LIFE’S GAME – Chapter 4

Posted: September 15, 2014 in BlogAdda

A Saga by “Crowning Glory”

To read the previous chapter, Chapter 3, click here.

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Chapter – 4 

The results of the search were displayed in front of her in no time. She tapped her fingers against her chin as she looked at it with a smile.

Google never say no for an answer, she thought. It did wonders!

All profiles over the various social networking sites by the name ‘Tara Dutta’ along with ample interviews and articles about her appeared in a long list.Moreover, she covered the space in news highlights too. Jennifer realized, that in fact, Tara Dutta was a famous face.This was enough for Jennifer to understand why Ms. Tara Dutta, CEO of Lucky One Media topped the list her boss handed over to her.

She was too excited for the project for two reasons; it was her first assignment at her new work place and it was a sufficient motivation for her that it was the one that included the use of her art of photography and with no much interference. That was a big plus – in the past years, she always had someone to force her to do something she never wanted to.

She was glad for it and all set to work. She started reading all the information that she had recently browsed, made notes of the minute details she found as this all was going to help her frame questions and make conversation with Ms. Dutta. She was impressed by Ms. Dutta’s personality and her attitude and her profile and looks, it attested that she was confident in her own body. Being an independent, self-made woman, Ms. Dutta fetched herself respect from Jennifer’s end and this increased her excitement levels all the more.

This is going to be a big break for me, she said aloud with excitement.

Once, she was done with it, the next big task for her was to schedule an appointment with Ms. Tara Dutta. It was a hectic task and it took her almost half a day to get in touch with the busy media professional.

She managed to get the number of Lucky One Media, while she was doing her research. She dialed the number, introduced herself on behalf of the magazine she was working for, and the voice of the lady changed into one of pleasant surprise.

“Marie Claire?” She asked.

Jennifer gave a positive reply and came straight to the point that they were doing a series of articles on successful woman entrepreneurs and their lifestyles and that for this very reason she wanted to meet the CEO of Lucky One Media, Ms. Tara Dutta. The lady from the other end asked her to hold on and give her a moment to check the appointments so that she could schedule one for her.

Within seconds, she was back with an answer and said, “Ma’am is busy for the next couple of days, then it is a Sunday, so how about Monday morning 10:00 A.M.” For obvious reasons, Jennifer agreed. The appointment was scheduled. Now, she eagerly waited for the Monday to come and shine. Her enthusiasm had no bounds, as she passed through the day with endless preparations concerning the interview and formal photo shoot.

Till then, for the two days she kept herself busy with the research and other back-end or office work concerning the other women who were on the list she was handed over. And, on the weekend, it was obviously her camera, pictures and their editing that kept her occupied.

Finally, the day she had anticipated arrived with a sunlit sky. Jennifer reached the office of Lucky One Media well in time and Ms. Dutta, affirming her punctuality, was already there in her cabin. The receptionist guided Jennifer the path towards her cabin and she let her eyes do a thorough check on the surroundings. The place looked well-furnished and high-tech.

Jennifer knocked on the glass door. She could see Tara Dutta leafing through her files. When she lifted her head, she asked Jennifer to come in and Jennifer entered with a smile on her lips.

Tara looked up from her file to find the woman she was scheduled to meet with. She examined her from top to bottom. She was expecting a journalist with strict bun and thick glasses, but she was surprised to find a tall girl in her twenties, dusky with a dimple on her chin, long curly hair scrunched to form a messy bun and a sunny smile. She was dressed casually in cargo shorts with ample of pockets, a simple T-Shirt with a khaki jacket matching with her cargo’s giving her a rough look as if she was heading for a trekking expedition, rather than being here for a photo-shoot. But the professional-looking camera in her hand gave her the ‘photographer look’. That made Tara conclude that she was indeed from ‘Marie Claire’. She greeted the girl with her polite smile and Jennifer introduced herself, told Tara the purpose of her visit.

“I am Jennifer. Marie Claire’s monthly issue is currently working on successful women entrepreneurs. I am here to conduct a formal interview and an informal photo-shoot, if it is alright with you.” Tara had already heard these details from her secretary and she was okay with anything, as long as it brought her a step forward in her field and brought fame along with it.

The photographer switched her recorder and asked her about her journey since inception. Tara answered that in brief covering all the professional roles she had ever assumed till date with a smile, which unlike her practiced smile, looked brighter.

The next question that Jennifer had put up was “Whether she faced any troubles or the barriers that came in her way on her path to success?” to which she gave the answer that she thought would be inspiring.

