Roohi was not in the school premises. 

Tara's phone rang and it was Chenthil calling. She disconnected. A text message followed : Check Facebook and see how O&M put up a similar story you edited today'.Tara ignored the message.

'Ok,that's it Tara,I'm going' Shekhar started to briskly walk out of the principals room.
'Wait Shekhar, are you mad? Where will you find her in Juhu? We need to go with the cops be practical' she said.

'Tara,I can't,Its my daughter'. Shekhar walked out of the room to Tara's amazement. It was after a long time that she had seen the other side of Shekhar.

'Ok, Mr. Principal, I'm going too , can you give my mobile number to the police when they find time to get here?' Tara stormed out of the room without waiting for a response. 'Shekhar wait , I'm coming'  she said. Shekhar kept walking without looking back.

'Listen to me Shekhar,lets us first figure out how are we going to cover the area?' she screamed.Shekhar stopped at the Radcliffe exit gate. 
'I will cover the Ville Parle station, and roads number one to seven. You cover eight to thirteen.Iskson temple, Prithvi theater and then finally the beach'he said.

'We should first go to the beach' she said.

'Negative, first the, station.'

'Its more likely she would've wandered over to the beach.'

'Somebody could've kidnapped her and would head to the station'

'Shekhar stop it,don't say that' Tara broke down her long standing composure.

The middle aged couple stood in front of the Radcliffe gate barely holding on to hope.Tara  broke into tears.

Shekhar took Tara's hands off her weeping face and said 'Lets keep calm,think of the best way to do this. I think we should divide the area,why don't you go towards the beach,and  I'll head towards Parla'he said.Tara looked up to Shekhar and nodded without saying a word.

Chenthils incoming call distracted the moment again. The message repeated : Check Facebook.

Shekhar glanced at Tara's cellphone and said 'it just' might be a good idea to post it on Facebook!'

'Facebook?' she said looking up.

'Yes,you know use the power of social media,let people know'

'Yea but the net has enough junkies as well.'

'Well we will have to test our luck, wouldn't we?'

Shekhar and Tara went off in opposite directions, each searching for a common truth, 

Read Missing - 3 here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

September 6, 2014


That missing toothbrush in the holder reminded me you were gone. The night was long.

I searched for the missing face in front of the mirror.The white towel had a remnant strain of your body,the foggy mirror masked your lips.I stood in the shower with moments flowing through my mind.I came out to find the lights were off in the house.It was quiet. The white bedsheet was creaseless. The curtains didn't flow anymore.A sip of Bordeaux floated aimlessly at the bottom of the glass on the side table.

It was over.You were gone. They told me it would sink in slowly- but I had to see it myself.

I reclined on the rocking chair.

It must've been the crowded economy seats perhaps, that you first came across the curtain, and nonchalantly sat next to me.Your eyes betrayed the smile your lips attempted valiantly.The solitary drop of sweat chose to trickle down your calmness. 

Your quivering lips concealed so many stories untold and unheard,just like mine. Though,I must've bored you.I guess I still had the sand in my shoes from that lost childhood.That flight night, you rested on my shoulders, and I stroked your hair, ever so softly hushing your pain away.

And then that moment came,unannounced. As the aircraft plunged into the dark embrace of the startled ocean,I had to make a choice.It was a moment of clarity,a thought so pure that it was almost like  a spontaneous combustion.

I let you go. 

The tip of my fingers still remember your final goodbye.Those screaming eyes frozen in time, as the stars witnessed your presence, and my absence.

Gyanban Thoughts : A short story after a long time. The story is narrated by the dead protagonist however written with twists and that's by design.Some of the inferences are left to the readers imagination.Actually wrote this for the Fiction section for Femina -just simultaneously posting it on the blog as well. Some of the inferences are from current events as you might have guessed.Even the title has a bit of a story to it if you notice carefully.

Also,This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


“Stop staring at me!  Stupid cab, didn’t see the puddle. Now please, eat baby, don’t fuss,” said June pushing the tray. Just then Consta...