“Roadblocks are there in every path we take, but our ability to deal with them is what defines us and makes us successful” Tara’s voice was assertive. She grabbed a pen from the holder and tapped it against her file, with what looked like a thoughtful look.

“Isn’t it difficult to simultaneously play so many roles, a wife, a mother and a business woman, altogether? How do you strike a balance between the two? What’s the secret mantra?” Jennifer inquired. Her fingers were busy playing with the dials of the camera. Tare found it interesting and so she watched Jennifer.

“Nothing is difficult when it is something you love to do. All the roles I play are close to my heart and I try not to mix them, so one doesn’t affect the other. I try giving my 100% to all the roles I play, probably that’s the secret.” Tara smiled.

“Can I take the pictures, now?” Jennifer asked with a smile.

“Give me a moment, please.” Tara took her pocket mirror and checked her hair. That hair of hers was a big nuisance at times. When she found it still obediently in place, she gave Jennifer a go on sign.

Jennifer stood up as Tara watched, adjusted the curtains and asked Tara to find a place in the couch rested at the side of her office. She found the right angle to have the best clicks. Her movements were so crisp and clear and Tara couldn’t help wonder about this girl.

“Don’t mind me, but have you had any training on classical dances?” Tara asked.

For that Jennifer replied with,“Dance is no hobby of hers, but yes, she learnt a bit of it in her childhood, but it is photography that interests her and what she is good at. Most of her time is devoted to her camera.” She laughed and got back to clicking photographs.

It was then Tara noticed a tattoo on Jennifer’s hand and her eyes widened a bit. Her eyes were frozen on Jennifer’s wrists.

She felt lost and helpless. She didn’t even understand or hear what Jennifer was saying. Her heart was thundering in her ears.

“What happened?” Jennifer’s voice penetrated through Tara’s conscience.

“No, nothing, nothing at all.” Tara waved a careless hand and tried to smile.

“Everything alright, ma’am?” Jennifer asked and Tara nodded, pulling her lips apart in a tired smile, she answered with an,“Yes, Absolutely.”

Their conversation resumed. A couple of more questions about the life of Tara to which she gave confident and polite answers and few more pictures were clicked before they finished off. But Tara’s mind was faraway.

From a very professional meeting or a formal interview as it was supposed to be, it turned out to be an informal one (or say at least the semi-formal type, considering the fact that it was their first meeting). Jennifer was inspired by her more now.

Jennifer wasn’t really happy with the pictures she had captured, or so she said and she asked Tara if it was alright to meet the next time. Tara said okay. They fixed the next meeting again at the office.

“I want to click you as a family woman, as well.”

“Yes. For that we can fix another day.” Tara replied as she bade Jennifer a good-bye.

When Jennifer left, Tara’s mind was everywhere, but she pulled herself together and concentrated on her work. When the work hours were over, she left with the driver.

***

After she came home, three of them – Shekhar, Tara & Roohi – had dinner together. There was an abnormal silence over the dinner table, which although in the recent times has become normal for all.

When dinner was done, Tara wanted to go out for a walk and spend some time alone. Tara didn’t know why she deemed it right to walk alone in the dark, creeping night, but something about her meeting with the photographer made her anxious. It felt as if Jennifer was there to steal something away from her, as if Jennifer was a threat to her carefully planned life. It was such an unsubstantiated feeling, but this feeling of gloomy depression, it enshrouded itself around Tara’s heart and she found it hard to breathe or think.

All she could think about was the Tattoo in Jennifer’s hand. The tattoo she had seen a million times. Tara didn’t know what that tattoo meant, but seeing it on Jennifer’s hand was like a bad premonition. It was a rare coincidence and that brought another onslaught of trepidation.

Her heart beat went haywire. She folded her palms and then unfolded it to find the red mark of her nails on her palm. Fear, like a termite, ate at her heart with cruel efficiency. She wanted to ignore this feeling, she wanted to alleviate this, but she was helpless to do anything.

The secret that hung above her head – she felt as if the thread that bore the weight of it was slowly thinning. And she had a feeling that it would collapse, soon, destroying everything she had built with painstaking caution.

No, I won’t let it happen. She vowed to herself. This life is mine. I will never let anyone steal it away.

When she pulled herself out of her thought, she could feel the shift in the night air. There is something dangerous around here, Tara’s gut warned her. She wanted to look back, but was too scared to do so. The night was heavy and murky, and she could barely see her path. Her smart phone’s assistive light provided only a little light.

She could hear the twittering of night insects and the distant roars of the vehicles. She could also feel the shadows sneaking around on the corners. The night air was chilly and she felt the hair on her neck stood up. As if someone was following her.

She increased her pace, and sharpened her ears. She could hear the soft footfalls behind her. Her heart thundered in a violent rhythm and sweat drenched her body. God know what but there was something that made her feel uneasy and agitated as if something wrong was about to happen. She drenched in fear thinking that a violent blast of wind, a sudden gust will take along everything that she has taken years to build. Probably, she felt so as a consequence of the happenings in her life. She anticipated something bad, some evil.

She further increased her steps, but the soft, rhythmic footfalls behind her were still following her. She stopped and prepared herself to face this threat.

But the voice in her head prodded her to run.

And so she ran, and was relieved when the footsteps didn’t follow her. Her fate was not on her side, though, and she fell down. When she looked up, she found a figure looming over her and started to scream.

To read the next chapter, Chapter – 4, click here.

P.S.  – My team “Crowning Glory” and me are participating in the “Game of Blogs – #Celebrate Blogging” at  BlogAdda.com”.

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  1. […] Read the previous part of the story here […]

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  2. […] *** Malad was a long drive away, but that was where the cheapest paying guest accommodation was available. Fortunately her PG accommodation was a few of stops via local train away from her office. Jennifer was starving and she could smell the tantalising aromas of  kadhi bubbling away in the corridor,when the landlady smiled and asked her to freshen up and join her for lunch. The landlady seemed motherly,but then you never knew with wardens. Her ex had once told her that she exuded positive vibes that attracted people. Jennifer had coyly accepted it as flattery then,she hoped what he had observed was true. She really craved some flavoursome food. After a much needed bath and a hot meal,Jennifer sat down to survey her new home and sanctuary till her current job lasted. The room was clean and the bedsheets and curtains were faded,but looked freshly washed. She plugged in her laptop and thanked her stars that the room rent included a wifi connection. She just couldn’t afford the roaming charges right now. It was almost midnight when Jennifer had finished editing and photo shopping the pictures she had taken in Kochi Fort of the Chinese Fishing Nets and tourists enjoying the days catch and the by lanes of Jew Town . Jennifer made a mental note to approach some art galleries to attempt to sell a few prints. Mumbai was an expensive city and her salary would take a while. Bright and early she headed towards her swanky office in Ville Parle. At least the address was posh. The local trains were not bad at 7 am, there was ample space to sit and observe her co passengers and that made for a comfortable ride. It was imperative that she avoid crowded trains. Her camera was too precious to bear the jostling of the indifferent commuters. With the address in her hands,Jennifer walked the two kilometers to her office building.  Glass facade, swish set of doors , a superbly effective air conditioning and green plants at the foyer greeted her while the guard looked on in askance. After a simple enquiry,he told her that only the boss came to the office so early and he led her to the elevator bay. The luxury of her surroundings made her aware of the simplicity of her blue jeans and plain shirt. Thank god ,she had chosen to wear smart shoes today,she really didn’t want to make a bad impression. With trepidation,she knocked on the bosses door,only to find him walking towards her with a cup of steaming hot liquid in his hand. With a smile ,he extended a hand and introduced himself. he even remembered her name. And this time Jennifer Joseph sounded nice. Jennifer gratefully sipped some hot coffee while the Boss spoke about the assignment she had been hired for.  The magazine was scheduled to do a series  of articles on successful women entrepreneurs and /or bosses and their lifestyles. The articles were to be supported by an 8 page photo spread and the onus was on her as to how she intended to conceive and execute this project. This would be her big break, as they were to say and as the write up was to be minimalistic,she would be working independently. No one to cramp her style.  Wardrobe Planners ,Stylists, Make up crew and rest of the entourage would be at her beck and call. Finally. But then the Boss added a footnote. He expected perfection and nothing less. “But that is what I am always seeking Boss. I will not let you down.Ever”,replied Jennifer. Handing her the list of the ladies she needed to photograph, Boss led her to a cubicle and en route acquainted her to the coffee station. Company password scribbled on the  paper, she sat down on the swivel chair to enjoy the feel of her new office. First office would be more like it. Maybe the pink slip from Kochi had not been such a  bad omen… Names… Hmmmm… Most of them sounded familiar. All except the first one. Ms Tara Dutta, CEO ,Lucky One TV. She plugged in her battery charger to charge the extra batteries she always carried and waited for the computer to boot. Jennifer googled her first subject and watches as the search engine spewed out the results. Interested? Follow the story here.  […]

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